Re: [Biofuel] Okay, This time I really am going to take down the list, , , , but first, please read

2017-04-17 Thread Darryl McMahon

Just to re-iterate a couple of points.

The archive of the Biofuel (2 iterations) and Biofuels-biz e-mail lists 
is still available on-line at:

A continuation of the biofuel e-mail list is now available at:

It is free to access and subscribe.  Responses are currently moderated 
(by me), but I will open up on a person-by-person basis as people 
contribute and choose to behave as adults.

Darryl McMahon

On 4/17/2017 7:59 PM, Doug Younker wrote:

I guess I'm sorta left, in more ways than one,depending who is talking
about me. I admit I don't devote a lot of time to the email list Hover
I'll will follow the group/list to wherever it migrates too, if it
migrates at all.  All good things come to on end that is particularity
true of thing that are of low or now cost to the ultimate consumer, I
can't complain. I don't know to what degree they would be valuable will
the archives be saved somehow?. In the event they could be compiled into
file that's usable I would me more than happy to put such fa file in my
peer to peer folder where the file would be support by BitTorrent



Darryl McMahon
Freelance Project Manager (sustainable systems)
Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

Re: [Biofuel] [SPAM] Okay, This time I really am going to take down the list, , , , but first, please read

2017-03-16 Thread Darryl McMahon
Do you have a sense of direction or scope for this, or will it just go 
where the on-line community participants take it?

Is there a desire to use IT for small scale food production, along the 
lines of Farmbot (, or developing human-powered or 
other environmentally friendly yard / farming tools (such as the the 
Greens Machines -, or slanting towards 
sustainable practices, plant selection and similar?

I'm being pulled in a lot of directions just now (and still posting most 
days on keiths-list) so just trying to get a sense of objectives.


On 3/16/2017 11:33 AM, Chip Mefford wrote:

Good day all of you who are left,

I really want to thank everyone who has sent their
thoughts on taking the list down. There have been
some, , no, not some, all, great stories.

Before I take the list down, ,
I was wondering how many of you are still interested in keeping
something like this going.

reason I ask is that I am becoming involved in a
new software project that I find very exciting, and
hence have chosen to do the work to update my
respective servers, including the mailing list server.

Kind of a pain in the neck, I went through a life-change
over the last 6 years, and walking away from all things
IT was part of that. Since I had many dangling obligations
(being a denizen of the internet) I tapered it all down
to where about the only thing I was responsible for was
this mailing list. However, that particular attempt
at resolving some things in my life by not doing
systems administration have cropped back up again,
so that wasn't the fix for which I had hoped.

So, it doesn't make sense really to abandon all those
skills I had developed, even though I am moving into
my dotage, (heh) but rather to double down and dive back

The project of which I speak is FarmOS

Take a look, give me some feedback, if there is interest,
I'll migrate some or all of this list into a new

Thanks kindly for your attention in this matter;

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

Darryl McMahon
Project Manager
Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] A chapter ends ...

2016-12-31 Thread Darryl McMahon

... and another begins.

I want to thank Chip for his efforts in recent years to keep the list 
operating.  I don't really know how much effort that was (it was 
considerable when I last ran a list many years ago), but I'm grateful I 
did not have to look after that, freeing me to concentrate on content.

I don't see this list (sustainablelorgbiofuel) as being much work for 
me.  If I read a piece which I think deserves a wider audience, I simply 
shared it.  I could just add it to Reddit or StumbleUpon or other such 
tools instead, but those do not save the content to make it searchable 
(in the mail archive).  And while Internet searches are more 
comprehensive, they don't have a human filter to determine what is real 
and what is manufactured.  In a world where perception and sound-bytes 
rule the mainstream messaging, I think that has value.  In a world of 
Internet narrow-casting where feeds provide only reinforcement for 
pre-selected viewpoints, I hope that occasionally some of the posts I 
share cause others to pause and think for a moment.  This was Keith's 
gift to me (and many others).  I came to learn about biodiesel, and I 
learned about so much more.

I have set up a new mail list via  I have called this 
Keith's List because in my mind that is the most accurate and succinct 
description of it, though not everyone has known or corresponded with 
Keith Addison.  It's a bit last minute, so the transition may be a bit 
rough.  Same purpose, same mandate, same rules.  If you think there 
should be discussion of a topic you are not seeing, just jump in and 
post.  Perhaps you can ask a question (though I hope the archives will 
continue to be your first-stop resource to reduce duplication), or find 
some like-minded souls to help with your personal projects and desires 
to 'save the world'.  It's a big place; no doubt you can find something 
in it to improve.

Sorry, the following instructions are a direct lift from the list 
instructions, but I'm rather working to deadline as this list expires today.


- Subscribers can join your list by sending email to with 'subscribe' in the Subject field 
OR by visiting your list page at

- To post on your mailing list, simply send email to (only after you are a list member)

- Online, searchable archives of your list are available at  Each list's archive is
automatically updated as new messages come in.

- There's a FAQ at


Please note:  I will not subscribe anyone to this list (or unsubscribe 
them either).

The first post is up, and can be seen in the on-line archive at:,13

(I believe the on-line archive is web-accessible without need for a 
log-in, but unfortunately appears to be supported by ads.  As far as I 
can tell, no ads in the e-mail version or via the member's web 
interface, which requires a log-in.  I still have some learning to do.)

See you on the other list if you choose to show up there.  If not, 
strength to your arm, and all best in your future endeavours.

Wishing you all a successful (however you choose to define that) 2017,

Your correspondent,

Darryl McMahon

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

 ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Noam Chomsky: Israel’s Response to the United Nation's Resolution on Palestine Is 'Hysterical' | Alternet

2016-12-30 Thread Darryl McMahon

Noam Chomsky: Israel’s Response to the United Nation's Resolution on 
Palestine Is 'Hysterical'

A victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

By Ken Klippenstein / AlterNet

December 28, 2016

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution 14-0 
condemning all Israeli settlements on Palestinian land as having “no 
legal validity” and amounting to “a flagrant violation under 
international law.” The resolution goes on to note that Israeli 
settlements pose “a major obstacle to the vision of two States living 
side-by-side in peace and security.”

This represents the first UNSC resolution in almost eight years 
concerning Israel and Palestine, and the first in over 35 years 
regarding the issue of Israeli settlements. Typically the U.S. would 
veto resolutions critical of Israel, but in this case, the Obama 
administration opted to abstain, in effect allowing the resolution to pass.

For comment, AlterNet contacted Noam Chomsky, famed linguist, dissident 
and professor emeritus of MIT. Chomsky said of the resolution, “The UNSC 
resolution is essentially the same as UNSC 446, March 1979, passed 
12-0-3. The main difference is that then two countries joined the U.S. 
in abstaining. Now the U.S. stands against the world; and under Trump, 
in even more splendid isolation, on much more crucial matters as well.”

Following the UNSC resolution, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 
quickly responded by announcing a halt to his government’s funding 
contributions to numerous U.N. institutions. Netanyahu called the 
resolution “a disgraceful anti-Israel maneuver” and blamed it on an 
“old-world bias against Israel.” Furthermore, he vowed to exact a 
“diplomatic and economic price” from the countries that supported it.

Shortly thereafter, Netanyahu made good on his threats by personally 
refusing to meet with the foreign ministers of the 12 UNSC members that 
voted for the resolution and ordering his Foreign Ministry to limit all 
working ties with the embassies of those 12 nations. He also summoned 
the ambassadors to the Foreign Ministry for a personal reprimand over 
the vote—including, in a highly unusual move, the U.S. ambassador.

Asked about Netanyahu’s response, Chomsky told AlterNet, “The hysterical 
reaction in Israel and in Congress (bipartisan) reflects their sharp 
shift to the right in the years since, and the whole incident 
illustrates quite interesting shifts in world order.”

Palestinian rights advocates have quipped that Israel’s suspension of 
relations with the UNSC member nations that voted for the 
resolution—powerful countries including the U.K. and France—has 
effectively realized a goal of the boycott, divestment and sanctions 
movement. AlterNet contacted Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the 
BDS movement, to see what he thought of this assessment. Barghouti 
replied, "This unanimous resolution, despite its many flaws in 
addressing basic Palestinian rights, has dealt Israel's colonial designs 
a serious blow that will inadvertently, yet significantly, enhance the 
impact of the BDS movement in isolating Israel academically, culturally, 
economically and otherwise."

"Israel's delusional hubris and surreal threats to punish the U.N. and 
the world indicate above everything else how deeply alarmed it is at 
fast becoming an international pariah, as apartheid South Africa once was."

Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian-American founder of the Electronic 
Intifada, told AlterNet that Israel’s use of diplomatic sanctions 
against the UNSC member states contradicted its vocal opposition to 
sanctions advocated by the BDS movement. Abunimah said, “It’s sort of 
amusing to Israel try to impose sanctions and punish the whole world for 
this decision…Israel claims that sanctions are illegitimate as a tool 
except of course when Israel is the one wielding them, whether it’s 
against Iran or whether against the countries that displeased it.”

Though Israel’s heavy-handed response may concretely impact its 
diplomatic standing internationally, the resolution itself is largely 
symbolic and, as professor Chomsky pointed out, a reiteration of an 
earlier UNSC resolution. However, experts like Richard Falk, professor 
emeritus of international law at Princeton University and former U.N. 
Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights from 2008-2014, don’t 
think the resolution’s symbolic nature means it isn’t important.

As Falk told AlterNet, “The SC resolution at this stage is symbolic. 
Israel has already announced plans for thousand additional units, and 
the government has indicated its refusal to comply with the resolution. 
Nevertheless, it is of great psychological and potentially political 
support for the Palestinian struggle to end the occupation and achieve a 
sustainable and just peace. The fact that aside from the United States' 
notable abstention, all 14 other members 

[Biofuel] Progress for UK Battery Energy Storage with Capacity Market Auction Success - Renewable Energy World

2016-12-30 Thread Darryl McMahon

[In my opinion, this addition of battery storage to the grid is the 
reason we will not see significant adoption of vehicle to grid (V2G - 
where electricity stored in parked EVs can power the grid at peak demand 
times) schemes.  If the utility owns the battery, they will know they 
can count on it to be available when needed and not stuck in traffic. 
There are other issues - e.g. potential for harm due to backfeeding, 
metering the energy supplied from an intermittent and mobile source and 
the biggest one still:  the accounting and reconciliation effort 
associated with paying for the power based on how much the car says it 
supplied vs. how much the grid says it received - for low economic value 
transactions available only when the grid seeks the energy.

It will interesting to see how utilities use this new storage option for 
managing their supply vs. the customer demand.  If they do this well, 
there is reason to believe it will stabilize wholesale prices from 
generators (shaving the peaks which carry the highest marginal rates). 
If the utilities don't pass that cost advantage along to customers, then 
the customers will have the option of buying their own local storage 
(e.g. Tesla PowerWall or competitors), obtaining the same price benefits 
(assumes time-of-use or interval pricing is in place), plus back-up 
power when their grid connection fails.]

Progress for UK Battery Energy Storage with Capacity Market Auction Success

December 28, 2016

By William Steel

Promising steps for the integration of battery energy storage into the 
UK electricity system are to be found in outcomes of the nation’s latest 
capacity market auction.

Some 500 MW of new-build battery storage won agreements through the 
auctions. Altogether, some six percent (3.2 GW) of the total auctioned 
capacity went to energy storage capacity.

Falling below forecasts, the auction closed with a clearing price of GBP 
22.50 (US$28.3/EUR 26.8) per kWh.

On conclusion of the auction, UK Business and Energy Secretary (BEIS) 
Greg Clark said: “Technological innovation, as part of our low carbon 
future, will create jobs and opportunities across the UK. We are 
rebuilding an archaic energy system, bringing forward brand new gas 
power and innovative low-carbon capacity like battery storage to upgrade 
our energy mix.”

A spokesperson of the National Grid — the UK transmission system 
operator and body that ran the capacity auctions — told Renewable Energy 
World: “As system operator, we see an increasing role for storage to 
optimize value for consumers. Storage can provide more cost-effective 
system balancing services and offer opportunities to optimize network 

They continued: “The benefit of using storage in our ancillary services 
is how much cheaper it is for the consumer by providing an alternative 
to costlier technology, and in reducing the need for additional network 

Frank Gordon, senior policy analyst and energy storage lead at the UK 
industry body the Renewable Energy Association, told Renewable Energy 
World: “This is an encouraging result, and it is positive to see the 
continued growth of energy storage in the UK market.”

However, he observed of the 3.2 GW energy storage, “much of this is 
existing, pumped hydro storage capacity, which has been successful in 
the previous auctions as well, so not too much can be read into the 
majority of the contracts awarded to storage.”

What has changed, Gordon added, is contracts being won by the first new 
build battery storage projects, which he called “encouraging.”

Low Carbon Storage Investment Company Limited (Low Carbon) won such 
contracts with projects featuring lithium-ion battery storage technologies.

Quentin Scott, marketing director for Low Carbon, told Renewable Energy 
World: “Low Carbon is delighted to have secured two energy storage 
contracts. The projects at Cleator and Glassenbury, with a total 
capacity of 50 MW, were also successful in National Grid's recent 
[enhanced frequency response (EFR)] tender, where we were the only 
company to be awarded two contracts.”

Describing a shifting energy landscape in the UK, Scott said that 
storage in the UK is a reality.

“With storage projects winning contracts in the National Grid EFR tender 
and the capacity market auction, it is clear that we are at an important 
turning point for storage in the UK,” Scott said.

REA’s Gordon was slightly more cautious, noting that “it is not the 
breakthrough moment yet.”

Expanding on this, Gordon explained that all of the new-build battery 
storage projects awarded capacity market contracts have previously been 
awarded contracts through the UK’s EFR auction that concluded in August.

Winning contracts on both EFR and capacity markets “points to the fact 
that it is still not possible to 

[Biofuel] Secrecy Around Composition of Oilsands Dilbit Makes Effective Spill Response, Research Impossible: New Study | DeSmogBlog

2016-12-29 Thread Darryl McMahon

[From a climate change perspective, I would be happy if the world did 
not find it desirable to move crude oil across continents and oceans, 
including dilbit.  However, energy consumers world-wide and I are not 
aligned on this, and transporting of oil is not going to stop anytime 
soon.  Therefore, we need better technology to clean it up when (not if) 
the spills happen.  Disclosure:  I know a bit about better oil spill 
clean-up technologies so the argument they do not exist is a 

There actually is some research on the behaviour of spilled dilbit in 
lab conditions, and sadly, in real-world conditions (Mayflower, 
Kalamazoo).  Short version.  It floats on freshwater for hours to days, 
and seawater for days, and may float indefinitely.  In my world, an 
apparent lack of research is grounds for doing more research, not 
implementing a permanent ban (though I understand the attraction of 
asserting that solution).  Fast response can be a feasible response to 
spilled dilbit.  Admittedly, that is not in the industry's current playbook.

I am a long-time proponent of the Precautionary Principle and the 
Polluter Pays regulatory environment.  So, how about we put the onus on 
the oil industry and specific operators to demonstrate the behaviour of 
the dilbit they will be using or transporting, and that they have an 
effective means of cleaning up spills to an effective standard, which 
evidence should determine.  As a starting point for the discussion, we 
could start at 2 parts per billion (ppb) hydrocarbons in water, and 10 
parts per million (ppm) as an acceptable threshold for clean-up 
performance.  (There are naturally occurring hydrocarbons in water and 
soil, so a zero-line is not reasonable.)  (Based on numbers from a 
single source I found via a web browser.  Better data welcomed.

I am in favour of requiring industry to disclose what is in the diluent 
they use, and requiring them to stick with the published information 
over time.)

links in on-line article]

Secrecy Around Composition of Oilsands Dilbit Makes Effective Spill 
Response, Research Impossible: New Study

By Judith Lavoie • Friday, December 23, 2016 - 09:37

Knowledge gaps about the behaviour of diluted bitumen when it is spilled 
into saltwater and lack of information about how to deal with multiple 
problems that can result from extracting and transporting bitumen from 
the Alberta oilsands, make it impossible for government or industry to 
come up with effective policies to deal with a disaster, says a newly 
published research paper, Oilsands and the Marine Environment.

The study by ecologists from Simon Fraser, Stanford, Oregon State and 
Northern Arizona universities, who scrutinized more than 9,000 research 
papers, concludes that officials should collect more information about 
the environmental effects of bitumen before setting regulations.

Tweet: ‘There isn’t enough science in the public eye to answer questions 
about the risk bitumen poses to the ocean’ 
#bcpoli“There just isn’t enough science in the public eye to answer 
questions about the risk bitumen poses to the ocean,” said lead author 
Stephanie Green, a Banting postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Ocean 
Solutions at Stanford University.

“We found almost no research about bitumen’s effects on marine species,” 
she said.

As controversy continues to swirl around the federal government’s 
approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion and as 
president-elect Donald Trump prepares to overhaul energy and 
environmental regulations and reopen the Keystone XL pipeline 
application, the lack of credible information highlights policy flaws, 
the researchers said.

“In this context, policymakers risk confusing the lack of evidence for 
particular environmental effects with evidence that there is no risk,” 
Green said.

Out of all the studies examined, only two addressed the toxicity of 
bitumen in the ocean, said coauthor Thomas Sisk of Northern Arizona 

“We don’t even know for certain whether this form of petroleum will 
float or sink during an ocean spill,” he said.

Bitumen is the consistency of peanut butter when extracted from the 
oilsands and, as it is too thick to flow through a pipe, it is diluted 
with chemicals or lighter petroleum products such as natural gas 
concentrate, refined naptha or synthetic crude oil to make it flow. The 
diluted product is commonly known as dilbit.

However, a major block to coming up with spill responses or figuring out 
the exact behaviour of dilbit in the ocean is that there are dozens of 
different formulas and the chemical diluent mix is treated as a trade 
secret by oil companies.

“A crucial first step in filling this gap is a requirement that the 

[Biofuel] Beyond Nuclear - Nuclear Costs What's New - Massive cost overruns and long construction delays plunge Toshiba-Westinghouse into "nuclear nightmare"

2016-12-29 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Massive cost overruns and long construction delays plunge 
Toshiba-Westinghouse into "nuclear nightmare"

As reported by Bloomberg, Toshiba-Westinghouse has been plunged into a 
financial "nuclear nightmare" -- with losses amounting to $4 to 5 
billion (yes, with a B!) -- around one-thrid of its stock value -- due 
to cost overruns mounting into the billions of dollars, and years-long 
schedule delays, at four new reactor construction sites in the U.S.

The debacle stems from Toshiba-Westinghouse's acquisition of the Chicago 
Bride & Iron (CBI) new reactor construction firm, in a vain attempt to 
get control of skyrocketing costs at the Vogtle 3 & 4 reactors 
construction site in Georgia, and the Summer 2 & 3 reactors construction 
site in South Carolina.

Toshiba-Westinghouse's AP-1000 (so-called Advanced Passive, 1,100 
Megawatt-electric) reactor design was touted as the flagship of the 
so-called "Nuclear Renaissance" not only in the U.S. but internationally.

However, Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., working for a 
coalition of environmental groups, many years ago identified a 
potentially fatal flaw in the design's containment, that could result in 
catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity being pumped into the 
environment in the event of an AP-1000 reactor core meltdown.

Besides Toshiba-Westinghouse's financial free fall, the public also 
faces mounting monetary risks.

In Georgia, the nuclear utilities have got state residents -- and the 
American public -- coming and going: Southern Nuclear, Georgia Power, et 
al. are charging ratepayers Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) or 
advance cost recovery "nuclear tax" surcharges on their electricity 
bills, to fund construction of Vogtle 3 & 4; in addition to that, the 
Obama administration awarded Vogtle 3 & 4 an $8.3 billion (yes, with a 
B!) federal nuclear loan guarantee -- and even the loan itself came from 
the taxpayer-funded U.S. Finance Bank. If the Vogtle 3 & 4 project goes 
belly up, Georgia ratepayers could have invtested billions of dollars, 
without ever seeing a single kilowatt-hour of electricity generated at 
Vogtle 3 & 4; U.S. taxpayers could be left holding the bag for the 
entire nuclear loan guarantee, as the Obama administration did not see 
fit to require any nuclear utility skin in the game whatsoever!

Although Summer 2 & 3 did not seek federal nuclear loan guarantees to 
finance construction, CWIP charges in South Carolina have been even more 
onerous. Around 20% of ratepayers' electric bills are going towards 
construction of the two AP-1000s, with no end in sight for the 
astronomical increases in the two reactors' price tags.

Update on December 29, 2016 by Registered Commenter admin

Reuters has also reported on this story: "Battered Toshiba out of easy 
options to plug nuclear hole."

So too has the Wall Street Journal: "Toshiba Shares Plunge Further Over 
Problems at Nuclear-Power Subsidiary."

BBC reported last night that Toshiba stock has tanked more than 40% in 
just two days.

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Dealing with stuff

2016-12-29 Thread Darryl McMahon
Our household has again been the beneficiary of the Christmas bounty of 
stuff.  (E.g., I'm using the new keyboard I received, which is more 
compact much nicer than the vintage unit I was using until a couple of 
days ago, and the old board will go in the parts bin until someone needs 
a free, working unit.)

However, it occurs to me it's a good opportunity to speak of 
alternatives to sending things to 'away'.  The landfill or incinerator 
or whatever else ends up as the final destination for where unwanted 
stuff goes when we throw it 'away'.

I expect most of this e-mail is old news for list subscribers, but 
perhaps there is something here you could pass along to others.

Alternatives to 'away'

I started writing on this topic a couple of decades ago (or more), and 
my web pages still see a fair bit of traffic.  I have not maintained 
them as much as I might in recent years, so any updates would be welcome.

Some other items have come my way in the past few days - and 
re-purposing smart phones was not on my radar in the 80s and 90s.

I'm thinking of re-purposing one phone as a GPS / dash cam.  With the 
new Google Maps allowing one to store maps (no continuous data 
connection required), this is more feasible with no data plan required.

This sizable list also arrived in the past couple of days.

And don't discount the 'sharing economy' as a means of reducing our need 
to own stuff.

More on the Story of Stuff at
Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Goodbye and good riddance to a ghastly year - Politics - CBC News

2016-12-29 Thread Darryl McMahon

[There's some undeserved flattery for Canada near the end of this 
article.  We have just been through a decade of right-wing populist 
government, and the new administration's mandate was to undo the damage. 
 So far, the new team isn't scoring a lot of points, but have spent a 
year putting off the tough decisions.

images and links in on-line article]


Goodbye and good riddance to a ghastly year

Will liberal democracy be another casualty of 2016?

By Terry Milewski, CBC News

Posted: Dec 27, 2016 10:12 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 28, 2016 9:51 AM ET

It often seemed interminable, but 2016 has, at last, limped to the 
finish line — and, for once, family, friends and pundits seem to agree. 
They're all smiling grimly as they say good riddance to a ghastly year.

Was it really as bad as they say? No — it was worse.

After all, who even remembers how the year began? Here's just some of 
what happened on New Year's Day: 300 West African migrants in Libya were 
slaughtered by ISIS, an Arab-Israeli gunman killed three in Tel Aviv, a 
Taliban suicide bomber blew up a restaurant in Kabul and al-Shabaab 
militants attacked aid workers in Somalia.

So much for January 1st.

On the 2nd, the Pakistani group Jaish-e-Mohammed killed seven at an 
Indian airbase.

On the 3rd, suicide bombers from ISIS butchered 15 Shia police recruits 
near Tikrit in Iraq.  By the end of January, hundreds of other victims 
were bombed, shot, stabbed and beheaded in Nigeria, Libya, Turkey, 
Somalia, Burkina Faso, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria...

Then came February. Let's not even start. In fact, let's also try to 
forget the other months of the year — like July, when a crazed jihadist 
drove a truck into a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, and 
murdered 86 people.

Can liberal democracy survive this?

Of course, 2016 was not the year when terror became part of life's daily 
drumbeat. That happened long ago. But a corner was turned, nonetheless. 
The jihadists, after all, are out for a breakdown of order — especially 
the democratic and secular order wherever it can be found.

And, inch by inch, they seem to be getting it. One year ago, were we 
fretting that the very survival of liberal democracy was in doubt?

We are now.

For one thing, we can hardly look to the incoming president of the 
United States to be the champion of democratic institutions. Donald 
Trump said the system was "rigged" — unless he won. The chief justice? 
An "absolute disaster." The media? "Liars." Protesters? "Knock the crap 
out of 'em, would ya? Seriously."

Elsewhere, the omens have been no more subtle. The British turned their 
backs on Europe. Populists are chipping away at independent courts and 
media in Hungary, Poland, Greece and Venezuela. They're on the march in 
France and Austria.

A Philippine strongman brags about killing criminals, due process be 
damned. Russia's strongman, Vladimir Putin, has hacked the U.S. 
election, tightened his grip on chunks of Ukraine and turned much of 
Syria to rubble. China is cracking down even harder on dissent and 
stocking the ocean with armed islands. Turkey, a member of NATO, is 
locking up judges, journalists, civil servants.

Just as frightening is the creeping loss of faith in democracy within 
the democracies. That trend is starkly clear, according to academics 
compiling a report to be published in the January issue of the Journal 
of Democracy, which has posted a draft version here.

In a nutshell, Yascha Mounk, of Harvard University, and Roberto Stefan 
Foa, of the University of Melbourne, suggest that western democracy is 
going out of style as younger people — but not just younger people — are 
increasingly tempted by the notion of leaders who need not bother with 
getting elected. As Mounk told the New York Times, "the warning signs 
are flashing red."

Mounk and Foa's paper details how chauvinist, anti-democratic leaders 
have trampled on independent, liberal institutions which previously 
seemed sturdy.

In Poland, once a model of post-communist enlightenment, Lech 
Kaczynski's Law and Justice party won the 2015 elections, then cracked 
down on the free press and the constitutional court. In Venezuela, a 
well-rooted democratic system of free elections was swiftly torn up 
after Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998, and today there is starvation 

Couldn't happen here, you say? Mounk and Foa beg to differ.

"Citizens who retain a deep commitment to the core values of liberal 
democracy," they say, "must recognize that their countries' past 
stability is no reason for complacency.

"The power now wielded by anti-system parties and movements is 
unprecedented. So is the deep disenchantment with democracy they exploit 
so shrewdly. As a result, the survival of liberal democracy may now 
depend on the will of citizens to defend it effectively against attacks."

Instead, they report, those 

[Biofuel] Information sources (was Happy Solstice all, Taking the list down)

2016-12-28 Thread Darryl McMahon

I started my heavy volume posting as Keith relinquished the role to
others.  I refer you to his post from over 4 years ago.

The list archive remains a valued tool to me.

However, to summarize, there are a lot of sources.  I believe my
particular value-add has been that I read so many of them, have a bit of
a BS filter, and pass along those which I think have merit without too
much 'me-too' echoing.  That's all based on my biases.

You can subscribe to many non-MSM sources.  One of my cues is the
presence of links and footnotes to fact-based sources, rather than
repetition of disinformation in the corporate media echo chamber.

Keith's list began with:

On my own, I have come to like for Canadian
perspectives, for environmental truths (also

Note that many of these need individual donors to support them.  I have
contributed to most over the years.  If you are so fortunate you can
afford to, I encourage you to do so, or these counterpoint voices will
be silenced.

I have also set up a LOT of Internet search alerts, which likely account
for about half the content I have forwarded to the list.  Some things 
just come my way due to a wide range of personal interests.

Regular list readers will know that I think climate change is the issue 
of our time, and the ascendance of the deniers to positions of power 
around the world is troubling.  On this list, I have tried to bring a 
combination of the bad and the inspiring.  For a real counterpoint to 
the denialist perspective, try  Be warned, 
there is nothing light-hearted there; I found it sucked at my soul.  I 
stopped reading there years ago, and felt my time would be better spent 
trying to make a positive difference than giving into despair.

This list was one of my efforts in that regard.  Giving a different 
perspective on the world's apparent insanity, gathered together in one 
place for an audience who would benefit from the knowledge and make use 
of it to make for a better society and more sustainable future for our 
species (and many others).

Wishing you all to be informed, be skeptical, be engaged and be active. 
I intend to be.

Resurrecting my old tag line:

It's your planet.  If you won't look after it, who will?


On 12/24/2016 11:49 AM, Frank wrote:

Hi & Thx Chip +everyone, Sure have enjoyed many of the articles over
the years. Don't think there's another list quite as unique! You
certainly have made a difference in this world.

Thx 4 All the current-day enlightenment + eye-opening conscientious
info that 'Main Stream Media' somehow manages to miss.

Anyone know where to get more data/info similar to what we've been
blessed to be a part of?

Thx again & Happy Holidays, Frank

On Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:42 PM, Chip Mefford 

It has been many years now since Keith passed.

As things stand, Darryl is about the only traffic posted here and
even that is echoing (admittedly interesting) stuff posted elsewhere.

If anyone is interested, I can and am willing to provide the
subscriber's list if anyone wishes to continue this work.

As things stand, this mailing list is the only mailing list left on
my mailman server that gets any traffic at all, and the spam to post
ratio is about 70:1 (intercepted).

As of 20170101, the list will shut down.

The archives will of course remain in place until such a time as
those responsible for them decide to take some other action.

Please take these few days to make your farewells.

So long and thanks for everything.

your list-admin --chipper

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[Biofuel] 'Climate Change' Deleted From Wisconsin DNR Website

2016-12-28 Thread Darryl McMahon

[The universe cares not what you think.

links and images in on-line article]

December 27, 2016

'Climate Change' Deleted From Wisconsin DNR Website

Lorraine Chow

 Whoever is managing Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources 
website must be wearing out the delete key. The word "climate" has been 
quietly stripped from the department's webpage dedicated to explaining 
the state's response to climate change, Raw Story reported.

In total, 13 original appearances of the word "climate" have been 
kiboshed. The only place you'll see the word now is in the 
"climatechange.html" URL and a tiny footnote link. Not only that, any 
reference to humanity's contribution to global warming has been deleted.

The text that appears on the webpage now inserts classic climate skeptic 
arguments, in which Earth's "changes" are being "debated." This is the 
text on the website as of today:

The Great Lakes and a changing world

As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a 
change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the 
earth's long history are being debated and researched by academic 
entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The 
effects of such a change are also being debated but whatever the causes 
and effects, the DNR's responsibility is to manage our state's natural 
resources through whatever event presents itself; flood, drought, 
tornadoes, ice/snow or severe heat. The DNR staff stands ready to adapt 
our management strategies in an effort to protect our lakes, waterways, 
plants, wildlife and people who depend on them. For more information on 
the research conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In a post for Urban Milwaukee, political writer James Rowen reported 
that the original text actually acknowledged that "[h]uman activities 
that increase heat–trapping ('green house') gases are the main cause [of 
global warming.] Earth's average temperature has increased 1.4 °F since 
1850 and the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 1998."

In fact, Rowen has detailed the quiet scrubbing of climate change from 
the entire DNR website for several years, changes that he describes as 
"Orwellian" and "propagandistic."

This news should not surprise anyone who has followed the career of 
Wisconsin's notorious climate-change-denying Governor, Scott Walker. 
Ever since he took office in 2011, Walker has used his powers to "reduce 
the role of science in environmental policymaking and to silence 
discussion of controversial subjects, including climate change, by state 
employees," as Scientific American observed.

And let's not forget that in April 2015, state officials banned 
employees of a state agency from talking about climate change, 
conducting any work on it or even responding to emails about it.

In the image below, Rowen shows the exact edits that have been made on 
the DNR webpage in question. Deletions are crossed out with the black 
line and a version of the highlighted text is what appears now on the page.

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] We Have Released a Monster: Previously Frozen Soil Is "Breathing Out" Greenhouse Gases

2016-12-28 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Not another melting permafrost methane story.  This time, it's CO2.

links and image in on-line article]

We Have Released a Monster: Previously Frozen Soil Is "Breathing Out" 
Greenhouse Gases

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

A study published in the journal Nature has revealed an alarming new 
climate feedback loop: As Earth's atmosphere continues to warm from 
anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), soils are respirating carbon -- 
that is, carbon is being literally baked out of the soils.

Microorganisms in soil generally consume carbon, then release CO2 as a 
byproduct. Large areas of the planet -- such as Alaska, northern Canada, 
Northern Europe and large swaths of Siberia in Russia -- have previously 
been too cold for this process to occur. However, they are now warming 
up, and soil respiration is happening there. As a result, these places 
are contributing far, far more CO2 and methane to the atmosphere than 
they ever have.

This phenomenon is already evidenced by a recently released study led by 
the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which 
Truthout reported on recently.

This means that even if all human fossil fuel emissions were halted 
immediately, soils would continue to release approximately the same 
amount of CO2 and methane emissions as the amount produced by the fossil 
fuel industry during the mid-20th century.

Another Tipping Point

The study showed that the uptick in soil respiration is set to add 
between 0.45 and 0.71 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 to the atmosphere 
each year between now and 2050.

Disturbingly, humans are already adding between 3.2 to 3.55 ppm of CO2 
to the atmosphere as of this year, which is the first time CO2-increase 
rates have broken records two years in a row.

The amount of CO2 that soil respiration will add to the atmosphere -- on 
top of what humans are directly adding -- is significant.

Climate feedback loops, sometimes referred to as positive feedback 
loops, runaway feedback loops, or amplifying feedback loops, are 
important to understand if we are to truly comprehend the nature of ACD. 
Many feedback loops are already in play, and more are coming into being 
on a regular basis.

For example, when atmospheric warming caused by fossil fuel emissions 
leads to the melting of Arctic sea ice, the reflectivity lost by 
disappearing sea ice allows more solar radiation to heat the Arctic 
Ocean, which then causes more sea ice to melt. This is perhaps the most 
well-known climate feedback loop.

The discovery of the soil feedback loop intensifies concerns about our 
rapidly warming climate. Increasing soil respiration -- also known as 
"the compost bomb" -- is set to add between 30 and 55 billion tons of 
extra CO2 to the atmosphere over the next 35 years, as Earth's 
temperature warming approaches 2C.

Moreover, the study categorizes its findings as conservative estimates. 
In fact, the Earth could well see as much as four times the amount of 
CO2 (2.7 ppm) from soil respiration alone if the phenomenon becomes more 
wide-ranging than expected. And given that scientific predictions rarely 
keep pace with how rapidly the planet is changing, it would not be 
surprising if the prevalence exceeds expectations.

Catastrophic for Humanity

Dr. Thomas Crowther, the lead researcher on the soil study, told The 
Independent that, given that ACD is happening more rapidly than 
expected, the impending climate-denying Trump presidency could well be 
"catastrophic for humanity."

He is not exaggerating: A lot can happen in four years, when it comes to 
climate disruption. In fact, every year makes quite a difference. The 
study shows that at a minimum, 0.45ppm of CO2 will be leached from 
northern soils every year between 2016 and 2050, with about 1C worth of 
atmospheric warming during that period.

The study also shows that if Earth is warmed to 2C above preindustrial 
baseline temperature levels by 2050, which is essentially a certainty in 
the best-case scenario, then an average of approximately 0.71ppm of CO2 
will be released from soils every year through the year 2050.

The Earth has already warmed by more than 1C above preindustrial 
baseline temperatures. It is unlikely that human civilization can 
survive warming of 3.5C or higher, as humans have never lived on a 
planet that warm. However, we are currently on track for a minimum 
warming of 5 to 7C, or worse, by 2100.

"It's fair to say we have passed the point of no return on global 
warming, and we can't reverse the effects," Dr. Crowther told The 
Independent when the study was released. "But we can certainly dampen them."

Other climate scientists emphasized the importance of using the soil 
study to inform measures to mitigate the damage of ACD. Professor Ivan 
Janssens with the University of Antwerp 

[Biofuel] Biodiesel: The great crash of Australia's 'fish and chip cooking oil' renewable fuel industry - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

2016-12-28 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images in on-line article]

Biodiesel: The great crash of Australia's 'fish and chip cooking oil' 
renewable fuel industry

By Emilia Terzon

Updated Dec. 27 2016 at 6:12pm

Former chef-cum-Darwin's "biodiesel warrior" Greg Henderson was 
elbow-deep in an industry of second-hand grease when the global price of 
crude oil started to tumble in 2014.

Within weeks the humble entrepreneur was contemplating a price war with 
one of the world's biggest oil conglomerates.

"We lost two clients in one week," Mr Henderson said.

It is a common story in an Australian industry that, in the last few 
years, has faced business conditions described as "catastrophic" by one 
of the last remaining players.

This is a change of fortunes from a decade ago, when a small yet vibrant 
biodiesel industry was in its infancy, offering 4WD owners and transport 
companies a cheap and low-emission alternative to diesel fuel.

Mr Henderson stumbled into the biodiesel industry in 2006, after he 
bought a tiny deep-fryer cleaning business on a "strange whim" to help 
maintain his restaurant's kitchen.

He was soon spending his mornings driving around to fish and chip shops, 
kebab stores and restaurants to remove their unwanted 20L tins of old 
cooking oil.

Mr Henderson initially sold the waste cooking oil to an Adelaide-based 
company, however after making a paltry $57.20 profit on a sale of 
35,000L, started researching the process of refining vegetable oil into 

"You're recycling something to the nth degree by burning it as a fuel," 
he said.

By 2013 Mr Henderson was collecting and refining tens of thousands of 
litres of biodiesel a week, had contracts with trucking companies, and 
was selling direct to car owners dismayed by a decade of high diesel prices.

His sales point — a vintage pump salvaged from a petrol station.

"All different kinds of people would come in. A lot of rural guys. Just 
Joe Blows. We had quite a few musicians. I couldn't say all of them were 
hippy types," Mr Henderson said.

"A lot of them did it for price. When mineral diesel was running at 
$1.60 to $1.70, we were still around $1.25."

Then in 2014, the crude oil price tanked amid a sudden drop in global 
demand, reducing biodiesel's hip-pocket allure and sending the broader 
oil market into a tailspin.

Mr Henderson started receiving phone calls from local clients who said 
they were being made offers they could not refuse.

"So that's 40,000 litres of biodiesel sales we lost in one week. We just 
went, nope."

ASX-listed company goes into receivership

At the bigger end of the market, there have also been tough times.

Early this year, one of the country's biggest biodiesel companies, 
Australian Renewable Fuels, collapsed into voluntary administration, 
halting production at three processing plants across the country.

As well as competitive oil prices, the ASX-listed company blamed its 
issues on a change in government support, citing "highly damaging" 
changes to the taxation of renewable fuels announced in the 2014 federal 

Until July 2016, domestically produced biodiesel paid no excise due to 
the Cleaner Fuels Grant Scheme, but that scheme has been axed and the 
country's few remaining biodiesel plants face rising overheads.

Ethanol, another renewable fuel produced from alcohol, was also hit in 
the 2014 budget.

Doug Stuart, technical development manager of Queensland-based biodiesel 
plant EcoTech, said the industry was currently only paying a few cents a 
litre in excise but that was set to ramp up "significantly" by 2021.

Mr Stuart said EcoTech had already been seriously struggling since late 
2015, when oil prices dropped again.

"Goodness, we would have seen a 90 per cent decline in our volume over 
that time. It's catastrophic. I don't want to play that down," he said.

"We've lost a lot of investment in this sector because the Government 
will have a position now and then will change that position.

"[That] hurts us and I think you'll see that right across the renewables 

Yet Mr Stuart said there was no single issue to blame for the downturn, 
with other factors including a hike in the price of tallow, the waste 
animal fat also refined into biodiesel by major processing facilities.

"The government backing of biofuels in Europe and United States has also 
put an upwards pressure on the tallow and raw materials," Mr Stuart said.

"Because those markets are being supportive, we're seeing Australia be a 
net exporter of those raw materials, rather than Australia value adding 
to the raw materials."

Glimmer of hope for Queensland biodiesel market

For EcoTech, there is a glimmer of hope.

From January 1 2017, the Queensland Government is introducing a mandate 
which means biodiesel has to make up half a per cent of the diesel 
available for sale, with ethanol receiving a 3 per cent 

[Biofuel] Varsity Don Urges FG To Implement Biofuel Policy • Channels Television

2016-12-28 Thread Darryl McMahon

Varsity Don Urges FG To Implement Biofuel Policy

Updated December 27, 2016

biofuelThe Nigerian government has been asked to implement the biofuel 
policy with full commitment to prevent total dependence on refined 
petroleum products.

A professor of Renewable Energy (Mechanical Engineering), at the Osun 
State University in Osogbo, Professor Oguntola Alamu, made the demand on 
Tuesday while delivering the 10th inaugural lecture of the university 
with the theme: “Sourcing Renewable Fuel for Diesel Engines”.

Professor Alamu tasked government on encouraging aggressive use of 
domestic, renewable energy option in order to reduce the impact of the 
importation of fuel on the economy.

Professor Alamu, who was a Vice-Chancellor of the university, urged the 
Federal Government to engage in massive oil crops plantation that would 
be dedicated primarily for the production of biofuel.

Renewable Fuel For Diesel Engine

He emphasised the need to embrace the renewable energy-options such as 
Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) as alternative to refined petroleum product so as 
to reduce the nation’s reliance on single-commodity economy and further 
strengthen the nation’s energy security.

He added that biodiesel was quickly becoming one of the fastest growing 
alternative fuels in the world and that this was with environmental 
benefits, including lower emissions, unlike petroleum that has high 
emissions profile.

Alamu said that in sourcing for the renewable fuel for diesel engine, he 
collaborated with other researcher and processed PKO biodiesel as 
alternative to petrol.

“Biodiesel from coconut oil and a few non-edible oil crops such as 
castor oil was also processed, optimised and characterised as diesel fuel.

“Fuel properties of the biodiesel produced were tested following the 
ASTM standards while engine performance test was conducted on diesel 
engine to obtain results for torque and power at various engine speeds. 
Generally, results obtained were found to be in good agreement and 
within limits set by a number of International Standards for biodiesel.

“The results will, no doubt, contribute to baseline data needed for 
future replacement of conventional diesel with renewable biodiesel to 
power diesel engine,” the renewable energy expert said.

Alamu emphasised the need for Nigeria’s biofuel policy to be implemented 
with total commitment saying that the nation should produce renewable 
feedstock such as vegetable oils and fats to keep the cost of biodiesel 
competitive with petroleum.

“Globally, there is the dire need for massive oil crops plantation 
dedicated primarily for biofuel use. Nigeria can decrease its dependence 
on refined petroleum product imports by an aggressive use of domestic, 
renewable energy options.

“The Nigeria biofuel policy should also be implemented with total 
commitment. This will not only reduce reliance on single-commodity 
economy as well as abate importation of refined petroleum products in 
Nigeria, but it will also strengthen the nation’s energy security.

“Alternative renewable fuel, found in vegetable oils is characterised by 
high viscosities thus limiting their applications as fuel. However, the 
use of transesterified vegetable oils as fuel has been yielding 
successful results besides being a domestic, renewable resource that 
provides environmental benefits with lower emissions.”

He went further to explain that “due to its clean emissions profile, 
ease of use, and many other benefits, biodiesel is quickly becoming one 
of the fastest growing alternative fuels in the world. With minimal 
subsidy, biodiesel is cost competitive with petroleum diesel, and 
millions of users have found and enjoyed the benefits of the fuel.”

“The future of biodiesel lies in the world’s ability to produce 
renewable feedstock such as vegetable oils and fats to keep the cost of 
biodiesel competitive with petroleum, without supplanting land necessary 
for food production or destroying natural ecosystems in the process.

“Creating biodiesel in a sustainable manner will allow this clean, 
renewable, and cost effective fuel to help ease the increasing shortages 
of petroleum, while providing economic and environmental benefits well 
into the 21st century,” Alamu noted.

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[Biofuel] Africa's new biofuel that literally grows on trees -

2016-12-28 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images and links in on-line article]

Croton nuts: Africa's new biofuel that literally grows on trees

Kieron Monks, CNN

Updated 7:02 AM ET, Wed December 28, 2016

The history of biofuel production in Africa is marked with expensive and 
damaging failures.

The much-hyped jatropha crop saw millions of dollars and vast tracts of 
land squandered, while the production of palm oil has been widely 
criticized for association with environmental damage and human rights 

But there is a new hope for the field. The Croton megalocarpus tree is 
common throughout much of East and Central Africa, and until now it has 
been used for little more than firewood.

The nuts of the tree have been shown to contain high concentrations of 
oil and protein, and they are now being used to produce a fuel that 
could serve as a clean alternative to diesel.

With an abundant supply of croton nuts available at minimal cost, a new 
industry is emerging with sky-high ambitions.

Low-hanging fruit

In 2012, serial entrepreneur Alan Paul established Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK) 
to explore the potential of croton, following early research that 
suggested promise. His company is now the driving the movement to bring 
croton biofuel to the mainstream.

The business took a low-key approach at first, in contrast to 
high-budget flops such as jatropha.

"(Paul) said we can grow organically by sourcing what is already there 
from one of the most common trees," says EFK Managing Director Myles 
Katz. "We can buy nuts from farmers so they get an income and we have a 
business model that does not require $10 million of funding and a big 
plantation to get off the ground."

EFK put out radio ads to attract local entrepreneurs into partnerships, 
who assembled teams of smallholders to supply the nuts. When suppliers 
realized their previously useless trees had become an easy and reliable 
source of income, the network rapidly expanded.

This has enabled EFK to double production each year, says Katz, up to 
1,000 tons of nuts this year from 500 tons in 2015. The company is now 
in a position to scale up the operation, without having planted a single 

New products

Producing croton nut oil is a low-tech, low-energy process compared with 
traditional fuel manufacturing.

"It is comparable to any other nut or oil pressing facility," says Katz. 
"We modify the equipment to work on croton nuts but essentially we are 
buying machines used with walnuts or macadamia nuts."
Much of the fuel is sold to local businesses that run generators, such 
as tourist camps.

The company has also branched into selling by-products of the nuts, 
including seedcake from the pressed nut as poultry feed, and organic 
fertilizer from the shells. This offers insurance at a time investors 
remain wary of biofuels, says Katz.

"The 'unknown' (element) is hard for investors," he says. "We are not an 
oil-only business, and we can stand on different parts of the business 
at different times."

Grand plans, local roots

Having local networks of suppliers and agents is key to the EFK business 
model, and a critical challenge for the company is to maintain these 
networks while expanding across the country and beyond.
"We have a completely local approach," says Katz. "Everything we source, 
process and sell should be within 100 kilometers of the factory."

The company plans to maintain this approach while creating up to five 
new factories in Kenya and several more in neighboring countries such as 
Tanzania in the coming years.

EFK is also planning a first foray into an "orchard model" of planting 
its own trees on a 500-acre plot in 2017, that will allow the company to 
test and push the limits of croton capacity.

"There is an interesting topic of crop efficiency," says Katz. "An 
indigenous tree with access to normal rainfall might produce 100 
kilograms of nuts a year. But the optimum trees will produce over 300 
kilograms...The 'orchard model' can change outcomes dramatically."

Ripe for success

Croton can succeed where other biofuels have failed, according to Dr. 
Gerald Kafuku, principal research officer of the Tanzania Commission for 
Science and Technology, who has published several papers on the 
properties of croton oil.

"I can say that croton is one of the most promising sources of biofuel," 
he says. "It can give advantages in the form of biodiesel or straight 
oil, and as a 'carbon sink' for afforestation."
Kafuku believes that only a lack of funding for research and development 
is holding croton back from the mainstream. He adds that the region 
urgently needs such solutions.

"East Africa is among the areas where there is significant environmental 
degradation," he says. "New biofuels such as croton can add to the 
alternative sources of renewable energy as well as providing for more 
planting of trees."

Croton can also avoid the ethical pitfalls of other biofuels by 

[Biofuel] The Arctic is showing stunning winter warmth, and these scientists think they know why - The Washington Post

2016-12-27 Thread Darryl McMahon

[It could make for interesting times for those of us residing in the 
northern hemisphere.

images in on-line article]

The Arctic is showing stunning winter warmth, and these scientists think 
they know why

By Chris Mooney December 23 2016

Last month, temperatures in the high Arctic spiked dramatically, some 36 
degrees Fahrenheit above normal — a move that corresponded with record 
low levels of Arctic sea ice during a time of year when this ice is 
supposed to be expanding during the freezing polar night.

And now this week, as you can see above, we’re seeing another huge burst 
of Arctic warmth. A buoy close to the North Pole just reported 
temperatures close to the freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 
Celsius), which is 10s of degrees warmer than normal for this time of 
year. Although it isn’t clear yet, we could now be in for another period 
when sea ice either pauses its spread across the Arctic ocean, or 
reverses course entirely.

But these bursts of Arctic warmth don’t stand alone — last month, 
extremely warm North Pole temperatures corresponded with extremely cold 
temperatures over Siberia. This week, meanwhile, there are large bursts 
of un-seasonally cold air over Alaska and Siberia once again.

It is all looking rather consistent with an outlook that has been dubbed 
“Warm Arctic, Cold Continents” — a notion that remains scientifically 
contentious but, if accurate, is deeply consequential for how climate 
change could unfold in the Northern Hemisphere winter.

The core idea here begins with the fact that the Arctic is warming up 
faster than the mid-latitudes and the equator, and losing its 
characteristic floating sea ice cover in the process. This also changes 
the Arctic atmosphere, the theory goes, and these changes interact with 
large scale atmospheric patterns that affect our weather (phenomena like 
the jet stream and the polar vortex). We won’t get into the details yet, 
but in essence, the result can be a kind of swapping of the cold air 
masses of the Arctic with the warm air masses to the south of them. The 
Arctic then gets hot (relatively), and the mid-latitudes — including 
sometimes, as during the infamous “polar vortex” event of 2013-2014, the 
United States — get cold.

Here’s an animation, provided by Jason Box of the Geological Survey of 
Denmark and Greenland, of what this might look like. It shows that both 
during the November major Arctic warming event, and again this week, 
temperatures over the Arctic ocean spiked far above their average, while 
temperatures over some high or mid-latitude land surfaces in the 
Northern Hemisphere fell well below average (the Arctic is at the far 

The image, Box explained by email, “underscores the distinction between 
ocean and land and thus points to there being something to the pattern” 
of “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents.” He continued:

What are the impacts? Why should we care? For one, the patterns 
indicate a system changing state. For two: That change probably affects 
the frequency and persistence of weather, a hallmark of climate change; 
changing extremes… more hots and ironically sometimes sharper colds.

In recent years, several scientists have come up with different versions 
or incarnations of the “Warm Arctic, Cold Continents” idea. One of the 
best known is Rutgers University climate scientist and Arctic specialist 
Jennifer Francis, who published a 2012 paper with Stephen Vavrus of the 
University of Wisconsin-Madison arguing that the “Arctic amplification” 
of global warming was leading to a more wavy and slower-moving jet 
stream, and this in turn was leading to extreme weather as different 
atmospheric patterns became stuck in place. Their paper highlighted not 
only changes in winter, but also throughout the year.

“What I think we’ve been seeing this year has been totally consistent 
with the hypothesis that we’ve been working on,” Francis said in an 
interview of the recent Arctic drama. The jet stream is a global 
west-to-east flow (Francis often calls it a “river”) of air above our 
heads that carries with it weather we experience. But sometimes, the 
flow becomes quite elongated, looking much less like a tight loop around 
the planet and more like a series of slowly undulating waves.

“What I think is happening is that it’s been very warm in the Arctic all 
year long and this has helped favor a very wavy jet stream, which is 
what we’ve been seeing,” she continued, “and that has helped to pump a 
lot of extra heat and moisture up into the Arctic.”

But then what about the cold continents?

Judah Cohen, the head of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and 
Environmental Research, said that this year in particular, low sea ice 
in the Arctic has led to a situation in which more snow falls over 
Siberia in the late fall, as 

[Biofuel] Meo Electric Installs 10 EV Charging Stations on Parliament Hill

2016-12-24 Thread Darryl McMahon

Meo Electric

December 15, 2016 07:07 ET

Meo Electric Installs 10 EV Charging Stations on Parliament Hill

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 15, 2016) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

Meo Electric completed the commissioning of 10 new electric vehicle 
chargers for the Government of Canada in downtown Ottawa last week. The 
chargers are located in a private parking lot a short walk from Centre 
Block. They are intended for ministers, senators, and other members of 
the federal government who drive plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles to 

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, is 
presently the only federal minister driving a plug-in hybrid electric 
vehicle. She will now be able to charge her vehicle while working on 
Parliament Hill thanks to Meo Electric's stations. Natural Resources 
minister Jim Carr opted not to choose a plug-in electric vehicle for his 
new executive vehicle earlier this year. Carr cited lack of charging 
infrastructure on The Hill as one of his reasons.

On the Liberal Party's official website, they promised to "support clean 
transportation by adding electric vehicle charging stations at federal 
parking lots, and rapidly expanding the federal fleet of electric 
vehicles." Meo's new stations mark the first successful execution of 
this promise.

The chargers installed at the private lot are Level 2 electric vehicle 
supply equipment. They allow the full recharge of modern electric cars 
in 4 to 5 hours, and can also top up energy levels in much shorter 
charging sessions.

The chargers were manufactured by Québec-based AddÉnergie. Meo Electric 
operates in Ontario, Québec, and New Brunswick, and aims to supply 
customers with a 100% made-in-Canada service, from consultation, to EVSE 
hardware selection, installation, and training. Other participants in 
this project were C Electric and Pomerleau.


Meo Electric is one of Canada's first firms to specialize in the turnkey 
sale, installation and configuration of electric vehicle supply 
equipment. Started by a team of alumni from McGill University, Meo 
Electric has since expanded its EV infrastructure offerings, servicing 
businesses and organizations across Ontario and Québec. Meo is expanding 
to more provinces in 2017, further realizing its mission of supporting 
the electrification of personal transportation across Canada.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the 
following link:

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[Biofuel] China’s Smog Is as Deadly as Smoking, New Research Claims | TIME

2016-12-23 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links, images and video in on-line article]

China’s Smog Is as Deadly as Smoking, New Research Claims

Feliz Solomon

1:44 AM ET 2016-12-23

Current severe smog in northern China is affecting nearly half a billion 

Air pollution could be the cause of 1 in 3 deaths in China, new academic 
research suggests, making everyday life about as deadly as smoking 
cigarettes in some parts of the country.

According to the South China Morning Post, a recent study of 74 cities 
analyzed some 3.03 million deaths recorded in 2013, and found that 31.8% 
of them could be linked to smog.

The study, carried out by researchers at China’s Nanjing University, 
found that the air was most toxic in the cities of Baoding, Shijiazhuang 
and Handan, each reporting more than 30,000 deaths in 2013 that could be 
linked to pollution.

It does not appear that the situation has markedly improved in the years 
since. Last Friday, Beijing issued a “red alert” warning because of a 
blanket of thick smog shrouding the capital city and a large swath of 
northern China, affecting nearly half a billion people. With pollution 
levels reaching about 500 PM2.5 particles per cubic meter — the WHO 
ranks safe levels as under 25 — the so-called airpocalypse, has sent 
tens of thousands fleeing to southern parts of the country, where the 
air is cleaner.

Hospitals have been crowded with patients suffering respiratory 
problems, whole highways have been shut down, and hundreds of flights 
grounded. Classes were also cancelled — although in one case exams were 
not. Shocking images spread across the Internet showing schoolchildren 
seated outside wearing jackets and face masks, huddled over desks to 
take a test in gray, toxic gloom.

The Post reports that the new findings from Nanjing support previous 
research; the paper says that the International Energy Agency published 
a report in June claiming that air pollution has trimmed some 25% off 
life expectancy in China, while a study co-authored by researchers at 
three renowned universities determined that people in China’s north 
could lose an average of 5.5 years of life due to smog.

China’s National Energy Administration reportedly said Wednesday that it 
will enact measures such as limiting high-pollution fuel emissions and 
launching a satellite carbon-dioxide monitor to mitigate the problem, 
but many in the country’s vast ultra-industrial cities remain skeptical.

Greenpeace has warned that the economy must urgently be made less 
dependent on polluting forms of energy and that people living in cold 
northern climates should be given alternatives to coal, which causes 
much of the smog.

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[Biofuel] Ottawa company provides dial-up internet to 4, 000 - Ottawa - CBC News

2016-12-22 Thread Darryl McMahon

[An Internet for the rest of us.  We can build a collaborative of 
community organizations, educational institutions, municipalities, 
publicly-owned utilities (especially those with wireless meter reading 
capability) which can provide low-cost Internet access and bandwidth 
independent of the telecoms.  We could even include the post office as a 
high-speed hub for smaller communities, with a public computer in each 

Ottawa company provides dial-up internet to 4,000

CBC News Posted: Jan 28, 2012 3:03 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 28, 2012 3:59 

One of Ottawa's first internet service providers is still in business, 
offering dial-up service in a broadband world to 4,000 customers.

National Capital FreeNet, a not-for-profit that started in the 
mid-1990s, says many people use dial-up because they can't get 
high-speed where they live, only use the web for basic email, or can't 
afford a faster service.

NCF member Gary Dear is on a fixed income.

"Dial-up is slower than molasses compared to what most people are used 
to," he said, laughing.

But Dear, who lives in a subsidized apartment, said it's dial-up or 
nothing. NCF's service costs $5 a month.

"It means an opportunity to connect with life and the world around me," 
he said.

NCF's executive director, Ross Kouhi, says their small number of staff 
and volunteers also offer high-speed internet, at close to market 
prices, to subsidize the dial-up clients.

"The customers that have high-speed tell us they kind of get that warm, 
fuzzy feeling knowing that we're a member of the community," Kouhi said.

NCF rents the high-speed infrastructure from Bell.

"We're certainly worried that a punitive pricing model, if Bell were to 
come out with one, could put us out of business pretty quickly," he said.

But Kouhi feels NCF's future looks bright, having just completed a 
successful fundraising campaign.

In 2010, four per cent of Canadians used dial-up, compared to 79 per 
cent who used broadband. The rest had no internet connection in their homes.


Low cost internet for Ottawa Community Housing tenants

Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2016 5:16PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 21, 2016 7:10PM EST

The digital divide is getting a little smaller for residents of Ottawa 
Community Housing.

They are being offered low-cost internet services through National 
Capital FreeNet; a life line to education and employment.

Most of us take it for granted:  with a click of a button, we have 
access to the World Wide Web.

But that access comes at a cost.

Residents in downtown Ottawa say internet is a costly necessity.

“How much do I pay?” says one woman, “Too much!” she laughs.

“I have a high-end package,” adds another man, “it adds up to about $120 
a month.”

For many folks living in social housing, that cost has been out of their 
reach.  Until now.

Ottawa Community Housing has teamed up with National Capital FreeNet to 
offer low-cost internet to its 32-thousand tenants.

“It’s really a tool,” says Stéphane Giguere, the Chief Executive Officer 
of Ottawa Community Housing, “a tool for education, communication, for 

The program will be launched in January.  For $25 a month, plus a modem, 
tenants will get unlimited access and a window into a world that has 
shut many of them out.

“I think without exception, every business, every company, every school 
thinks everybody has internet,” says Bill Robson with National Capital 
FreeNet, “and everything is tailored to that and unfortunately not 
everybody has it now.”

National Capital FreeNet is a non-profit internet service provider.  A 
substantial bequest will help fund this low-income program for possibly 
hundreds of Ottawa Community Housing tenants.

“We're not sure how many will subscribe,” says Robson, “It could be a 
handful to hundreds.  We're a little worried but looking forward to it.”

So, too, are many of the tenants; being part of something many of us now 
can't do without.

“Could you live without your internet?” an Ottawa resident is asked as 
he hustles by, doing Chistmas shopping, “No, oh no, not possible,” he 

Tenants with Ottawa Community Housing just need to contact National 
Capital Freenet at or 613-721-1773 ext. “0” to sign up.  It 
starts January 3rd.

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[Biofuel] CRTC declares broadband internet a basic service | IT World Canada News

2016-12-22 Thread Darryl McMahon

[On average, Canadians pay about twice as much for Internet access and 
service as customers in the U.S., in an oligopoly market where 3 main 
players completely dominate the landscape.  Naming Internet as a basic 
service - like telephone service - could be a financial blow to these 
profiteering companies as well as an acknowledgement of reality.  The 
trick to democratizing the Internet in Canada is to find ways to let 
other players access the new funding for infrastructure roll-out, or 
declaring the publicly-funded build-out to be taxpayer - not telecom - 

CRTC declares broadband internet a basic service

Mandy Kovacs - December 22, 2016

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has 
declared broadband internet a basic telecommunications service for all 
regions across Canada, and set new speed targets for internet and mobile 
services available to Canadians.

In a decision announced on Wednesday, CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais said 
that current Canadian access and basic speeds “don’t cut it anymore” in 
the “data-hungry digital world” that we live in today. This verdict is 
quite a departure from the commission’s previous mandate, which focused 
on obtaining universal access for voice services like landline telephones.

“We are establishing as a universal service objective that Canadians – 
in rural and remote areas as well as in urban centres – should have 
access to voice services and broadband Internet access services on fixed 
and mobile wireless networks,” he said during his press conference.

Along with the decision, the CRTC has set new targets for carriers both 
fixed broadband services and mobile broadband services. For fixed 
Internet, the goal is a minimum speed of 50 megabits per second and 10 
megabits per second for uploads – a “tenfold increase” from previous 
targets of 5 Mbps download/ 1Mbps upload from 2011. Currently, 82 per 
cent of Canadians already have access to 50/10 Mbps speeds from carriers 
in their communities, according to CRTC data. It wants that coverage 
increased to 90 per cent by 2021 and to 100 per cent within 10 to 15 years.

As for mobile services, the CRTC stressed improved access to mobile 
wireless technology “not only in homes and businesses, but also along 
major Canadian transportation corridors.”

Blais called on the country’s telecommunication providers to begin 
working towards improving internet access and speeds, particularly in 
remote areas.

“The availability of broadband Internet … is an issue that can’t be 
solved by the CRTC alone. All players in the Canadian communications 
landscape will need to do their part to ensure Canadians have access to 
the services they need to participate in the digital economy,” he said, 
adding that he would also like to see all levels of the government 
address the gaps in digital literacy, as well as affordability of 
internet packages.

At his press conference, Blais recognized that these increased speed 
targets were lofty expectations and would not be easy to obtain.

“The future of our economy, our prosperity and our society – indeed the 
future of every citizen – requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get 
on with connecting all Canadians for the 21st century,” he conceded. 
“Today’s decision signals a shift in our regulations for basic services 
from voice-related issues to broadband-related issues.”

Telecommunications expert Iain Grant, managing director of the Seaboard 
Group telecom consultancy, agreed.

“It seems like an ambitious plan,” said Grant. “Jean Pierre Blais 
certainly is a man of the current century. I think this is a good move. 
A bold decision that will no doubt have some service providers gnashing 
their teeth in frustration about the impossibility of it all.”

However, most of the major internet service providers support the 
decision, with David Watt, senior vice president of regulatory at 
Rogers, saying the company already offers speeds 20 times faster than 
the new targets and have unlimited [data] plans everywhere the company 
offers internet services.

“High-speed internet is a must for Canadians to connect with their 
friends, families and communities and participate in the digital 
economy. While there are still many details to be worked out, we are 
encouraged by this reasonable plan to help increase access to Canadians 
in hard to reach areas of our country,” he said in a statement to IT 
World Canada.

Telus called the decision “important and complex”, but said it does 
share the CRTC’s view “that in order for Canadians to participate in the 
digital economy, they need access to high quality broadband.”

“This is why we have been investing billions of dollars year-after-year 
to increase both wireline and wireless Internet capacity in rural and 
urban communities across Canada, and recently introduced Internet for 
Good in B.C. and 

[Biofuel] Look Fast: Solar Is Blowing Past Coal...And Gas...And Wind | CleanTechnica

2016-12-18 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images links in on-line article]

Look Fast: Solar Is Blowing Past Coal…And Gas…And Wind

December 16th, 2016 by Tina Casey

Now, here’s a surprise. Wind power has been growing at a rapid clip, but 
it looks like solar is sneaking up from behind with a Negasonic Teenage 
Warhead-scale weapon in hand: it’s cheaper. In fact, according to data 
studied by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, solar power is on its way to 
becoming “the cheapest form of new electricity” globally, even without 

The data is drawn from the third annual edition of an online tool called 
Climatescope, and yes, it shows that solar is becoming cheaper than coal 
and natural gas, too.

To be clear, BNEF’s take on the Climatescope data does not show that 
solar is cheaper in all markets. It’s a trend report that focuses on 58 
emerging energy markets, including the gigantic Chinese and Indian 
markets. Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and South Africa have also emerged as 
high-demand markets for low carbon (aka non-coal) energy projects.

Industry observers have been tracking cheap solar, which was once 
confined to highly specific, individual episodes such as regional 
auctions where competition pushes prices down.

BNEF teases out how those tiny specks are beginning to enlarge and connect:

…unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas 
on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets 
are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data 
from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

According to BNEF, industry observers have been anticipating that solar 
would outpace wind because costs are dropping more rapidly in the solar 
field. The surprise is that it happened so quickly.

Aside from being cheaper, solar also surpassed wind in the number of 
installations. BNEF’s projections for 2016 is that newly completed solar 
projects will add up to 70 gigawatts, with wind coming in second at 59 

More Bad News For Coal

Wind is still in a competitive position for power generation and it 
still has plenty of room to grow in terms of technology improvements 
that lower costs.

Natural gas is also still in a good position for power generation, 
especially with Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson set to lead US global 
energy policy as Secretary of State for the incoming Trump 
Administration (his position is pending confirmation by the Senate).

That leaves coal the odd man out, and BNEF does not spare the knife:

The world recently passed a turning point and is adding more capacity 
for clean energy each year than for coal and natural gas combined. Peak 
fossil-fuel use for electricity may be reached within the next decade.

If 2016 is any indication, peak use could come even sooner than BNEF 

This year has seen a remarkable run for solar power. Auctions, where 
private companies compete for massive contracts to provide electricity, 
established record after record for cheap solar power. It started with a 
contract in January to produce electricity for $64 per megawatt-hour in 
India; then a deal in August pegging $29.10 per megawatt hour in Chile. 
That’s record-cheap electricity—roughly half the price of competing coal 

US coal companies have been depending on the export market to prop them 
up, but the rug is being pulled out from under those markets by global 
investors in solar and other renewables, notably those based in China.

The trend further undercuts President-elect Donald Trump’s emotional 
appeals to US coal workers and their communities during the 2016 
campaign season. They helped propel him into office but ever since the 
bad news has been cascading down upon the domestic coal industry.

More $$$ For Cheap Energy

One interesting finding in Climatescope is that renewable energy 
projects tend to be more expensive in developed economies, where 
electricity demand has flatlined. That’s reflected in the location of 
the dollars where investors are staking their claims.

The 58 markets targeted by Bloomberg, despite their lower position on 
the developed-economy scale, slightly outspent the 35 developed nations 
that belong to OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation & 

The numbers add up to $153.7 billion for OECD nations, with the 58 
emerging markets clocking in at $154.1 billion.

Right Back At You, Rex

Soon-to-be Secretary of State Tillerson has been traveling the globe to 
tout low cost natural gas as the only way to lift emerging markets out 
of “energy poverty.”

That’s true for the here and now. It’s also true that coal will continue 
to play a role in emerging markets for the foreseeable future.

However, the trend clearly points to shrinkage for both gas and coal in 
favor of solar and other renewables, and BNEF is not shy about hammering 
away at it. Here’s the closing argument from BNEF’s press release 
announcing the 

[Biofuel] Five charts that show why Trump can’t deliver on his coal promises

2016-12-18 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Charts and links are in the on-line article.  U.S. data]

Five charts that show why Trump can’t deliver on his coal promises

Devashree Saha

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to revive the coal industry
and bring back coal mining jobs with fewer regulations and better trade 
deals. However, Trump’s vision of a revived coal industry that offers 
plentiful new jobs may remain just that: a vision.

No one can deny the problems in the coal industry that Trump claims he 
will address. Coal production has plummeted to levels not seen since the 
early 1980s. The average number of employees at coal mines has decreased 
12 percent to 66,000 employees, the fewest since 1978. And, the industry 
has been plagued by a series of bankruptcies.

However, Trump is ignoring the real reasons behind the industry’s 
struggles. In doing so, he is making unrealistic promises to revive a 
dying industry.

Since 2000, a series of market forces—the shale gas revolution, which 
has eroded coal’s price advantage; cost reductions in renewable energy 
technology; the overall flat demand in the power sector; shifts in 
global demand for coal; and declining coal mine labor productivity—have 
all contributed to coal’s decline, likely more so than government 

Let’s look at each of these market forces in detail.

The decline in coal’s fortunes is largely a result of competition from 
cheap and abundant natural gas, which was freed in soaring volumes 
during the last decade due to technological advancements in horizontal 
drilling and hydraulic fracturing. The utility industry, motivated by 
profit and a desire to keep costs low, has been shifting significantly 
from coal to natural gas. In 2000, coal accounted for 51.7 percent of 
electricity generation, compared with just 15.8 percent for natural gas. 
By 2015, coal’s share had dropped to 33.2 percent, while natural gas 
rose to 32.7 percent of total generation. The Energy Information 
Administration predicted
in March that natural gas’ share of the electricity market would surpass 
coal for the first time in 2016, a trend likely to pick up pace as long 
as natural gas prices remain low. To keep his promises of reviving the 
coal industry, Trump will have to figure out a way to increase the price 
of natural gas.

While cheap natural gas has inflicted the most damage on coal, renewable 
energy—including wind and solar—has also contributed to a shift away 
from coal in many parts of the United States. The cost to build a 
utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant has fallen by about 80 percent 
since 2009, while wind project costs have dropped by 60 percent. As a 
result, large solar and wind farms can compete in the power market even 
with low natural gas prices. The entry of renewable energy projects into 
the market is leading to a reduction in coal-fired generation in many 
places, including deep red states. For instance, Iowa
and Kansas get 30 percent and 21 percent of their electricity from wind, 
respectively, and Texas has added more wind-based generating capacity 
than any other state. Many studies (see here
and here) have noted that renewable energy development is poised to grow 
significantly, even in the event that the Clean Power Plan
is not implemented. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE)—or how much 
money it takes to produce one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from a 
particular source—shows that wind and solar have become increasingly 
cost-competitive with coal, even on an unsubsidized basis.

Third, GDP growth and electricity consumption in the United States have 
become decoupled. Total electricity sales dropped 1.1 percent in 2015, 
marking the fifth decline in the previous eight years. A combination of 
factors—including significant uptake in energy efficiency investments, 
the growing popularity of rooftop solar, changing composition of the 
economy, and a slowdown in economic growth—account for declining rates 
of electricity demand growth. Given flattened demand, utility companies 
are forced to seek the lowest-cost sources of electricity to remain 
profitable in the face of sticky prices from unchanging demand. Because 
current LCOEs for non-coal sources are generally below the LCOE for 
coal, Trump would again have to increase prices for non-coal sources of 
electricity to bolster the coal industry.

Recent global shifts in coal demand do not suggest that coal’s strength 
lies outside U.S. borders, either. Coal exports fell for the third 
consecutive year in 2015 , ending the year 23 million short tons (MMst) 
lower than in 2014 and more than 50 MMst less than the record volume 
exported in 2012. Some of this decrease is likely attributable to the 
slowdown in Chinese economic growth. The International Energy Agency 
forecasts that U.S. coal exports will continue to decline in the face of 
slowing Chinese 

[Biofuel] Rick Perry, Tapped for Energy Department, Has Multiple Ties to CEO of Controversial Pipeline Project

2016-12-16 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Conflict of interest?  Not in the Trumpian world.  links in on-line 

Rick Perry, Tapped for Energy Department, Has Multiple Ties to CEO of 
Controversial Pipeline Project

Friday, 16 December 2016 00:00

By Ashley Balcerzak, openDemocracy | News Analysis

The Dakota Access Pipeline protesters just got a new reason to keep 
their Standing Rock encampment intact: former Texas governor and 
two-time presidential candidate Rick Perry, tapped by President-elect 
Donald Trump to head his Energy Department.

Never mind that Perry -- who now becomes the second of Trump's 
competitors named to his Cabinet (Ben Carson is slotted for Housing and 
Urban Development) -- previously wanted to scrap the agency altogether.

Now the department will be helmed by a man whose biggest fan -- as 
measured by donations supporting Perry's presidential bids -- is Kelcy 
Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the 
controversial pipeline. Warren gave super PACs supporting Perry's 
presidential bid $6 million last year, though he got nearly $4.5 million 
of it back after Perry dropped out.

And beyond that, Perry is on the board of directors of Energy Transfer 
Partners -- a position he would have to relinquish if he's to become 
secretary. Earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers, in response 
to the protests in North Dakota, said it would explore alternate routes 
for the pipeline segment at issue, but the demonstrators on site fear 
the Trump administration will reverse that decision.

Perry raised just $1.4 million for his 2016 campaign, a fraction of what 
he brought in four years earlier. But his super PAC, Opportunity and 
Freedom PAC, brought in almost 10 times that much. Besides Warren, the 
most generous donors included rancher Julianna Holt and her husband, 
Peter Holt, CEO of Holt Companies, which owns the largest US Caterpillar 
dealership ($500,000). The Holts are more than just donors, though: 
According to a financial disclosure form Perry filed last year, the 
candidate had a $250,000 consulting gig with Holt.

Warren and Darwin Deason of Deason Capital Services (whose son, Doug, is 
a big player in the Koch network) each donated $5 million to a second 
super PAC, creatively named Opportunity and Freedom I, but were 
reimbursed most of the funds in late August. The group didn't report any 
independent expenditures, refunding $8.8 million and transferring the 
additional $1 million to the first Opportunity and Freedom PAC.

Top Household Donors to Rick Perry, 1998-2016

Mostly thanks to these large donations, the oil & gas ($1.6 million) 
industry led the way in giving to Perry's campaign committee and super 
PACs combined. And that's a pattern that's been in place pretty much 
throughout Perry's political career; renewable energy advocates aren't 
likely to find much interest in their projects at the top of DOE's 
organizational chart for a while, assuming Perry is confirmed by the Senate.

The miscellaneous finance ($480,000) and livestock ($376,000) industries 
were a distant second and third.

Perry played a far better fundraising game in 2012, collecting $19.7 
million for his campaign, almost all from donations of $200 or more. Oil 
& gas was No. 1 for him in that cycle ($1 million) after retired folks 
($1.1 million); real estate professionals pulled in third ($926 
million). His campaign's top donors came from Ryan LLC, Murray Energy 
and the United States Automobile Association.

His biggest outside backer, Make Us Great Again (sound familiar?), spent 
almost $4 million trying to get Perry to the White House, with large 
donations coming from Dallas-based Contran Corp., formerly headed by 
now-deceased GOP funder Harold Simmons ($1 million); Kelcy Warren and 
Darwin Deason again ($250,000 each); and trial lawyer Tony Buzbee (also 
$250,000), who became Perry's general counsel two years later when a 
grand jury indicted him on two felony counts, later dismissed. (The 
Travis County grand jury charged him with "abuse of official capacity" 
for threatening to veto $7.5 million in funds for a public corruption 
department, and "coercion of a public servant" for pushing for the 
resignation of a district attorney after she was convicted of drunk 

Perry's first presidential run came while he was still governor of 
Texas, a slot he occupied from 2000 to 2015, making him the 
longest-serving chief executive of that state. Voters elected Perry to 
three full terms: He raised $24.7 million in 2002, $30.4 million in 2006 
and $49 million in 2010, according to data from the National Institute 
on Money In State Politics.

In his last state election in 2010, he received $5.9 million from -- 
guess who? -- oil & gas interests, $3.8 million from lawyers and 
lobbyists and $3 million from conservative policy organizations. 

[Biofuel] Trump's Carbon-Obsessed Energy Policy and the Planetary Nightmare to Come

2016-12-16 Thread Darryl McMahon

[This is your energy policy on Koch, clearly a reality-altering 
substance.  links in on-line article]

Scroll through Donald Trump's campaign promises or listen to his 
speeches and you could easily conclude that his energy policy consists 
of little more than a wish list drawn up by the major fossil fuel 
companies: lift environmental restrictions on oil and natural gas 
extraction, build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, open more 
federal lands to drilling, withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, 
kill Obama's Clean Power Plan, revive the coal mining industry, and so 
on and so forth ad infinitum. In fact, many of his proposals have simply 
been lifted straight from the talking points of top energy industry 
officials and their lavishly financed allies in Congress.

If, however, you take a closer look at this morass of pro-carbon 
proposals, an obvious, if as yet unnoted, contradiction quickly becomes 
apparent. Were all Trump's policies to be enacted -- and the appointment 
of the climate-change denier and industry-friendly attorney general of 
Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) suggests the attempt will be made -- not all segments of the 
energy industry will flourish. Instead, many fossil fuel companies will 
be annihilated, thanks to the rock-bottom fuel prices produced by a 
colossal oversupply of oil, coal, and natural gas.

Indeed, stop thinking of Trump's energy policy as primarily aimed at 
helping the fossil fuel companies (although some will surely benefit). 
Think of it instead as a nostalgic compulsion aimed at restoring a 
long-vanished America in which coal plants, steel mills, and 
gas-guzzling automobiles were the designated indicators of progress, 
while concern over pollution -- let alone climate change -- was yet to 
be an issue.

If you want confirmation that such a devastating version of nostalgia 
makes up the heart and soul of Trump's energy agenda, don't focus on his 
specific proposals or any particular combination of them. Look instead 
at his choice of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state 
and former Governor Rick Perry from oil-soaked Texas as his secretary of 
energy, not to mention the carbon-embracing fervor that ran through his 
campaign statements and positions. According to his election campaign 
website, his top priority will be to "unleash America's $50 trillion in 
untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in 
clean coal reserves." In doing so, it affirmed, Trump would "open 
onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands, eliminate [the] 
moratorium on coal leasing, and open shale energy deposits." In the 
process, any rule or regulation that stands in the way of exploiting 
these reserves will be obliterated.

If all of Trump's proposals are enacted, US greenhouse gas (GHG) 
emissions will soar, wiping out the declines of recent years and 
significantly increasing the pace of global warming. Given that other 
major GHG emitters, especially India and China, will feel less obliged 
to abide by their Paris commitments if the US heads down that path, it's 
almost certain that atmospheric warming will soar beyond the 2 degree 
Celsius rise over pre-industrial levels that scientists consider the 
maximum the planet can absorb without suffering catastrophic 
repercussions. And if, as promised, Trump also repeals a whole raft of 
environmental regulations and essentially dismantles the Environmental 
Protection Agency, much of the progress made over recent years in 
improving our air and water quality will simply be wiped away, and the 
skies over our cities and suburbs will once again turn gray with smog 
and toxic pollutants of all sorts.

Eliminating All Constraints on Carbon Extraction

To fully appreciate the dark, essentially delusional nature of Trump's 
energy nostalgia, let's start by reviewing his proposals. Aside from 
assorted tweets and one-liners, two speeches before energy groups 
represent the most elaborate expression of his views: the first was 
given on May 26th at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in 
Bismarck, North Dakota, to groups largely focused on extracting oil from 
shale through hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the Bakken shale oil 
formation; the second on September 22nd addressed the Marcellus Shale 
Coalition in Pittsburgh, a group of Pennsylvania gas frackers.

At both events, Trump's comments were designed to curry favor with this 
segment of the industry by promising the repeal of any regulations that 
stood in the way of accelerated drilling. But that was just a start for 
the then-candidate. He went on to lay out an "America-first energy plan" 
designed to eliminate virtually every impediment to the exploitation of 
oil, gas, and coal anywhere in the country or in its surrounding waters, 

[Biofuel] Latest Climate Report: "The Arctic Is Unraveling"

2016-12-16 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Latest Climate Report: "The Arctic Is Unraveling"

Friday, 16 December 2016 00:00 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | News Analysis

The Arctic's average surface air temperature for the year ending 
September 2016 was, by far, the highest since 1900. New monthly record 
high temperature records were recorded for January, February, October 
and November of this year.

Spring snow cover extent in the North American Arctic was the lowest 
ever in the satellite records, which began in 1967.

In the nearly four decades of Greenland Ice Sheet observations, only one 
year had an earlier onset of spring melting than this year.

The Arctic's biodiversity is changing, radically, before our eyes, 
including a movement of sub-Arctic species northward and an increase in 

These are just a few of the highlights from the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) recently released 2016 Arctic Report 

The report, sponsored by NOAA and coauthored by more than 50 scientists 
from three continents, is extremely sobering, with the report's authors 
concluding that, "The Arctic is unraveling."

A Completely New Arctic Climate

Data from the report indicate that the Arctic is warming at double the 
global average temperature rate. The report shows that if this fall's 
extreme warmth in the Arctic persists for another few years, it will 
likely signal a completely new climate for the region.

"We've seen a year in 2016 like we've never seen before … with clear 
acceleration of many global warming signals," NOAA's Arctic Research 
Program Director Jeremy Mathis told reporters at the American 
Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco this week where the report 
was released.

"The Arctic was whispering change," report coauthor Donald Perovich, who 
studies Arctic climate at Dartmouth, said. "Now it's not whispering. 
It's speaking, it's shouting change, and the changes are large."

The report showed that extremely warm Arctic air temperatures last 
January and February caused the smallest maximum winter sea ice extent 
on record. The previous record was hit in 2015.

Then, just last month, the return of extremely warm temperatures caused 
a period of retreating and melting ice during a time of year when the 
ice has typically grown extremely rapidly.

And as usual, the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) are 
extremely evident in Greenland.

"The Greenland Ice Sheet continued to lose mass in 2016," Columbia 
University Earth Observatory climate researcher Marco Tedesco said. "The 
melt onset was the second earliest and the melt season was 30 to 40 days 
longer than average in the northeastern US."

According to the report, Greenland's spring snow cover extent reached 
new record lows. Meanwhile, the snow depth is also decreasing, leading 
to even earlier, as well as faster, melting of the ice.

Another ramification of the dramatic warming of the Arctic is that 
permafrost is now releasing more greenhouse gases, like methane, which 
is 100 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2, during the 
winter. The report notes that this is happening now at a rate faster 
than that at which plants can absorb the gas during the summer, which 
means the Arctic has now become a net source of heat-trapping pollution.

It's not just the ground that's warming rapidly: Air temperatures across 
the Arctic have continued to soar past previous records. Between January 
and March 2016, temperatures blew away previous record highs, with some 
areas reporting records of more than 8 degrees Celsius above prior highs.

The report addresses how the melting of the Arctic is literally changing 
the path of the jet stream, which is what is likely going to lead to 
even more sustained extreme weather events across the entire Northern 
Hemisphere. One example is the so-called Polar Vortex that has been 
wracking the northeastern US in recent years -- including right now.

University of Sheffield geographer Edward Hanna, who coauthored the 
report's chapter on air surface temperatures, wrote about how the 
warming Arctic air temperatures are causing a trend towards younger, 
thinner Arctic sea ice, which means that its meltdown could well already 
be irreversible.

"It's hard to see how the summer sea ice will survive," Hanna concluded.

Trump's Denialism

The election of Donald Trump could not have come at a worse time for the 
climate, as the Arctic meltdown intensifies and dramatic warning signs 
around the planet continue to escalate. President-elect Trump has 
stacked his cabinet with ACD deniers much like himself.

This week, the Trump transition team launched an "Energy Independence" 
website that underscores his intentions to open vast areas of the Arctic 
to fossil fuel development, as well as to scrap all existing climate 
action plans.

Rafe Pomerance, chair of Arctic 21 

[Biofuel] Denmark: Largest power plant replaces coal with wood pellets as fuel

2016-12-15 Thread Darryl McMahon

Denmark: Largest power plant replaces coal with wood pellets as fuel


Dong Energy has converted the unit 1 at Denmark’s largest power station- 
Avedøre to use wood pellets and straw as fuel rather than coal.

The conversion, which began 18 months ago, is part of a deal signed 
between the Vestegnens Kraftvarmeselskab (VEKS) and Dong Energy to 
provide green district heating to VEKS' customers in the Greater 
Copenhagen area. Following the conversion of unit 1 at Avedøre Power 
Station, the plant can generate heat for more than 215,000 Danish 
households in the Greater Copenhagen area without using coal or gas The 
shift from coal to sustainable wood pellets also contributes 
significantly to the city's climate targets. Avedøre Power Station 
expects to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 500,000 metric tons CO2 per 
year, equivalent to the annual emissions from 255,000 cars. Dong Energy 
has reduced its coal consumption by 74 percent since 2006 by using more 
wind and biomass, and the trend is continuing.

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[Biofuel] Cap-and-trade to cost $8B, reduce GHGs by less than 20 per cent, says Ontario's auditor general - Canadian Manufacturing

2016-12-14 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Disclosure:  after some effort in studying cap & trade vs. simple 
carbon taxes on big emitters, I have concluded the carbon tax is 
superior to cap & trade as a means of delivering a price signal to 
consumers, lower admin costs, and less prone to being gamed.]

Cap-and-trade to cost $8B, reduce GHGs by less than 20 per cent, says 
Ontario’s auditor general

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says despite a planned subsidy, the average 
household electricity bill is projected to increase 23 per cent from 
2015 to 2020

December 1, 2016

by Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

TORONTO—Ontario’s cap-and-trade program will cost the province’s 
consumers and businesses $8 billion dollars in its first years of 
operation to get minimal greenhouse gas reductions, the auditor general 

In her annual report, Bonnie Lysyk said households will pay an average 
of $156 next year in added costs on gasoline and natural gas, rising to 
$210 in 2019 plus another $75 that year in indirect costs on goods and 

The government has also earmarked $1.32 billion out of the expected $8 
billion in projected cap-and-trade revenue to help offset the cost of 
residential and business electricity bills, but it doesn’t say how, 
Lysyk’s report said.

And the impact will likely be marginal, she said. Even with a subsidy, 
the average household electricity bill is projected to increase 23 per 
cent from 2015 to 2020, Lysyk found.

“Such increased electricity costs may make natural gas, which is 
responsible for significantly more greenhouse gas emission than cleaner 
energy sources like solar, hydro, nuclear and wind, an even more 
economical option,” she wrote.

The carbon pricing scheme, set to come into effect Jan. 1, will likely 
achieve fewer than 20 per cent of the emission reductions the government 
wants to see by 2020, Lysyk said.

The Liberal government has set an emissions reduction target for that 
year of 15 per cent below 1990 levels, which would require an estimated 
18.7 megatonnes of reductions.

But because the system, which requires polluters to buy emissions 
allowances, will link with Quebec and California in 2018 the government 
plans to count emission reductions achieved in those jurisdictions, 
Lysyk said.

“The potential exists for double reporting of emission reductions 
between California, Quebec and Ontario,” she said.

Lysyk’s conclusions echo those of the environmental commissioner, who 
recently said that Ontario’s cap-and-trade program won’t actually limit 
greenhouse gas emissions through to 2020 because it will often be 
cheaper for Ontario polluters to purchase California allowances.

Environment Minister Glen Murray defended the cap-and-trade plan, saying 
it is the best tool to both reduce greenhouse gas pollution and minimize 
the financial impact on families and businesses.

“A reduction in greenhouse gas pollution anywhere, not just locally, 
benefits us all,” he said.

The government currently regulates polluters through an Environmental 
Approvals program, but Lysyk found that about 80 per cent of emitters 
granted approvals in the last 15 years have never been inspected.

Of those the government did inspect over the last five years, about 
one-third were violating the conditions of their approvals, the auditor 

The government doesn’t monitor more than 200,000 approvals issued more 
than 15 years ago and it doesn’t even know how many of those emitters 
are still operating, Lysyk found.

The auditor also looked at Ontario’s environmental assessment process, 
finding it lacking in areas. Ontario is the only province that doesn’t 
require environmental assessments for private-sector mining and chemical 
manufacturing projects, she said.

Four former private-sector mineral extraction sites alone will cost 
nearly $1 billion to clean up, Lysyk found.

Murray said the approvals process is “among the most protective in North 
America,” but hasn’t necessarily “kept pace with the demands of 
Ontario’s growing economy.” The ministry will look at how to better 
identify emitters operating without proper approvals and ensure it is 
collecting amounts that represent true clean-up costs.

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[Biofuel] Illinois props up pair of unprofitable nuclear plants, offers billions in subsidies - Canadian Manufacturing

2016-12-14 Thread Darryl McMahon

Illinois props up pair of unprofitable nuclear plants, offers billions 
in subsidies

Move will save thousands of jobs, ensure clean energy production, but 
manufacturers say subsidies to weaken businesses by raising electricity 

December 8, 2016

by John O'Connor, The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner approved a plan Dec. 7 that 
will provide billions of dollars in subsidies to Exelon Corp. to keep 
two unprofitable nuclear plants from closing prematurely.

The Republican appeared at Riverdale High School in Port Byron to sign 
legislation he said will save thousands of jobs by rewarding Exelon for 
producing carbon-free energy.

In addition to $235 million a year for Exelon to prop up nuclear plants 
in the Quad Cities and Clinton, the plan provides hundreds of millions 
of dollars in energy-efficiency programs and assistance to low-income 
energy users.

“I was unwilling to gamble with these communities, gamble with thousands 
of good-paying jobs and gamble with our energy future,” Rauner said in a 
statement. “While this legislation isn’t perfect, it allows us to 
protect jobs, ratepayers and taxpayers.”

The law ensures the plants in Cordova and Clinton stay open for 10 years 
and allows for expansion of alternative power generators, such as wind 
and solar.

It caps the increase in ratepayer bills at an average of 25 cents a 
month for the 13-year life of the deal for ComEd customers in northern 
Illinois and 35 cents a month for Ameren users in central and southern 
Illinois. But both companies assert that costs should go down, at least 

These increases come on top of a $127.5 million rate increase—about $2 
per monthly bill—that the Illinois Commerce Commission approved for 
ComEd this week. Ameren issued a statement Wednesday that the ICC 
approved a $14.5 million rate decrease, dropping power costs for the 
typical Ameren customer beginning next month.

Exelon said in a statement that the measure, known as the Future Energy 
Jobs Bill, “safeguards the state’s top source of clean energy, protects 
and creates thousands of jobs and strengthens the Illinois economy, 
while preserving competitive rates.”

Rauner previously criticized “special deals” for corporations, but last 
week said closing the plants would have “devastated the two communities.”

Critics including BEST Coalition, a non-profit that opposes the deal, 
say the nuclear plants aren’t needed because Illinois produces 41 per 
cent more energy than it needs and exports the excess. BEST Coalition 
said subsidizing the plants will mean a steep increase in rates.

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association complained that Rauner had 
weakened the state’s chances at recruiting middle-class jobs because of 
power costs to manufacturers. The group said in a statement that 
Illinois lost nearly 10,000 “high-paying jobs” in the past year while 
neighbouring states have grown.

“Building a guaranteed electric rate hike into state law and reversing 
20 years of deregulation (are) not the answer to get our economy booming 
again,” the group said.

But state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat who sponsored a 
“clean energy” bill that later was folded into the Exelon subsidy 
matter, said the “new law is a tremendous victory for Illinois” with 
“more jobs, more savings for consumers, cleaner air and smarter energy 

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[Biofuel] Living Web Farms hosts workshop on building atomizing oil burners | Mountain Xpress

2016-12-14 Thread Darryl McMahon

Living Web Farms hosts workshop on building atomizing oil burners
Posted on December 14, 2016 by Able Allen   

Press release from Living Web Farms:

Do you want to become more resilient and cut down on your fossil 
fuel consumption?  Are you interested in learning how to turn waste 
products into valuable energy resources? Need a way to heat your 
greenhouse, shop, or barn? On January 10, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM, you can 
attend a workshop hosted by Living Web Farms to learn about the 
essential elements of a home built oil atomizer and how to build your 
own.  Attendees will learn how to capture heat for use in high 
temperature heating applications, including water and space heating, 
metalwork, food processing, and more.
Atomizing oil burners are important because they are cleaner and 
more fuel-efficient than the commonly discussed drip-style burners. 
They spray a fine mist of oil mixed with air and ignition to achieve 
clean combustion.  Hettinger notes that, “achieving the fine mist is 
what separates the atomizing technology from other DIY oil burners”.
While simple homemade atomizers can be built from common parts 
purchased at a hardware store, already existing gun-style atomizers can 
be easily modified to burn a wider range of oils, including heavier 
biodiesel blends and waste oils.  Although very useful and easy to 
modify, these types of oil burners require that the oil be shot through 
a very small hole, making heavy filtration a requirement.  The biochar 
crew at Living Web Farms has answered this issue by developing a 
“Babington-style” oil atomizer that drastically reduces the amount of 
filtration necessary.
Hettinger explains, “the major difference with the Babington 
atomizer is in the nozzle in which compressed air is pushed through and 
across a thin film of oil.  With this development, the Babington burner 
can cleanly burn much heavier, dirtier oils- waste vegetable oils, motor 
oils, possibly even animal fats, and Pyrolysis oil from biochar production.”
Come learn how to produce your own clean heat! Learn the challenges 
faced and mistakes made by Hettinger and his crew in perfecting the 
Babington-style atomizer.
To register for Atomizing Waste Oil Burners for Clean Heat with Dan 
Hettinger, visit

Living Web Farms is an education and research organic farm located 
in Mills River, NC.  With over 35 acres, four greenhouses, alternative 
energy innovation, pastured livestock, forest crops, and diverse 
vegetable production, Living Web is a leading demonstration site for 
effective organic farming in western NC. Living Web conducts year-round 
education in farming, homesteading, cooking, and sustainable living. 
All education conducted at the farm is archived online in a free video 
library, and all food produced at the farm is donation to charity, via 
seven North Carolina food banks.  For more information, visit

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[Biofuel] Suez and Total link up to collect and recycle used cooking oil in France | Biofuels International Magazine

2016-12-14 Thread Darryl McMahon

December 13, 2016
Suez and Total link up to collect and recycle used cooking oil in France

French waste management specialist Suez and oil giant Total have teamed 
up to collect and recycle used cooking oil in France.

As part of their ten-year partnership, Suez will supply 20,000 metric 
tonnes of used cooking oil a year to Total. Collected throughout France, 
the oil will be processed into biofuel at Total’s La Mede biorefinery.

In response to growing demand for biofuel, Total is transforming its La 
Mede site into France’s first biorefinery, one of the largest in Europe. 
The facility will produce biodiesel by refining used cooking oil, 
residual oil and vegetable oil. The high-quality biodiesel (HVO) will be 
easily blended into regular diesel in any proportion, with no adverse 
impact on fuel quality or engines.

At present, 45,000 tonnes a year of used cooking oil are collected in 
France, out of an estimated total of more than 100,000 tonnes. The 
partnership between Suez and Total will increase amount of used oil 
collected by more than 20 percent and improve its conversion through a 
short energy production loop beneficial for the environment.

Suez will deploy a France-wide oil collection and recycling system 
suitable for all types of producers, from consumers to the leading 
agri-food businesses. The oil will be transported to La Mede for 
preliminary treatment in a filtration unit built by Suez.

Country-wide industry

Michel Charton, senior VP refining & base chemicals Europe of Total, 
said: “I am delighted by this innovative partnership with Suez. This 
industrial cooperation will allow us to establish a sustainable 
country-wide industry to recycle used cooking oil to produce biofuels.

“The partnership helps Total meet its ambition of being the responsible 
energy major. Renewable energies, especially biomass, are a critical 
adjunct to oil and gas in order to meet demand for transportation fuel 
while managing carbon emissions.”

Jean-Marc Boursier, senior executive VP of Suez, in charge of recycling 
& recovery Europe, added: “I am very proud of this partnership with 
Total. By helping to transform the La Mede industrial site, Suez is 
supporting Total’s ambitious environmental goals - which we share. As a 
partner of leading manufacturers in Europe and worldwide, we develop 
tailored solutions to make industrial ecology a reality by optimising 
the use of resources.

“Our collaboration with Total to process used cooking oil into biofuel 
is a successful illustration of the circular economy.”

Suez, a key player in the circular economy through sustainable resource 
management, supplies 92 million people with clean water and 65 million 
with wastewater treatment services. It collects the waste of nearly 34 
million people, recycles 16 million tonnes of waste a year and produces 
7 TWh of local and renewable energy. Suez reported revenue of € 15.1 
billion in 2015.

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[Biofuel] Remote Communities Stop Burning Their Midnight Oil with Large Scale Energy Storage - Renewable Energy World

2016-12-14 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images in on-line article]

Remote Communities Stop Burning Their Midnight Oil with Large Scale 
Energy Storage

How three remote communities are now making effective use of their 
abundant solar and wind energy resources with the support of large scale 
Li-ion Energy Storage Systems (ESSs).

December 13, 2016

By Michael Lippert, Contributor

Until recently, the world's most remote off-grid communities have relied 
on traditional diesel generators to supply their electricity needs. This 
has created significant cost and reliability issues. Sometimes, it can 
cost more to transport the fuel to the site than it actually cost to 
purchase in the first place. Should adverse weather disrupt travel then 
there is a risk of running out of fuel. Furthermore, the gensets need 
regular expensive maintenance.

For these reasons a growing number of communities are now turning to 
solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbines. And in many cases, they are 
adopting microgrid solutions in which the diesel generation and 
renewable plant complement each other. The aim is always to ensure the 
reliability and autonomy of the electricity supply and to optimize 
operating costs.

This is where a large scale lithium-ion (Li-ion) energy storage system 
(ESS) can play a vital role in mitigating the variable and unpredictable 
nature of wind and solar plants. The ESS can perform a number of roles, 
including control of ramp rates, power smoothing, power shaping, peak 
shaving and frequency regulation.Until recently, the world's most remote 
off-grid communities have relied on traditional diesel generators to 
supply their electricity needs. This has created significant cost and 
reliability issues. Sometimes, it can cost more to transport the fuel to 
the site than it actually cost to purchase in the first place. Should 
adverse weather disrupt travel then there is a risk of running out of 
fuel. Furthermore, the gensets need regular expensive maintenance.

For these reasons a growing number of communities are now turning to 
solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbines. And in many cases, they are 
adopting microgrid solutions in which the diesel generation and 
renewable plant complement each other. The aim is always to ensure the 
reliability and autonomy of the electricity supply and to optimize 
operating costs.

This is where a large scale lithium-ion (Li-ion) energy storage system 
(ESS) can play a vital role in mitigating the variable and unpredictable 
nature of wind and solar plants. The ESS can perform a number of roles, 
including control of ramp rates, power smoothing, power shaping, peak 
shaving and frequency regulation.

It is useful to consider the situation at a typical remote site. Using 
standard power electronics a PV installation might contribute up to 20 
to 30 percent of the power that would be generated by the diesel genset 
during daytime hours. If we add dedicated software then the PV 
penetration could increase to 50 percent. For example, a 1-MW microgrid 
might accept up to 300 kW, but this could be raised up to 500 kW of PV 
in the best case. Since the PV output is limited to sunlight hours, 
highly variable and does not necessarily meet the required consumption 
profiles, its contribution to the overall energy mix is naturally limited.

However, when an ESS is introduced, it is possible to maximize the 
contribution of renewables, increasing the penetration and harvesting 
all of the PV power. Fuel savings of 50 to 75 percent then become a 
realistic possibility.

Three recent examples show how energy storage is now making an important 
contribution for some very remote communities.

Making the Most of the Arctic Circle's Midnight Sun

The remote community of Colville Lake, 50 km north of the Arctic Circle, 
is home to about 160 people. It is only accessible by air or by ice 
roads during a six-week window in February and March. For some years, 
its electrical power requirements - 150 kW peak load and 30 kW base load 
- has been met by diesel generators. However, NTPC (Northwest 
Territories Power Corporation) the power utility that serves 43,000 
people spread across 33 communities in northern Canada is now 
transforming the region's power supply to cheaper, cleaner and more 
reliable renewable energy.

In 2015 a microgrid was deployed at Colville Lake that combines solar 
panels with new diesel generators (2 x 100 kW and 1 x 150 kW) and an 
ESS. The 136-kW solar panels generate around 112 MWh a year. The solar 
output exceeds the community's average electricity load. Therefore, the 
primary goal was to reduce the runtime of the diesel generators, 
especially in the summer when the sunlight is available for virtually 24 
hours a day.

A key requirement for the ESS was to withstand the harsh variations in 

[Biofuel] Canadian renewable energy report released prior to First Ministers’ Meeting - HydroWorld

2016-12-13 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Image in on-line article shows 65% of Canada's electricity generation 
in 2013 came from renewables, and just 20% from fossil fuels.  With the 
phase-out of coal-fired generation in Ontario in early 2014, the 
situation is actually better now.  Other reports have indicated that 
Canada could be at less than 5% fossil-fuel generation by 2030 with 
concerted will and using off-the-shelf technology.]

Canadian renewable energy report released prior to First Ministers’ Meeting

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada


By Gregory B. Poindexter Associate Editor

The Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity (CCRE) today released its 
report, “Canada’s Advantage: A Vision for Renewable Electricity in 
Canada,” which identifies renewable electricity resources that will cut 
carbon pollution as Canada shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy.

CCRE released the report in advance of Canadian Prime Minister Justin 
Trudeau hosting a First Ministers’ Meeting and a meeting with First 
Nations, Inuit, and Metis leaders today in the country’s capital city of 
Ottawa, in Ontario, to discuss amongst other things, clean energy growth 
and climate change.

CCRE said in the report that one of the ways in which Canada will reduce 
its use of fossil fuels involves using smart grids and cites information 
that conveys, “Renewable power is not only a key factor in driving the 
need for a smart grid, but also in making a better grid possible.”

In its mention of key factors driving the need for a smart grid, the 
report says, “Canada has a critical advantage over many other 
jurisdictions to help smooth over variability issues [related to smart 
grids]: substantial hydropower resources.

“Electricity grids have always required storage and flexible resources, 
and hydro power is the only large scale, dispatchable non-emitting 
resource that can both store electricity and very rapidly ramp up and 
down (increase or reduce its supply) in response to changing requirements."

Abundant renewable electricity resources offer the country a competitive 
advantage in global efforts to cut carbon pollution and deliver clean 
growth, and can power Canada’s economy as it shifts from fossil fuels to 
clean energy, according to the report.

The report offers the following recommendations:

Aim for a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2050 — Implement policies 
to phase-out practically all emitting generation sources by 2050 and 
ensure the sustained growth of the share of generation produced by 
renewable sources;
Shifting from fossil fuels to clean electricity — Commit to 
increasing the use of electricity in our energy system to over 50% of 
all energy used in Canada by 2050, by shifting from fossil fuels to 
clean electricity for buildings, transportation and industry; and
A renewable energy export strategy — Prioritize the development of 
a renewable energy export strategy, including work on streamlining of 
cross-border transmission projects, and efforts to increase the export 
of renewable electricity technologies and services.

Hydropower industry executives added their thoughts related to the 
report and the need for clean energy growth in Canada.

“Different sources of renewable electricity have different attributes 
that, when put together, can complement each other to ensure we have 
clean, reliable and affordable electricity across Canada,” said Elisa 
Obermann, Marine Renewables Canada executive director.

“Canada is a trading nation, and the renewable electricity sector can 
step up its contribution to clean growth,” said Jacob Irving, Canadian 
Hydropower Association president. “From exporting clean electricity to 
the United States, to sharing our technologies and know-how with 
countries around the world, we can compete in the fast-growing global 
market for clean energy solutions.”

According to CCRE, renewable energy sources such as sun, wind, and water 
currently meet 65% of Canada’s electricity needs. Canada also has the 
cleanest, most renewable electricity generation system in the G7 and the 
fourth-largest renewable energy capacity in the world.

The federal government’s recently released “Mid-Century Long-Term 
Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy” includes increased 
electrification of all end-use application that currently rely on fossil 
fuels, continued decarbonization of the electricity sector, and 
increased interprovincial and intercontinental cooperation on 

Established in 2015, the CCRE is a non-partisan organization that allows 
Canada’s leading national renewable electricity industry associations to 
collaborate, educate and pursue common opportunities as a solutions 
provider to the critical challenge of decarbonizing the North American 
energy system while bolstering economic growth.

[Report at 

[Biofuel] The Netherlands to halt subsidizing renewables as they become more viable

2016-12-09 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Presumably fossil fuel subsidies will continue until they become 
economically viable. /end snark]

The Netherlands to halt subsidizing renewables as they become more viable


The Netherlands announced it will progressively phase out subsidies for 
renewable energies and focus its climate strategy on energy saving and 
carbon capture, according to Dutch government.

The news comes to reverse the last week’s decision which provided a 33 
percent increase in subsidies for solar, wind, geothermal and other 
projects to 12 billion euros ($12.9 billion) in 2017, from 9 billion 
euros in 2016, as it struggles to reach 2020 targets. However, the 
“Energy Agenda” published by the Economic Affair ministry on Wednesday – 
establishing how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced to 80-95 
percent of 1990 levels by 2050 - said subsidies would be phased out as 
renewables become more viable. For instance, offshore wind turbines will 
no longer need them by 2026 and the government envisages designating new 
areas of the North Sea for wind energy. On the other hand, the Dutch 
government will focus on electric car proliferation and will invest some 
20 billion euros in the development of a smarter and more capable grid 
that’s suited for intensive EV charging by 2035. As a result, 
individuals will be able to invest much easier in renewables, as power 
companies have been encouraged to make that process easier. Industrial 
CO2 emissions will also be in the focus during the next period, and 
additional measures will be taken by learning from the experience that 
the UK and Germany have in carbon reduction technologies.


"The use of fossil fuels is being subsidised worldwide to the tune of 
billions of euros. Huge government support is encouraging carbon 
emissions and therefore climate change. The Netherlands alone pays out 
more than seven billion euros in subsidies each year. At the same time, 
world leaders in Copenhagen are complaining about global warming."


This research discovers that G20 country governments’ support to fossil 
fuel production marries bad economics with potentially disastrous 
consequences for climate change. In effect, governments are propping up 
the production of oil, gas and coal, much of which cannot be used if the 
world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

The report Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production 
documents, for the first time, the scale and structure of fossil fuel 
production subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a 
publicly financed bailout for some of the world’s largest, most 
carbon-intensive and polluting companies.

[more available at URL above]
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[Biofuel] Oil Pipeline Shut Down After Spill, Just 200 Miles From Standing Rock

2016-12-07 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links and images in on-line article]

Dec 06, 2016

Pipeline Shut Down After Spill, Just 200 Miles From Standing Rock

Dan Zukowski

A six-inch crude oil pipeline operated by Belle Fourche Pipeline Company 
in western North Dakota was shut down following discovery of a leak on 
Monday. The amount of the spill was not immediately known, but oil has 
leaked into the Ash Coulee Creek in Billings County.

The site of the spill is about 200 miles from the camp where members of 
the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters have been protesting 
the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

"It is a significant spill," Bill Suess, spill investigation program 
manager for the North Dakota Department of health, said.

"A series of booms have been placed across the creek to prevent 
downstream migration and a siphon dam has been constructed four miles 
downstream of the release point."

The Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. is part of the family-owned True 
companies, which also operates Bridger Pipeline LLC. Both pipelines are 
operated from the same control room in Casper, Wyoming. From 2006 to 
2014, Belle Fourche reported 21 incidents, leaking a total of 272,832 
gallons of oil. Bridger Pipeline recorded nine pipeline incidents in the 
same period, spilling nearly 11,000 gallons of crude.

"In general, Bridger has a poor compliance history," wrote a federal 
regulator charged with overseeing pipeline safety in a 2012 order 
regarding a 2006 oil spill.

A Belle Fourche pipeline that spilled 12,200 gallons in May, 2014 
occurred on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land near Buffalo, Wyoming. 
It was later discovered that Belle Fourche did not have a permit to 
operate the land. Its sister company, Bridger, was fined $27,029 for 
trespassing by the BLM.

Bridger was also responsble for dumping up to 50,000 gallons of crude 
into the scenic Yellowstone River in 2015.

While operators claim that oil pipelines are safer than trains or 
trucks, an aging infrastructure and inadequate oversight leads to 
numerous leaks, most of which never make headlines. A Nov. 30 analysis 
by Citylab revealed that more than 9,000 significant accidents over the 
past 20 years have resulted in 548 deaths, 2,576 injuries and more than 
$8.5 billion in financial damages. An Oct. 25 analysis by EcoWatch found 
220 significant pipeline spills to date in 2016 and showed that the 
number of significant pipeline incidents has grown 26.8 percent from 
2006 to 2015.

The Belle Fourche and Bridger pipelines transport crude oil in the 
Williston Basin of western North Dakota and eastern Montana and the 
Powder River Basin of Wyoming.

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[Biofuel] FOR RELEASE: Renewables Take the Lead in New Generating Capacity in 2016

2016-12-07 Thread Darryl McMahon


*(**a campaign for a sustainable energy future**)*

*6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite #340; Takoma Park, MD 20912*

*301-270-6477 x.11 *

* *

*Twitter: **Follow **@SunDayCampaign*

_News Advisory_






*For Release:  Wednesday - December 7, 2016*


*Contact:  Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477  x.11 *


*Washington DC*– According to the latest issue of the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission's (FERC) monthly "Energy Infrastructure Update" 
(with data through October 31, 2016), renewable energy now accounts for 
the largest share of new U.S. electrical generation put into service 
thus far in 2016.

Combined, newly installed capacity from renewable sources (i.e., 
biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) totals 8,267 MW for the 
first ten months of the year, or 47.5% of the total (17,418 MW).

By comparison, fossil fuels (i.e., coal, natural gas, oil) account for 
7,866 MW, or 45.2%, with the bulk of that -- 7,788 MW -- coming from 
natural gas. And with the start-up of the Tennessee Valley Authority's 
new Watts Bar-2 reactor, nuclear power has added 1,270 MW, or 7.3%. **

Notably, while the 1,270-MW Watts Bar-2 is the nation's first new 
nuclear power reactor since 1996, new capacity from solar, wind, 
biomass, and hydropower in the */single month/* of October alone (1,088 
MW) nearly matched what it took the nuclear industry over 20 years to 
bring online.

Moreover, year-to-date, new wind generating capacity totals 2,972 MW -- 
more than double that of Watts Bar-2 while new solar generating capacity 
(4,960 MW) is nearly four times that of Watts Bar-2. There are also 
257-MW of new hydropower capacity and 78-MW of new biomass capacity but 
no new geothermal steam capacity thus far in 2016.

Five years ago, renewable sources cumulatively accounted for 14.12% of 
total available installed generating capacity; now they provide 18.58%: 
hydropower - 8.52%, wind- 6.54%, solar - 1.78%, biomass - 1.41%, and 
geothermal - 0.33%. Each of the non-hydro renewables has grown during 
the past half-decade with solar's share nearly twelve times greater 
today than in 2011.

By comparison, oil is now only 3.82%, nuclear power is 9.18%, and coal 
is 24.87% -- shares of the total that are all lower than five years ago 
(4.62%, 9.45%, and 29.97% respectively). Only natural gas has 
experienced modest growth and that is from 41.67% in 2011 to 43.39% today.

"FERC's latest data again make clear that nuclear power -- as well as 
oil and coal -- have lost the race with renewable energy sources," noted 
Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. "Natural gas 
may still be in the running but even it is slipping under the combined 
weight of solar, wind, and other renewables."

# # # # # # #

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released its most recent 6-page 
"Energy Infrastructure Update," with data for October 2016, on December 
6, 2016. See the tables titled "New Generation In-Service (New Build and 
Expansion)" and "Total Available Installed Generating Capacity" at: 

** Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. 
Electrical production per MW of available capacity (i.e., capacity 
factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and 
nuclear power. As noted, the total installed operating generating 
capacity provided by renewables in 2016 is about 18.6% of the nation's 
total whereas actual electrical generation from renewables year-to-date 
(according to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration figures) 
is roughly 15.1%; however, both of these figures understate renewables' 
actual contribution because neither EIA nor FERC fully accounts for all 
electricity generated by smaller-scale, distributed renewable energy 


The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational 
organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote sustainable energy 
technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil 

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[Biofuel] We've Been Sold a Lie for Two Decades About Genetically Engineered Foods

2016-12-05 Thread Darryl McMahon

We've Been Sold a Lie for Two Decades About Genetically Engineered Foods

Monday, 05 December 2016 10:44

By Reynard Loki, AlterNet | News Analysis

Editor's note from AlterNet: The terms GE (genetic engineering) and GMO 
(genetically modified organism) are often used interchangeably, but 
their meanings are different. GMOs, which are produced when plant 
breeders select genetic traits that may also occur naturally, have been 
around for centuries. Common examples are seedless watermelons and 
modern broccoli. The subject of much recent debate are GE foods, which 
have only been around in recent decades and are produced by transferring 
genes between organisms. The resulting GE organisms -- either plant-, or 
in the case of GE salmon, animal-based -- would not otherwise occur in 
nature. This article is about GE foods.

In 1994, a tomato known as Flavr Savr became the first commercially 
grown genetically engineered food to be granted a license for human 
consumption. Scientists at the California-based company Calgene (which 
was scooped up by Monsanto a few years later) added a specific gene to a 
conventional tomato that interfered with the plant's production of a 
particular enzyme, making it more resistant to rotting. The tomato was 
given the all-clear by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Since then, both the United States and Canada have embraced the genetic 
engineering of food crops, while Europe has broadly rejected the use of 
such technology. Only five EU nations -- the Czech Republic, Portugal, 
Romania, Slovakia and Spain -- grow GE crops, and in such minor amounts 
that all five countries make up less than 0.1 percent of GE cultivation 

It appears Europe has been right all along to renounce GE crops. An 
in-depth examination recently published by the New York Times found that 
GE crops have largely failed to achieve two of the technology's primary 
objectives: to increase crop yields and decrease pesticide use. 
Pesticides in particular have come under increasing fire in recent 
years, not only for their negative impact on human health and wildlife, 
but for decimating populations of key food crop pollinators; 
specifically bees, which we rely on to pollinate a third of food crops.

While consumer awareness of the effects of pesticides has grown, the 
ongoing battle over GE crops has largely zeroed in on whether or not 
such foods are safe to consume. But as Times investigative reporter 
Danny Hakim points out in his article about the paper's analysis, "the 
debate has missed a more basic problem" -- that GE crops have "not 
accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in 
the use of chemical pesticides."

Analyzing academic and industry research, as well as independent data, 
the Times compared results on the two continents and found that the 
"United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields 
-- food per acre -- when measured against Western Europe." The paper 
also cited a recent National Academy of Sciences report that found 
"little evidence that the introduction of GE crops were resulting in 
more rapid yearly increases in on-farm crop yields in the United States 
than had been seen prior to the use of GE crops."

New York Times: Behind the Times?

For many farmers, researchers and activists, the Times' conclusion was 
not news. Ronnie Cummins, co-founder of Organic Consumers Association, a 
nonprofit advocacy group based in Minnesota, told AlterNet that the 
paper's analysis simply "confirms what many of the world's best 
scientists have said for years: GE crops have benefitted no one except 
the corporations selling the chemicals required to grow them."

"I'm glad that the New York Times has now discovered what those of us in 
agriculture have known for 20 years, that the old and exaggerated claims 
of genetic engineering by Monsanto and their allies are bogus," Jim 
Gerritsen, an organic farmer, told AlterNet. "They have not panned out 
and I'm glad that now the newspaper of record has made this clear to a 
lot of people." Gerritsen and his wife Megan have owned and run Wood 
Prairie Family Farm in northern Maine for 40 years. "A lot of us have 
been saying this for a long time," he said.

While it may not be news for those working toward a more sustainable 
food system, the Times story was unexpected. Andrew Kimbrell, executive 
director of the Center for Food Safety, an environmental nonprofit based 
in Washington, DC, told AlterNet that the Times piece is "a surprising 
ray of light illuminating the longstanding GE crops debate." He said 
that the paper "for so many years had ignored the science about genetic 
engineering and bought the Big Lie" that Monsanto and its cohorts have 
been telling the public for so long: "that GE crops 'reduce pesticide 
use, increase yield and are key to feeding the 

[Biofuel] Energy efficiency projects save $5 billion in Michigan since 2008

2016-12-05 Thread Darryl McMahon

[What's killing old King Coal?  It isn't carbon taxes or emissions 
capture costs.  It's efficiency and cheap natural gas, with assists from 
growing capacity from solar and wind energy.  Low cost, utility-scale 
storage based on batteries which can be deployed at the sub-station 
level to provide power conditioning peak shaving capacity will finish 
coal off.  Note this past couple of weeks that India has opened the 
largest solar PV generating facility yet, and the Canadian federal 
government has finally announced a plan to phase out all coal generation 
by 2030 (although most of the provinces - including the 3 most populous 
- have already done this without federal help.]

5 December 2016

US state saves $5bn on energy bills since 2008

Utilities energy efficiency initiatives deployed in the US state of 
Michigan have helped consumers save $5 billion on their energy bills 
since 2008.

In its 2016 energy efficiency review, the Michigan Public Service 
Commission (MPSC) states that Michigan has exceeded its energy 
efficiency target set in 2008 by 20%. This was made possible by an 
increase in the implementation of policies supporting the adoption of 
energy conservation measures.

The regulatory initiatives are said to have allowed an increase in 
investments and implementation of programmes to improve consumer 
awareness on the benefits of energy efficiency.

In addition to reducing energy bills, energy efficiency projects have 
helped utilities to reduce their carbon emissions by limiting power 
generation using fossil fuels.

These programmes have also helped the state’s 65 utilities to reduce 
their operational costs by offsetting new investments generation plants 
and rather, improving the reliability of their grid networks.

According to the MPSC, utilities operating in Michigan have invested 
$262 million towards implementation of energy efficiency projects in 
2015 alone. The Michigan state energy regulator projects that energy 
efficiency programmes deployed in the state in 2015 will result in 
benefits of up to $1.1 billion over the next several years.

The energy regulator said consumers can reduce their energy consumption 
by up to 35%, by shifting to less energy intensive LED lighting systems, 
insulation and automated controls.

The policies include the Senate Bill 437 and the SB438 both of which 
have increased the state’s energy efficiency targets from 10% by 2015 to 
15% by 2022.

The Michigan State’s Energy Optimisation programme mandates electric 
utilities’ energy efficiency projects to achieve 1% of utilities total 
retail energy sales.

Energy efficiency projects deployment

In the 2nd quarter of 2016, Michigan-based power utility DTE Energy 
upgraded its energy efficiency tool 'DTE Insight' to help consumers 
reduce their power consumption and electricity bills.

The new feature allows customers to use the DTE Insight app to set an 
energy budget target, monitor their energy efficiency targets through 
access to daily, weekly, monthly and annual energy costs.

The app now connects mobile devices with smart gas and electric meters 
to allow consumers to receive notifications when they are approaching 
their targets. [Consumers Energy budgets $750m to complete AMI rollout].

In addition, the platform provides energy efficiency tips with step by 
step instructions and powerscans appliances to allow customers to view 
their monthly operating cost of a selected appliance.

DTE Energy claims the new feature allows the app to help consumers 
reduce power consumption by as much as 10% per month.


5 December 2016

Illinois community reaches nearly $1m in electricity cost savings
The village of Godfrey in Illinois has achieved nearly $1m in 
electricity cost savings with the aid of municipal energy aggregation 
programme managed by Good Energy.

With the municipal energy aggregation programme, the Village of Godfrey 
and several other municipalities in Madison County, procured electricity 
from a certified alternative retail energy supplier and secured lower 
electricity rates for participants.

In addition, the village of Godfrey enjoyed a total savings of $750,000 
the first year with the energy aggregation programme.  Quoted 
electricity rates would not fluctuate, maintaining a fixed rate for 
multiple years, rather than the annual rate changes under utility 
supply. Good Energy also assisted communities navigate through 
complicated state and local requirements and remain compliant with state 
and local requirements.

Residents are able to enjoy reduced energy cost — with a programme that 
also initiates a conversation about renewable energy and conservation.

According to a release, Godfrey was one of the first communities to go 
100% green, offsetting 

[Biofuel] Standing rock victory: tribes, protesters celebrate as Dakota Access oil pipeline permit rejected

2016-12-04 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images in on-line article]

Standing rock victory: tribes, protesters celebrate as Dakota Access oil 
pipeline permit rejected

By Associated Press

4 December 2016 • 11:08pm

The US Army Corps of Engineers said on Sunday that it won't grant an 
easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota.

The decision is a victory for the several thousand camped near the 
construction site, who've said for months that the four-state, $3.8 
billion project would threaten a water source and cultural sites.

The pipeline is largely complete except for the now-blocked segment 
underneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir. According to a news 
release, Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said her 
decision was based on the need to "explore alternate routes" for the 
pipeline's crossing.

"Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new 
information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it's clear 
that there's more work to do," Darcy said. "The best way to complete 
that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes 
for the pipeline crossing."

The company constructing the pipeline, Dallas-based Energy Transfer 
Partners, had said it was unwilling to reroute the project. It and the 
Morton County Sheriff's Office, which has done much of the policing of 
the protests, didn't have immediate comment.

US Secretary for the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement that the 
Corps' "thoughtful approach ... ensures that there will be an in-depth 
evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at 
potential impacts" and "underscores that tribal rights reserved in 
treaties and federal law, as well as Nation-to-Nation consultation with 
tribal leaders, are essential components of the analysis to be 
undertaken in the environmental impact statement going forward."

The federal government has ordered people to leave the main encampment, 
which is on Army Corps of Engineers' land, by Monday. But demonstrators 
say they're prepared to stay, and authorities say they won't forcibly 
remove them.

Earlier Sunday, an organizer with Veterans Stand for Standing Rock said 
tribal elders had asked the military veterans not to have confrontations 
with law enforcement officials, adding the group is there to help out 
those who've dug in against the project.

About 250 veterans gathered about a mile from the Oceti Sakowin, or 
Seven Council Fires, camp in southern North Dakota for a meeting with 
organizer Wes Clark Jr., the son of former Democratic presidential 
candidate Gen. Wesley Clark. The group had said about 2,000 veterans 
were coming, but it wasn't clear how many actually arrived.

"We have been asked by the elders not to do direct action," Wes Clark 
Jr. said. He then talked about North Dakota authorities' decision to 
move away from a key bridge north of the encampment by 4 p.m. Sunday if 
demonstrators agree to certain conditions, saying the National Guard and 
law enforcement have armored vehicles and are armed.

"If we come forward, they will attack us," Clark said. Instead, he told 
the veterans, "If you see someone who needs help, help them out."

Authorities said they'll move from the north end of the Backwater Bridge 
if protesters stay south of it and come to the bridge only if there is a 
prearranged meeting. Authorities also asked protesters not to remove 
barriers on the bridge, which they have said was damaged in the late 
October conflict that led to several people being hurt, including a 
serious arm injury.

"The question was asked if we would consider pulling back from the 
Backwater Bridge," Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said in a Saturday 
news release after a conversation between law enforcement and the 
group's organizers, "and the answer is yes! We want this to de-escalate."

Protesters also are not supposed to walk, ride or fly drones north of 
the bridge, Laney said. Any violation will "will result in their 
arrest," the statement said.

The bridge blockade is something that Standing Rock Sioux tribal 
chairman Dave Archambault has been asking to be removed, the Bismarck 
Tribune reports , and something he said he would to talk to Gov. Jack 
Dalrymple about when they meet in person. A date for that meeting hasn't 
been set.

Veterans Stand for Standing Rock's page had raised more 
than $1 million of its $1.2 million goal by Sunday - money due to go 
toward food, transportation and supplies. Cars waiting to get into the 
camp Sunday afternoon were backed up for more than a half-mile.

"People are fighting for something, and I thought they could use my 
help," said Navy veteran and Harvard graduate student Art Grayson. The 
29-year-old from Cambridge, Massachusetts, flew the first leg of the 
journey, then rode from Bismarck in the back of a pickup truck. He 

[Biofuel] Feeding Cows Seaweed Could Substantially Reduce Greenhouse Gases

2016-12-04 Thread Darryl McMahon

[video in on-line article]

Feeding Cows Seaweed Could Substantially Reduce Greenhouse Gases

CP  |  By Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

Posted: 12/02/2016 11:49 am EST Updated: 12/02/2016 11:49 am EST

SEACOW POND, P.E.I. — A P.E.I. dairy farmer's attempt to save money on 
feed — he fed his cows seaweed from a nearby beach — has led to a 
discovery that could bring a substantial reduction in greenhouse gases 

A researcher found the seaweed reduced the methane in the cows' burps 
and farts, a key contributor to climate change.

"Considering that agriculture is one of the big contributors to the 
global greenhouse gas inventory, it's pretty huge,'' said agricultural 
scientist Rob Kinley.

More than 10 years ago, Joe Dorgan was a dairy farmer in Seacow Pond, 
near the northwestern tip of the province, with many of his cows grazing 
near the shore.

He decided to convert to an organic dairy farm and, as a way to save 
money, he started feeding seaweed to the cows as their source of 
minerals and vitamins.

"You live right on the beach here and our ancestors used seaweed for 
everything, for their animals, for their fertilizer, the whole thing,'' 
he said.

The seaweed is plentiful and washes up on the local beaches where it is 
gathered using rakes hauled by horses.

"This is 100 per cent natural. As the storms toss it ashore on the 
beach, we gather it, dry it, process it and feed it,'' he said.

Started selling seaweed product to other farmers

Dorgan said the seaweed-fed cows were healthier and produced more milk. 
That's when the light went on and he saw a business opportunity.

He sold his herd, and sought to get his seaweed product approved by the 
Canadian Food Inspection Agency for sale to other farmers.

Kinley, then at Dalhousie University's faculty of Agriculture in Truro, 
N.S., was asked to test the animal feed that Dorgan was producing.

Kinley discovered that the product reduced the methane in the cows' 
gaseous output by about 20 per cent.

He wondered if there might be other seaweeds around the world that might 
be even more effective at reducing the methane.

"That's when I started the global search that brought me to Australia 
looking for that super seaweed, and it didn't take long before I found 
it,'' he said in an interview from Townsville, Australia, where he works 
for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

"In the laboratory it was a bit of a shocker when I first found it 
because I thought the instruments weren't working properly because I 
couldn't find methane at all. It was reducing methane below the 
detection limits of the instruments we were using. I had never seen that 
before,'' he said.

Agriculture is one of the big contributors to the global greenhouse gas 
inventory — anywhere from 15 to 25 per cent.

The cows, sheep and other animals being served the feed still burp and 
fart — but it's almost methane free. (Kinley said 90 per cent of the 
methane actually comes from the burps, not the flatulence.)

Right now, there's not enough of the particular seaweed readily 
available to make it commercially viable, but Kinley said he's trying to 
convince some companies to get involved.

"What we need to do is find companies that already grow seaweed that are 
willing to change their ways. Once we can show them that it is 
economically viable and environmentally responsible to do so, that 
shouldn't be a problem,'' he said.

Yukon sledders feeding seaweed to dogs

Most farmed seaweed is now used for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and 
fertilizers. However, Kinley said growing seaweed for animal feed would 
become more attractive if a carbon value is attached to it.

Meanwhile Dorgan's company, North Atlantic Organics, is trying to keep 
up with demand for its products — shipping across Canada and the United 
States, and some overseas.

It's even being supplied to dog sledders in the Yukon, who feed it to 
their dogs, he said.

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[Biofuel] Can we contain oil spills? The answer is in the sheen - British Columbia - CBC News

2016-11-28 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links and images in on-line article]

Can we contain oil spills? The answer is in the sheen

Tugboat sinking off B.C.'s central coast last month serves as case study 
on spill response

By Chris Brown, Chris Corday, CBC News

Posted: Nov 28, 2016 4:08 PM PT Last Updated: Nov 28, 2016 4:08 PM PT

If the Trudeau government approves the expansion of Kinder Morgan's 
Trans Mountain pipeline, B.C.'s oil cleanup industry will be in line for 
the biggest infusion of cash in its history.

Kinder Morgan will be forced to fund the majority of a $200-million 
spill-response upgrade on the West Coast for new bases, equipment and 
150 staff.

Harder to quantify is how much confidence people should have that crews 
can actually remove oil from water if a major tanker spill occurs.

"It's clear that even the best available technology and most qualified 
personnel can't effectively contain or mitigate a spill," said Jess 
Housty, a Heiltsuk Nation council member in Bella Bella, B.C.

She's spent nearly the past two months helping co-ordinate the local 
response to the sinking of an American tugboat, the Nathan E. Stewart, 
off B.C.'s central coast.

"I shudder to think of the risk we'll face if we see an increase in 
shipping due to new or expanded pipelines," she said.

The Trudeau government is expected to announce as early as Tuesday the 
fate of three pipeline proposals, including Kinder Morgan's Trans 
Mountain expansion. The pipeline would follow an existing route from the 
Edmonton area and across B.C. to a terminus on Burrard Inlet in Metro 

It would triple Kinder Morgan's capacity to nearly 900,000 barrels per 
day. It would also increase the number of tankers through Burrard Inlet 
from one per week to one every day.

The National Energy Board previously approved the project with 157 
conditions, but the federal cabinet ordered a further review.

Fuel spill frustrates responders

The decision comes as damage from fuel spills is top of mind for many in 
B.C.'s coastal communities.

On Oct. 13, the Nathan E. Stewart ran aground and sank in the Seaforth 
Channel with 200,000 litres of diesel fuel on board.

Half of the diesel was removed without leaking into the ocean, but tens 
of thousands of litres escaped into the water and onto the beaches in 
the ecologically sensitive Great Bear Rainforest.

Containment booms were often unable to cope with the rough ocean 
conditions and broke, while skimmers and other mechanical efforts 
struggled to corral and recapture the fuel.

"100 per cent recovery is never possible," said Mike Lowry of the 
Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, or WCMRC, the 
industry-funded company with legislated responsibility to clean up all 
ocean spills in B.C.

But, he quickly adds, "...that doesn't mean a lesser recovery is somehow 
inadequate or a failed response."

Five to 15 per cent recovery rate?

The industry's success rate on spill cleanup is open to wide interpretation.

One of the most frequently cited statistics, repeated in a 2013 report 
for the federal government on spill readiness, is that even with optimal 
conditions, often only five to 15 per cent of spilled oil is ever 
recovered using booms and skimmers.

Lowry says the number is misleading.

"That's an average of offshore oil spills, you can't take that and apply 
it to all spills," he said, because spills in harbours or close to shore 
have far higher recovery rates.

Last year, for example, the grain carrier MV Marathassa released 2,800 
litres of bunker oil into Vancouver's English Bay.

With near optimal conditions for responders — calm seas and WCMRC's main 
base just minutes away — the cleanup company says it recovered 50 per 
cent of the fuel.

"You need to look at where the spill happens and the kind of product," 
Lowry said.

He says evaporation, chemical dispersants and even burning are all now 
scientifically accepted means of dealing with spills that don't involve 
physically recovering oil from the water.

Public expectations 'seldom satisfied'

Marine spill consultant Gerald Graham, who's testified at National 
Energy Board hearings on the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, says 
spill responders such as WCMRC have what amounts to a thankless task.

"It's about dealing with a crisis — perhaps even an environmental 
catastrophe — where the public's expectations will seldom ever be 
satisfied," he told CBC News.

WCMRC claims with the new capacity that would come with the Trans 
Mountain expansion, it would be able to respond to a worst-case spill — 
more than 10,000 tonnes — within a few hours anywhere on B.C.'s southern 
shipping lanes.

It says it would be capable of cleaning more than 3,000 metres of 
shoreline a day and skimming more than 840 tonnes of oil off the surface 
every hour.

Yet, experience from past spills indicates weather and location 

[Biofuel] Owner of Canadian medical journals publishes fake research for cash | Ottawa Citizen

2016-11-25 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Sigh.  From local news.]

Owner of Canadian medical journals publishes fake research for cash

Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen

Published on: November 22, 2016 | Last Updated: November 22, 2016 5:20 

The new owner of two prominent chains of Canadian medical journals is 
publishing fake research for cash, and pretending it is genuine.

OMICS International, based in Hyderabad, India, had a reputation as a 
“predatory publisher” when it bought Pulsus Group and Andrew John 
Publishing, two Canadian publishers of medical journals, earlier this 
year. Predatory journals print fake or incompetent studies to help 
unqualified academics pad their CVs and advance their careers.

OMICS has publicly insisted it will maintain high standards.

But now the company has published an unintelligible and heavily 
plagiarized piece of writing submitted by the Citizen to test its 
quality control.

The paper is online today in the Journal of Clinical Research and 
Bioethics — not one of the original Canadian journals, but now jointly 
owned with them. And it’s awful.

OMICS claims this paper passed peer review, and presents useful insights 
in philosophy, when clearly it is entirely fake.

And OMICS has also added dozens of new, low-quality online journals to 
the Pulsus group. There’s a fisheries journal with a spelling mistake in 
its title and mangled English throughout, and a cognitive psychology 
journal that says diaper weaning is important to toddlers and “Pleasant 
Attitude of a Teacher” helps students to learn.

“It’s a bloody mess,” said Suzanne Kettley, executive director of 
Canadian Science Publishing, an independent publisher in Ottawa.

She said it’s becoming almost impossible to know which medical journals 
are legitimate.

“Predatory publishers are appropriating journal names and editorial 
boards from reputable publishers, they are purchasing publishing houses, 
which leaves unsuspecting medical societies to then find legitimate 
publishing partners, and they continue to publish fake science authored 
by fake researchers that has undergone absolutely no review,” Kettley 
said in an email.

“It’s a problem for absolutely everyone involved in scholarly 
publishing, placing a significant drain on journals who now have to 
partake in legal battles, on researchers who now have to worry about 
being tricked by a predatory publisher through one of their many scams, 
and most of all, for individuals who trust that the science they are 
accessing has been properly vetted.”

She compares it to the explosion of fake news stories generated by 
political websites.

Predatory journals charge scientists hundreds or thousands of dollars to 
publish each paper. They have almost no expenses since they don’t print 
on paper and don’t edit anything, so once they post a PDF on a website 
the rest is all profit. They prey heavily on junior academics, 
especially in developing nations.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission charged OMICS in August with deceiving 
authors through hidden charges. It calls the company “scammers.”

The leading authority on predatory publishers, Jeffrey Beall at the 
University of Colorado, writes that OMICS “is on a buying spree, 
snatching up legitimate scholarly journals and publishers, incorporating 
them into its mega-fleet of bogus, exploitative, and low-quality 

He has now put Pulsus — formerly a respected group — on his list of 
journals to avoid. (Known simply as Beall’s List, it is the world’s 
best-known guide to fake and substandard academic publishing.)

Robert Kalina, the former publisher of Pulsus, writes on Beall’s website 
that this is unfair as only some of his journals were sold to OMICS. The 
rest went to other buyers, including Hindawi, which Beall also lists as 

The Citizen’s test submission to OMICS is mostly plagiarized from 
Aristotle, with every fourth or fifth word changed so that 
anti-plagiarism software won’t catch it.

But the result is meaningless. Some sentences don’t have verbs, and many 
of the new words don’t make sense — for instance, we changed Aristotle’s 
word “other” to “mother.” We scattered around a few modern words (such 
as geomorphological) but not in a way that means anything.

Beall emailed the Citizen to say: “Now you will receive invoices 
periodically for the rest of your life.

“PS: It takes a really good writer to be able to write such awful prose!”

He’s right about the awful prose. For example: “Everything that is done 
by reasons which ethicists now call ‘ketterance’ is not voluntary; it is 
only what produces aridity that is severe.” (Ketterance isn’t even a 
word. Aridity means dryness — no connection to ethics.)

And: “It is sill (sic) to make geomorphological circumstances 
responsible, and not one’s own, and to claim responsibility for proper 
acts but the also the good objects 

[Biofuel] Is climate change as bad as we thought? It's worse. |

2016-11-24 Thread Darryl McMahon

Is climate change as bad as we thought? It's worse.

By Ole Hendrickson

November 24, 2016

Dianne Saxe, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), has just 
released her 2016 climate report. Chapter 1 is a brilliant summary of 
the science behind climate change, with a focus on how it will impact 
Ontario. Saxe pulls no punches. Her report contains a graphic asking, 
"Is it as bad as we thought?" The answer: "It's worse."

For some time, there have been rumblings in the scientific community 
that politicians, the media and reports issued by the Intergovernmental 
Panel on Climate Change are understating the degree to which the Earth 
is in trouble from climate change.

This could be seen as "soft" denial: a desire to avoid causing alarm to 
the general public by downplaying evidence of accelerating global 
warming and climate disruption -- not to mention the increasingly dim 
prospects for reversing these trends. This "soft" denial is reinforced 
by the "hard" denial of far-right politicians and news outlets.

Many still hope that the global consensus and pledges for national 
action that emerged from last December's Paris climate summit can 
somehow "prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate 
system" (the stated goal of the UN Framework Convention on Climate 
Change). But even as president-elect Trump appoints his climate 
change-denying senior advisers, scientists report that runaway climate 
change is already happening.

Major news outlets are sounding the alarm

Mainstream media outlets are starting to share the news. The headline of 
a recent Washington Post article says "The North Pole is an insane 36 
degrees warmer than normal as winter descends." Scientists are stunned 
by the magnitude of this deviation from past climate norms, as warm air 
keeps flooding into the high Arctic. But don't be fooled into thinking 
this means a warm winter in Canada. Even as the Arctic Ocean stubbornly 
resists winter, extreme cold has prevailed over Siberia and could spread 
to North America. This represents an ever-more chaotic climate.

Another example is a must-read New Yorker article entitled "Greenland is 
melting," by Elizabeth Kolbert, winner of the 2015 non-fiction Pulitzer 
Prize for The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Kolbert describes 
in great detail what scientists working in Greenland are witnessing: 
"The shrinking of the country's ice sheet is triggering feedback loops 
that accelerate the global crisis. The floodgates may already be open."

Or consider this Weather Network headline: "Game over? Will global 
warming be even worse than we think?" The article cites a new study that 
says, "within the 21st century, global mean temperatures will very 
likely exceed maximum levels reconstructed for the last 784,000 years." 
This time period includes the last eight cycles of glacial advance and 
retreat. The authors predict a five-degree Celsius average global 
temperature increase by the end of this century, far beyond the 
two-degree Celsius danger threshold in the Paris climate agreement.

The new ECO report points out that "[g]reenhouse gases stay in the 
atmosphere for many years, building up a thicker and thicker carbon 
blanket." The Earth's oceans and land areas will take time to fully 
respond to the current 400 parts per million of atmospheric carbon 
dioxide. This is a level not experienced in at least the past 800,000 
years, and perhaps even 15 million years. Huge disruptions to the 
climate system are "locked in" and the worst is yet to come.

The worst-case scenario is apocalyptic

Evolution has prepared humans to react to and deal with an immediate, 
visible crisis, but not with a crisis that has a built-in lag period. We 
can choose to ignore the many warning signs of climate change -- melting 
glaciers and sea ice, violent storms, rising seas, unprecedented 
droughts and floods -- but the ultimate price we pay just keeps getting 
higher and higher.

How bad could it get? Scientists aren't talking about complete human 
extinction, are they?

Sorry, but they are indeed. This may be the first you've heard of 
"euxinia" (pronounced "yuke-zenia"), but basically, this involves a 
planet devoid of higher life forms that depend on oxygen, oceans choked 
with rotting organic matter and bacteria spewing out toxic hydrogen 
sulfide. This happened during past mass extinctions, notably the biggest 
of all at the end of the Permian Period, 252 million years ago.

One study published this year says "exacerbation of anoxic "dead" zones 
is already progressing in modern oceanic environments, and this is 
likely to increase…" Another study says "[g]lobal warming triggered by 
the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the 
release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic." Authors of the 
latter study add that "[t]he end Permian holds an important lesson for 

[Biofuel] Trump climate change adviser provides CBC with dubious sources |

2016-11-24 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Is anyone else fed up with the emerging meme from political power 
figures of 'you can't check my facts; they're MY facts, so you're 
wrong'?  And the odoriferous commitments to stop spewing fake news, only 
to see it continue within hours from multiple sources?

“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own 

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

A few years ago a friend of mine - while running for elected office - 
said (as close as I can remember):  We need evidence-based policy 
making, not ideology-based evidence making.  Today, even more than a few 
years ago in North America, we have more of the latter and less of the 
former.  How is it we are losing ground on this?]

Trump climate change adviser provides CBC with dubious sources

By Karl Nerenberg

November 24, 2016

On Wednesday, CBC Radio's Carol Off interviewed Donald Trump's climate 
change adviser, Robert Walker, former chair of the U.S. House of 
Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and she 
seems to have got under his skin.

Walker disputes the assertion that the vast majority of climate 
scientists believe the evidence of human-caused global warming.

Off quoted Walker as having said that only about half of scientists 
actually agree with climate change.

He responded that he was talking only about climatologists, not all 
scientists. If you take the climatologist group, alone, without other 
disciplines, including social sciences, Walker said, you will see that 
there is significant dissent from the so-called consensus.

However, when asked to provide a source for that assertion, the Trump 
adviser could not, and made a vague reference to something he had read, 

After the interview, Walker sent Carol Off's program, As It Happens, an 
e-mail, in which he cited three sources: an organization called Open 
Source Systems, Science and Solutions; another called the National 
Association of Scholars; and something he called the Center for Climate 

To start with the last group, Walker said it had showed that of 4,000 
research abstracts on global warming only one per cent attributed it 
exclusively to human causes.

The Center Walker cited may exist. If so, it does not seem to have any 
online presence.

There is a Centre for Climate Research in Singapore, an institute with a 
similar name at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and a Center 
for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin. All publish 
research that confirms rather than negates the scientific consensus on 
global warming. None have done the analysis of abstracts that Walker quotes.

Nor is it possible, through standard search methods, to find any 
article, by anybody, anywhere, that makes Walker's claim. There are, on 
the other hand, numerous scientific articles which analyze the research 
literature on climate change and draw conclusions entirely at odds with 
the figure Walker quotes.

In 2015, the U.S. interdisciplinary scientific organization, the Center 
for Skeptical Inquiry, published a paper by geologist James Lawrence 
Powell which asserted that it is not 97 per cent of scientist who agree 
on human caused global warming; it is rather 99 per cent.

An Australian study published by the British-based Institute of Physics 
reached a similar conclusion.

Walker said the National Association of  Scholars has reported that 40 
per cent of "scientists with a specialty with regard to climate do not 
ascribe to human caused global warming."

The National Association is not, in fact, a scientific organization, 
but, rather, a conservative group dedicated to advancing a libertarian 
and conservative philosophy in research and higher education.

Even so, one can search their online offerings assiduously and find none 
that make anything resembling the claim Walker attributes to them.

On its website the National Association says about climate change: "We 
take no position on whether global warming is real, man-made, or 
dangerous. The National Association of Scholars is not a body of climate 
scientists, and we leave these questions to those with the relevant 

They then go on to say: "The studies that claim 97 per cent of climate 
scientists believe in dangerous anthropogenic global warming have 
largely been discredited. The 97 per cent figure was achieved by 
misleading questions and miscategorizing answers."

However, contrary to Walker, they do not complain that the consensus 
figure would be lower if one included only climatologists. To the 
contrary, they say quite the opposite, to wit: "The term 'climate 
scientists' is itself mischievous -- a way of writing out scientists who 
are experts in related fields, such as physics and geology, who disagree 
with the consensus model."

As for the entity known as Open Source Systems, Science and Solutions, 

[Biofuel] 14 Pacific ​​Island Nations Negotiate World's First Climate Treaty to Ban Fossil Fuels - EcoWatch

2016-11-24 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

14 Pacific ​​Island Nations Negotiate World's First Climate Treaty to 
Ban Fossil Fuels

Lorraine Chow

July 14, 2016

As coastal erosion and sea level rise eats away the Solomon Islands due 
to climate change, the Pacific island nations are considering the 
world's first international treaty that would ban or phase out fossil 
fuels and set goals for renewables.

	The "Pacific Climate Treaty" is currently under consideration after the 
fourth annual Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) held in the 
Solomon Islands this week.

During the two-day summit, 14 presidents, prime ministers and 
ambassadors from the island countries and territories discussed 
solutions to the Pacific's development challenges.

“[Leaders] seemed convinced that this is an avenue where the Pacific 
could again show or build on the moral and political leadership that 
they've shown earlier in their efforts to tackle climate change," 
Mahendra Kumar, climate change advisor to PIDF, told the Guardian.

The treaty is being utilized as a way to implement the aspirational 1.5 
degrees Celsius target set by the Paris COP21 climate talks in the 
Pacific region, according to the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network 
(PICAN), a coalition of NGOs that wrote the treaty.

The proposed treaty will be studied and a report will be presented at 
the 2017 summit.

"Expressing positive reviews to our proposal, the Leaders agreed to 
'note the content of the draft Pacific Climate Treaty and approve that 
further consultations be undertaken, with a report back at the 5th PIDF 
Leaders Summit next year' for possible adoption," PICAN wrote on its 
Facebook page. "This is a major accomplishment for our PICAN team 
working in partnership with our Government Leaders to lead the 
sustainable development agenda of the region."

Kumar said the treaty could be ratified in 2018.

The PIDF was created in 2013 by Fiji. This year's summit excluded 
Australia and New Zealand, which were part of earlier talks. At last 
year's talks, Australia and New Zealand were criticized by their smaller 
and developing island neighbors for having less ambitious climate change 
targets and for not doing more to combat climate change.

 Many low-lying nations are under threat as oceans continue to rise. 
Scientists predict that Kiribati—a remote Island Republic in the Central 
Pacific—could be lost to rising sea levels in the next 50 years.

Tony de Brum, the Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, said last 
year that "anything over two degrees ... [and] we go under water."

The Philippines is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather, with the 
nation suffering violent storms like Typhoon Haiyan. Tropical storms 
have struck the nation more often and more severely, scientists believe, 
because of climate change. The Global Climate Risk Index 2015 listed the 
Philippines as the number one most affected country by climate change, 
using 2013's data.

 “Pacific island leaders are among the most proactive in the world on 
global warming because their countries are bearing the brunt of climate 
changes ... Their willingness to consider a Pacific climate treaty shows 
much-needed leadership on the world's most pressing environmental 
challenge," Joeteshna Gurdayal Zenos, acting head of Pacfic Net, which 
is Greenpeace Australia Pacific's climate justice project, told the 

PICAN said in a report presenting the Pacific Climate Treaty that the 
potential treaty parties "already possess the political courage and 
commitment needed to adopt a flagship legal instrument that is 
sufficiently ambitious to prevent catastrophic changes in the global 
climate system."

“Such a treaty, when implemented in collaboration with PIDF and civil 
society, would send a powerful signal to markets, governments and civil 
society around the world that the end of fossil fuels is near, with 
Pacific Islanders acting not as victims of climate change but as agents 
of change," it said. “As there is currently no treaty that bans or 
phases out fossil fuels, the Treaty would set a pioneering example to 
the rest of the world."

The treaty includes sections on climate-related migration and 
adaptation. It would also set up a fund to compensate for communities 
that have suffered from climate change.

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’ | Environment | The Guardian

2016-11-23 Thread Darryl McMahon

[A lesson learned from the Stephen Harper playbook:  if the evidence is 
inconvenient, stop collecting it.  Then, destroy what was collected 
previously (or 'revise' it.  1984

links and images in on-line article]

 Oliver Milman in New York

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the 
president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep 
space exploration

Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research 
conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his 
senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor 
of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal 
during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the 

This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into 
temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of 
satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the 
Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2bn next year. By 
comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a 
proposed budget of $2.8bn in 2017.

Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for 
Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct 
environmental monitoring”.

“We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker 
told the Guardian. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other 
agencies where it is their prime mission.

“My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing Nasa 
programs but future programs should definitely be placed with other 
agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary but it has been 
heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that 
researchers have been doing. Mr Trump’s decisions will be based upon 
solid science, not politicized science.”

Trump has previously said that climate change is a “hoax” perpetrated by 
the Chinese, although on Tuesday he said there is “some connectivity” 
between human actions and the climate. There is overwhelming and 
long-established evidence that burning fossil fuels and deforestation 
causes the release of heat-trapping gases, therefore causing the warming 
experienced in recent decades.

Walker, however, claimed that doubt over the role of human activity in 
climate change “is a view shared by half the climatologists in the 
world. We need good science to tell us what the reality is and science 
could do that if politicians didn’t interfere with it.”

It’s understood that federal government scientists have been unnerved by 
Trump’s dismissal of climate science and are concerned that their work 
will be sidelined as part of a new pro-fossil fuels and deregulation 
agenda. Climate scientists at other organizations expressed dismay at 
the potential gutting of Earth-based research.

Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric 
Research, said as Nasa provides the scientific community with new 
instruments and techniques, the elimination of Earth sciences would be 
“a major setback if not devastating”.

“It could put us back into the ‘dark ages’ of almost the pre-satellite 
era,” he said. “It would be extremely short sighted.

“We live on planet Earth and there is much to discover, and it is 
essential to track and monitor many things from space. Information on 
planet Earth and its atmosphere and oceans is essential for our way of 
life. Space research is a luxury, Earth observations are essential.”

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, said Nasa 
has a “critical and unique role” in observing Earth and climate change.

“Without the support of Nasa, not only the US but the entire world would 
be taking a hard hit when it comes to understanding the behavior of our 
climate and the threats posed by human-caused climate change,” he said.

“It would be a blatantly political move, and would indicate the 
president-elect’s willingness to pander to the very same lobbyists and 
corporate interest groups he derided throughout the campaign.”

Nasa has appointed two officials, Tom Cremins and Jolene Meidinger, to 
lead the transition to the new Trump administration. However, the 
president-elect’s team has yet to formally review the space agency.

“The Nasa community is committed to doing whatever we can to assist in 
making the executive branch transition a smooth one,” a Nasa spokesman 
said. “The agency remains focused on the future, a future that will 
improve our understanding of our changing home planet from Nasa’s unique 
platforms in space.”


[Biofuel] Tesla, SolarCity Power Entire Island With Solar + Batteries

2016-11-23 Thread Darryl McMahon

[video, links and images in on-line article]

Nov. 22, 2016 01:40PM EST

Tesla, SolarCity Power Entire Island With Solar + Batteries

Lorraine Chow

Ta'u, an island in American Samoa, has turned its nose at fossil fuels 
and is now almost 100 percent powered with solar panels and batteries 
thanks to technology from the newly combined Tesla and SolarCity.

 The microgrid is operated by American Samoa Power Authority and was 
funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior.

Radio New Zealand reported that the $8 million project will 
significantly reduce fuel costs for the island, which is located more 
than 4,000 miles from the west coast of the U.S. Ta'u's 600 residents 
previously relied on shipments of diesel for power. At times, a shipment 
could not arrive on the island for months, meaning the island had to 
power ration and faced reoccurring outages.

But the new microgrid replaces this reliance on dirty fuels with more 
affordable solar energy, as Peter Rive, SolarCity co-founder and CTO, 
detailed in a blog post about the project, adding that the microgrid is 
designed to optimize system performance and maximize savings.

 "Factoring in the escalating cost of fuel, along with transporting 
such mass quantities to the small island, the financial impact is 
substantial," Rive wrote. He pointed out that the microgrid also 
eliminates "the hazards of power intermittency" and makes "outages a 
thing of the past."

The microgrid, which only took one year to build, features 1.4 megawatts 
of solar generation capacity (or 5,328 solar panels) and 6 megawatt 
hours of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks. An estimated 109,500 
gallons of diesel will be offset per year.

"Before today, every time we turned on the light, turn on the 
television, turn on maybe the air conditioner, all of the cash registers 
in China, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia go 'cha-ching,' but not after today," 
SolarCity market development director Jon Yoshimura told Radio New 
Zealand. "We will keep more of that money here, where it belongs."

 With the Powerpacks, the island can store solar energy at night, 
allowing for around-the-clock use. The microgrid allows the island to 
stay fully powered for three days without sunlight and can recharge to 
full capacity in only seven hours.

A hospital, high school and elementary schools, fire and police stations 
and businesses will be using the new clean energy source.

"It's always sunny out here, and harvesting that energy from the sun 
will make me sleep a lot more comfortably at night, just knowing I'll be 
able to serve my customers," local resident and business owner Keith 
Ahsoon told SolarCity.

"This is part of making history," Ahsoon added. "This project will help 
lessen the carbon footprint of the world. Living on an island, you 
experience global warming firsthand. Beach erosions and other noticeable 
changes are a part of life here. It's a serious problem, and this 
project will hopefully set a good example for everyone else to follow."

Ta'u could be an example for other islands around the globe facing 
similar problems.

"Ta'u is not a postcard from the future, it's a snapshot of what is 
possible right now," Rive wrote. "Renewable power is an economical, 
practical solution for a growing number of locations and energy needs, 
and islands that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels can easily 
transition to microgrids powered by solar and storage today."

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Beyond Nuclear - Home - Earthquakes rattle Japan’s plan to restart more nuclear reactors

2016-11-22 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Earthquakes rattle Japan’s plan to restart more nuclear reactors

The Shinzo Abe government’s plan to restart nuclear power in Japan was 
shaken to its core with a 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck on 
November 21, 2016 (the date here in the U.S.) just off the coast of the 
destroyed Fukushima Daiichi atomic reactors. Fukushima Daiichi is also 
the site of a huge radioactive waste tank farm that continues to expand 
from an on-again off-again radioactive cooling water  treatment system 
for the three still unrecovered melted reactor cores. Little is 
presently known about how the hastily built tank farm has fared during 
the earthquake.

The four-unit Fukushima Daini nuclear power complex just seven miles 
south of Fukushima Daiichi temporarily lost cooling to Daini’s Unit 3 
spent fuel pool raising concerns for the overheating of high-level 
nuclear waste configured as 2400 used fuel rods being stored underwater. 
Fukushima Daini remains shutdown and barred from power operations along 
with 38 operable units in Japan following the March 11, 2011 8.9M 
earthquake and catastrophic tsunami. Only two of the nation’s nuclear 
reactors have successfully returned to power operations amid intense 
public and political opposition that continues to grow.

Tuesday morning’s 7.4M earthquake struck around 6 am (JST) 31 miles off 
the east coast. The large earthquake set off coastal tsunami warnings 
for several hours, eventually measuring up to a sea level rise of 55 
inches. A second 5.5M earthquake struck shortly after with its epicenter 
on land just 7 miles from Fukushima Daini with another tsunami warning. 
Aftershocks continue to jolt the area with officials concerned that 
another major quake can be expected within the week.

During times of natural disaster and national security threats, nuclear 
power is more a dangerous societal liability than an asset. All of the 
reactors’ safety systems and their nuclear waste cooling systems are 
100% reliant upon offsite electrical grid power during normal 
operations. If the electric grid is disturbed by disaster or sabotage, 
nuclear power plants automatically shut down and emergency electrical 
power systems kick in to service a subset of priority reactor safety and 
cooling systems. If those systems fail or are disabled, nuclear power 
stations typically have 4 to 8 hours of back-up battery power to prevent 
a meltdown. Cooling capability to thousands of tons of high-level 
nuclear waste (irradiated fuel rods) initially rely upon the same 
off-site electrical power. Since the 9/11 World Trade Center aircraft 
attacks and the 3/11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, reactor spent fuel 
pools with high-density storage of nuclear waste are being equipped with 
make-up water systems should a loss of power threaten to boil off the 
water filled pools. Each pool containing up to 700 to 1000 tons of 
thermally hot and highly radioactive nuclear waste can overheat, boil 
off  and catch fire without cooling.

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Public consultation on Bill C-51 looks like an elaborate PR stunt |

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

Public consultation on Bill C-51 looks like an elaborate PR stunt

By Kyle Curlew

November 20, 2016

National security surveillance in Canada is an absolute mess. Bill C-51 
is just the most recent manifestation of its problematic elements. 
Without measures to hold the RCMP, CSE and CSIS accountable to the 
public, they end up conducting surveillance in dangerous, and sometimes 
illegal, ways that target vulnerable groups and threaten our Charter rights.

The Liberal party is holding strong to a rhetoric of amendments and have 
implemented a public consultation process that is fronted by a guiding 
document titled the Green Papers. This document has been criticized for 
being a public relations stunt to sell unfettered surveillance powers 
for our national security agencies.

Micheal Vonn, Policy Director at the British Columbia Civil Liberties 
Association (BCCLA) has been critical of the Liberal government's 
national security consultation process. In a recent email conversation, 
Vonn informed me that the government's five city tour to hold Town Hall 
meetings were poorly advertised and not sufficiently attended.

And it's uncertain how exactly they will go about reading the data and 
integrating the results with expert advice from legal scholars and 
policy analysts. Vonn notes, "The overall sense is that there is so much 
to try to address that the exercise ends up being about everything and 

Though this process is inherently a good thing, it allows for democratic 
participation in some of the most cryptic and opaque arms of the state, 
it may just be a public relations stunt. After all, the Liberal party 
has been known for their fluffy and photo savvy PR events. There is a 
real risk that such practices will accomplish little, while making folks 
feel like a lot has been done. Besides, the Liberal government are not 
held accountable to the fruits of the public consultation. We can't even 
be certain if any of this data will actually be used to inform real 
policy decisions.

There is also the potential global influence from other governments in 
the Five Eyes surveillance alliance. The British government has just 
passed through a series of terrifying surveillance laws called the 
Investigatory Powers Act. And recent U.S. election is about to give the 
surveillance military complex of the U.S. to a man who has been 
routinely criticized as a white supremacist. Considering the tone of the 
Green Papers, our government is in danger of escalating the surveillance 
state and may be encouraged by international pressure and the "War on 
Terror" to ignore public calls for meaningful amendments.

In a talk Edward Snowden gave at Queen's University last November he 
spoke to the Bill C-51 and the dangerous powers it would bring the 
government. Snowden told the packed room, "terrorism is often the public 
justification, but it's not the actual motivation" for the bill. He 
continued to say that if you strip the bill of the word "terrorism", you 
can see the extent to which the bill makes fundamental changes that 
affect civil rights. "The true danger of mass surveillance is not just 
being powerless -- it's the fact that it means perfect protection of the 
law. "

"Any political effort can be smothered." Surveillance bills only serve 
to dismantle our ability to challenge the state. Snowden continued, 
"Once the precedent is set it's very difficult to take away." The longer 
we draw out the process of addressing the Anti-terrorism Act, the more 
it becomes entrenched in both the culture of national security policing 
and the public imagination. The longer we wait, the more unlikely it is 
that we will be able to change it.

The recent leaks of Project Sitka, a collaborative intelligence project 
that explicitly targeted Indigenous activists and groups, is a key 
example of why we need to act. The consultation process is likely to 
lead a mess of data that won't amount to any reasonable action. And the 
liberal amendments are unlikely to critically engage with the 
"problematic elements" of the Anti-terrorism Act (2015).

By all means, we need to fill out the online public consultation -- but 
we can't stop there.

Our national security apparatus needs to be scrapped and rebuilt. It is 
no good to bandage an already broken piece of legislation. The system 
was unaccountable and corrupt before Bill C-51 was introduced, and it 
will be the same after the amendments are complete. We need to repeal 
the Anti-terrorism Act.

However, this is not on the Liberal party bucket list. What is needed is 
a collaboration between critical legal scholars and activists to 
participate in direct action, rallies, and political lobbying. We must 
act now before we provide our police force with enough unfettered power 
to dodge our privacy and human rights permanently.

[The above is part 3 

[Biofuel] Police Unleash Water Cannons, Concussion Grenades and Rubber Bullets in Standing Rock

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Police Unleash Water Cannons, Concussion Grenades and Rubber Bullets in 
Standing Rock

Monday, 21 November 2016 00:00

By Four Arrows, Truthout | News Analysis

Roughly 400 peaceful Water Protectors gathered on a bridge on Highway 
1806 near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota last 
night. They gathered in below-freezing weather, doing what they have 
been doing all along: praying, singing and asking for the authorities to 
open the bridge to enable those opposing the Dakota Access pipeline 
(DAPL) to reach the nearby town of Mandan for supplies.

In response, police from three states and National Guard troops -- 
likely emboldened by the results of the presidential election (Trump is 
heavily invested in Energy Transfer Partners) -- responded in full riot 
gear: The police terrorized the Water Protectors, who were weaponless, 
as usual, with water cannons, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, tear 
gas and a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) -- sound cannons that cause 
severe headaches and loss of balance.

According to Water Protectors at the site, and as documented in videos 
taken last night, the militia aimed their bullets at people's heads and 
legs, and volumes of water were randomly aimed at everyone. The tear gas 
was so bad it caused one woman to vomit and wet her pants. She was 
attempting to get blankets to the front line. One person took a 
90-minute video of all this. It continually refers to the peacefulness 
of the Water Protectors in spite of their being literally trapped by the 
attacks from the police.

Censored News, a website run by activist Brenda Norrell, also has 
footage of an interview of one of my fellow EMT/medics, Leland 
Brendholt, along with more details about the 167 Water Protectors 
injured. Brendholt confirmed that injuries to the head and legs 
indicated that the militia was targeting these parts of the body. Seven 
people were hospitalized for severe head injuries, and the Cannon Ball 
community gymnasium was opened for treating hypothermia and other 
serious injuries.

Keep in mind that six days ago the Army Corps of Engineers ordered a 
cessation of construction, since DAPL's next action involves drilling 
under Lake Oahe. However, the corporation essentially rejected the order 
and has filed in court. It submitted a declaration that it has the legal 
right of way to complete the pipeline without further action from the 
Army Corps. And as I reported previously, construction work continues 
unabated regardless of the law. As has been the case throughout history, 
our tax dollars are paying for police and national militia to stand 
against the people instead of against corporations that are acting 
illegally and immorally against the people. Although many people and 
organizations are standing in solidarity with this particular movement, 
last night's actions call for many more to do so.

Distorted Accounts From Mainstream Media

The events of last night are being woefully distorted by the mainstream 
media. For example, a report from KPLR-TV's channel 11, which originates 
in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, states untruthfully:

Protesters were attempting to cross the Backwater Bridge and go 
north on Highway 1806, according to the Morton County Sheriff, who 
described Sunday's events as an "ongoing riot." … Protesters set fire to 
two trucks and several parts of the bridge, police said. On Sunday 
night, police released a statement saying that the protesters "attempted 
to flank and attack the law enforcement line from the west," describing 
their actions as "very aggressive."

This misleading report might be the first mention that many in range of 
St. Louis airwaves hear about the mobilization against the Dakota Access 
pipeline (DAPL) in Standing Rock, unfortunately. I drove to St. Louis 
from Standing Rock several days ago to visit my uncle. Along the way I 
asked numerous folks if they had heard about what is happening in 
Standing Rock. Most did not know what I was talking about, even when I 
added a mention of "pipeline protests." Now, what they do know will be 
untrue. Sadly, this misinformation is not just what US-based, 
Trump-supporting audiences will hear; the same quote from a Morton 
County spokesperson was used to describe last night's terrorism by the 
Daily Mail, a British daily conservative tabloid newspaper.

The truth about what happened in Standing Rock yesterday is that the 
"two trucks" mentioned in the news report belonged to Dakota Access LLC, 
the pipeline company owned by Energy Transfer Partners. On October 27, 
Dakota Access LLC moved the two trucks on the south side of Backwater 
Bridge on Highway 1806 during a peaceful Indigenous-led water protection 
action held there. While the police lobbed smoke bombs, the two trucks 
were torched. No one knows 

[Biofuel] ‘Things are getting weird in the polar regions’ - The Washington Post

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[If you think climate stability is a good thing, you may find this 
article unsettling.

links and images in on-line article]

‘Things are getting weird in the polar regions’

By Chris Mooney

November 21 at 8:31 AM

As extraordinarily warm temperatures continue in the Arctic — 
temperatures tens of degrees Fahrenheit above normal for this time of 
year in some locations — Arctic sea ice, a key indicator of the overall 
state of this system, seems to be responding in kind.

It is kind of unbelievable: On Nov. 19, the extent of Arctic sea ice was 
nearly 1 million square kilometers lower (8.633 million vs 9.504 
million) than it was on that date during the prior record low year of 
2012, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. On 
Nov. 20, the gap widened further, with 8.625 million square kilometers 
in 2016 versus 9.632 million in 2012.

This is happening in a time of year when ice is supposed to be spreading 
across the polar ocean — yet instead, it is flat or even declining a 
little lately.

“I think that it’s fair to say that the very slow ice growth is a 
response to the extreme warmth (still ongoing as of today),” said Mark 
Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, 
Colorado, by email on Sunday. “Over the past few days, extent has 
actually decreased in the Arctic, and while I don’t think that such a 
short term decline is unprecedented for this time of year,  it is highly 
unusual, for November is a month when we normally see a quite rapid ice 

It may be time for a refresher on why this matters and why it is so 
consistent with climate change research going back many decades. The 
fear (and it’s not just a fear any longer, really) is that there is 
something called a “feedback” in the Arctic climate system.

As the climate warms, there should be less sea ice covering the Arctic 
ocean – and indeed, we’ve seen great declines. But as sea ice falls, the 
darker ocean should also absorb more energy from sunlight in the summer, 
energy that the lighter colored ice would have reflected away. This 
heat, contained in the ocean, would also prevent sea ice formation.

Recent trends in the Arctic seem heavily consistent with this idea.

And as if the Arctic data isn’t enough, at the very same time, ice 
around Antarctica is also pushing surprising new lows:

Antarctic sea ice extent on Nov. 19 also represented a record low for 
this time of year, based on the center’s data. The dataset in question 
goes back to the year 1979.

“Why Antarctic extent is also very low right now is something we are 
still puzzling over,” said Serreze. “However, there’s really no 
connection between the extreme mutual anomalies in the two hemispheres 
that we are aware of. We have to wait and see what happens. Having said 
this, things are getting weird in the polar regions.”

The Antarctic decline is particularly bewildering because just a few 
years ago, the debate was instead over why floating Antarctic sea ice 
was pushing record highs, not record lows — and why this was happening 
even as the continent’s glaciers were losing considerable mass. Despite 
a major lack of clarity about what this phenomena meant, many climate 
change doubters seized on the Antarctic sea ice behavior as a key reason 
for pushing their contrary message. Now, that argument seems to be 
vanishing for them.

While scientists are still trying to understand all aspects of the 
Antarctic sea ice system, one intriguing study published earlier this 
year linked a recent sea ice expansion in the region to behavior in the 
tropical Pacific ocean. It focused specifically on a cycle in the 
climate system called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation or IPO, that 
was also connected to a global warming “pause” or slowdown in the 
mid-2000s. However, that tropical Pacific pattern has since shifted — 
which may be contributing to sea ice losses around the Antarctic.

Gerald Meehl, the lead author of that study and a climate scientist at 
the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told me in an email in 
late October that a pattern of lower Antarctic sea ice is “what you’d 
expect in an El Nino, as well as transition to positive IPO, so trend 
for next 5-10 years should be negative, with year-to-year variations.” 
That comment came at a time when the Antarctic ice was low, but not yet 
at record low levels, as it is now.

We don’t know all the causes of what’s currently happening in either the 
Arctic or Antarctic. It’s certainly possible that the lows we’re seeing 
now are an extreme, perhaps tied to the aftermath of the powerful 
2015-2016 El Nino, and conditions will soon push more back towards the 
range of what’s normal as that event continues to fade. It’s important 
to remember that the data presented above are a snapshot in time, and 

[Biofuel] Nuclear Power Is Not "Green Energy": It Is a Fount of Atomic Waste

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images in on-line article]

Nuclear Power Is Not "Green Energy": It Is a Fount of Atomic Waste

Monday, 14 November 2016 00:00

By Arnie Gundersen, Truthout | News Analysis

Starting in 1971, I became a card-carrying member of the "nuclear 
priesthood." I began as a licensed nuclear reactor operator and 
progressed through the industry to become a senior vice president. I 
believed, with religious fervor, that by helping to build and operate 
atomic power reactors, I would be creating power that was "too cheap to 
meter." The historic 1973 gasoline shortages and long lines of cars 
queued at the pumps made it clear to me and hundreds of other nuclear 
engineers that nuclear power was the only solution to the "energy 
shortage." In the 1970s and '80s, solving this apparent energy shortage 
was our only mantra. At that time, there was no scientific data 
connecting fossil fuels to climate change.

In 1953, President Eisenhower initiated his "Atoms for Peace" program as 
a means to transform the atom from a scourge into a benefit for mankind 
and created grand illusions of at least 1,000 US atomic plants by the 
year 2005. However, well before the 1979 disaster at Three Mile Island, 
nuclear construction costs were skyrocketing and construction schedules 
were constantly slipping. The overzealous goal of 1,000 US atomic power 
reactors dwindled to about 110 finally completed reactors, while more 
than 120 others that had been on the drawing boards were canceled before 
producing a single watt of power.

By 1985, Eisenhower's dream of reclaiming the power of the atom for 
peaceful purposes had unraveled and had become a nightmare. Electric 
rates continued to skyrocket and ratepayers were left picking up the 
pieces from Atoms for Peace.

Of the more than 230 attempts to construct atomic power reactors in the 
United States during the 20th century, only 99 reactors are still 
operating. Globally, a total of 438 atomic power reactors were still 
operating in 2015, according to the World Nuclear Association.

During the 20th century, the lights stayed on and the prediction of a 
dire energy shortage never materialized. Nuclear power's claims that it 
would be an economic nirvana "too cheap to meter" collapsed as well. 
Entering the 21st century, renewables began to appear more feasible, so 
the atomic power industry latched on to NASA's James Hansen's 1988 
prognosis of the global buildup in CO2 resulting in global climate 
change as a new justification for existence. Armed with this new 
marketing ploy, nuclear power lobbyists flooded Capitol Hill looking for 
financing to fund the 21st century "nuclear renaissance."

Does the nuclear industry's latest claim that it is the world's 
salvation from increasing levels of CO2 hold up under scrutiny? No. The 
evidence clearly shows that building new nuclear power plants will make 
global warming worse.

A Growing Carbon Footprint

Before we look at the data, two concepts are important to clarify. 
First, burning a fossil fuel like coal or oil emits CO2. The amount of 
CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year is massive, measured in 
gigatons. A single gigaton is one thousand million tons of CO2 gas. The 
second concept is "ppm," or parts per million. As all this CO2 is dumped 
into the atmosphere, it is diluted by air. The concentration of CO2 
atoms in air is measured in parts (molecules) of CO2 divided by one 
million air molecules, hence parts per million. In preindustrial times, 
normal background levels of global CO2 levels were around 280 ppm.

When the first large commercial nuclear power plant went on line, global 
emissions of CO2 were about 16 gigatons in 1970 and the concentration of 
CO2 in the air was about 320 ppm. Hansen and claim that the 
world's CO2 levels must stay below 350 ppm to avoid catastrophic climate 
change, a level that was exceeded late in the 1980s. By 2015, well after 
more than 438 heavily subsidized atomic power plants were constructed 
worldwide, global emissions from burning fossil fuels have reached 36 
gigatons. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has already exceeded 
400 ppm and is increasing by about 2 ppm yearly.

Nuclear power lobbyists and their marketing firms want us to believe 
that humankind's current CO2 atmospheric releases would have been much 
worse were it not for those 438 power plants now operating. How much 
worse? The World Nuclear Association industry trade group estimates that 
an additional 1.1 gigatons of CO2 would have been created in 2015 if 
natural gas plants supplied the electricity instead of those 438 nukes. 
Worldwide, all those nuclear power plants made only a 3 percent dent in 
yearly CO2 production.Put another way, each of the 438 individual 
nuclear plants contribute less than seven thousandths of one percent to 
CO2 reduction. That's hardly enough to justify claims 

[Biofuel] Cost to scrap Fukushima nuclear plant massively underestimated, Japanese officials admit | South China Morning Post

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Cost to scrap Fukushima nuclear plant massively underestimated, Japanese 
officials admit

A revised figure expected by the end of the year could be more than 
double the current price tag

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 11:13pm

The cost of cleaning up Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi 
nuclear plant may rise to several billion dollars a year, from less than 
US$800 million now, Japan’s industry ministry said on Tuesday.

The increased cost projections appeared in ministry documents prepared 
for a panel tasked with devising a viable financial plan for the utility 
company known as Tepco, which is struggling to cope with rising costs at 
its Fukushima plant nearly six years after the world’s worst nuclear 
disaster since Chernobyl.

Japan’s Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, 
told reporters after the panel meeting, its second, that the government 
will provide a firmer estimate for annual decommissioning costs for the 
nuclear plant by the end of the year,

Surging decommissioning costs are being addressed by the panel but it is 
also looking into options including a break up of Tepco, which is under 
state control after an earthquake and tsunami sparked meltdowns at the 
Fukushima reactors in March 2011.

“A combination among nuclear operators is one possibility,” Yojiro 
Hatakeyama, a director at the industry ministry overseeing the 
electricity and gas industries, told reporters.

He did not elaborate on the government’s estimate for annual 
decommissioning costs after repeated questioning from reporters.

Experts say any move to merge atomic operations is likely to meet strong 
resistance from Japan’s other nuclear operators.

Japan has 10 nuclear operators and all have been hit by the political 
fallout from the disaster, which has undermined public faith in atomic 
energy. All but two of Japan’s 42 reactors are in shutdown mode.

Tepco shares were up 1 per cent by 0509 GMT, while the general market 
and other operators also gained.

The briefing material for the panel said the clean-up may require 
several hundred billion yen, or several billion US dollars, of funds 
every year, compared with 80 billion yen (US$766 million) now.

And these estimates are likely to surge when the company and the 
government decide how to extract melted uranium fuel debris at the plant 
in 2018 or 2019, a person with direct knowledge of discussions on 
restructuring Tepco said earlier this month.

The meltdowns of three reactors released radiation over a wide area, 
contaminating water, food and air, and forcing more than 160,000 people 
to evacuate.

Dismantling the reactors is expected to take about 40 years, but Tepco 
is still struggling to contain radioactive water from the plant and has 
said it can’t predict the eventual total costs of the clean-up and 

Tepco wants the government to consider introducing rules to avoid having 
to book a single huge exceptional loss as soon as cost estimates for 
decommissioning become clearer, a person familiar with the situation 
said earlier.

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[Biofuel] 'Nuclear Industry in France in Crisis, ' 20 Reactors Shut Down

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Nov. 09, 2016 11:16AM EST

'Nuclear Industry in France in Crisis,' 20 Reactors Shut Down

By Paul Brown

A third of France's nuclear reactors have been shut down by industry 
regulators as revelations emerge about the supply of sub-standard parts.

As investigations into falsified documents and excess quantities of 
carbon in steel continue, more closures are expected. This is not yet a 
full-blown crisis for the nuclear industry, but it is putting serious 
strain on the finances of French nuclear giant EDF and causing 
electricity price rises across western Europe.

It is also very bad news for the climate. France is reopening mothballed 
coal plants and burning more coal than it has for 32 years. Neighbors, 
including Germany, which normally takes cheap nuclear power from the 
French, are also powering up old fossil fuel plants and exporting the 
electricity to France at premium prices.

Japan's Nuclear Scandal

France is not the only country affected by the scandal. A Japanese 
company, the Japan Casting & Forging Corporation, has also allegedly 
been involved in falsifying quality control documents for parts supplied 
to reactors both at home and in France.

The Japanese nuclear safety organization is now investigating, but so 
far no plants in Japan have been ordered to close, partly because most 
of them have in any case remained shut since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

This is a drama that has been unfolding slowly for months. But as more 
forged documents and potentially faulty parts have come to light, the 
French regulator ASN has begun insisting on shutdowns and inspections to 
ensure plants are safe.

One problem is that there is too much carbon in the steel components and 
containment vessels, which will make them brittle. The carbon content is 
well above specified safety limits, leading to fears that there could be 
catastrophic failures in plants currently operating.

The second, related, problem is forged, falsified or incomplete quality 
control reports about the components themselves. Areva, the troubled 
French state-owned nuclear component manufacturer, is reviewing all 
9,000 manufacturing records from its giant forge at Le Creusot dating 
back as far as 1943. This includes 6,000 parts made for nuclear 
reactors—some of them outside France.

The anomalies were first discovered in 2014 at the plant being built at 
Flamanville in northern France. Excess carbon was found in the plant's 
pressure vessel. This has caused considerable further cost and even 
longer delays to the completion of the flagship reactor. It has still 
not been cleared as safe and a final decision will not be taken until 
next year.

It was the investigations into how this potentially disastrous flaw got 
through the safety vetting process that led to the discovery in May this 
year of 400 other sub-standard parts and a mass of falsified quality 
control documentation. Many of the parts are inside nuclear plants 
currently operating.

According to Power magazine, an ASN press relations officer, who 
requested anonymity in line with ASN rules, said more nuclear power 
plants with suspect parts will be inspected in the next few weeks. "We 
are now finding carbon segregation problems from components coming from 
both Le Creusot and Japan Casting & Forging. As for now, there are 20 
EDF reactors offline," the official said.

And the Japan Times reported that Japan Casting & Forging Corporation is 
now also under scrutiny by the country's Nuclear Regulation Authority 
because it supplied French plants. With most of Japan's nuclear fleet 
closed since Fukushima, there are moves to reopen some reactors.

Urgent Testing

Shaun Burnie, nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany, said: "The 
nuclear industry in France is now in crisis as a result of the carbon 
test results, with 11 reactors supplied by Japanese steel ordered shut 
down and under investigation by the regulator."

"No such testing has been done in Japan … until actual testing is 
conducted, the NRA and more importantly the communities living near 
nuclear reactors, will not know what risks the nuclear plants pose," 
Burnie added.

"The NRA must instruct utilities in Japan to undertake testing as a 
matter of urgency." He said the priorities are the Sendai-2 and Ikata-3 
reactors, the only plants operating.

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[Biofuel] UK investment in renewables will decline by 96% by 2021

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Meanwhile, UK subsidies for fossil fuels are locked in until at least 
2020 and likely longer, and are actually being increased, with 
foreign-owned companies - including Russian companies - as the primary 
beneficiaries to the tune of tens of billions of pounds.

Graph of UK clean energy investment by year in on-line article is 

UK investment in renewables will decline by 96% by 2021


Investment in renewables in the UK is likely to decrease by 96% by 2020/21.

Total investment in domestic energy efficiency reduced from £1.5 billion 
to £0.7 billion in 2015 and the number of energy efficiency measures 
installed in homes dropped by 80% in the same period. That’s because of 
existing energy policies, according to ecological groups. In a report, 
six groups comprising Green Alliance, RSPB, WWF and Greenpeace are 
requesting new investment in low carbon projects in the government’s 
next Autumn Statement. The organisations also inform that plans to 
construct a third runway at Heathrow Airport will lock the UK into high 
carbon development. The groups suggest that the government should assign 
an additional £2 billion funding to back low carbon electricity post 
2020 and funding to scale up low carbon heat technologies. They also 
recommend to continue to sustain people in acquiring ultra-low emission 
vehicles beyond 2018 and expand a national network of publicly 
accessible low carbon charging points. They believe if the government 
backs clean technologies, the renewables industry might attract £47 
billion in new investment from 2021 to 2026 and retrofitting the UK’s 
housing stock to increase its energy efficiency could unlock £73 billion 
and sustain 86,000 jobs a year. Moreover, new investment in skills and 
infrastructure for EV and independent vehicles could benefit the nation 
with £51 billion a year and 320,000 new jobs by 2030. According to the 
IEA, countries across the globe require to make an investment of an 
extra $23 trillion (£19.8tn) in energy efficiency.

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[Biofuel] Canada: Saskatchewan aims 200MW of wind energy

2016-11-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[This story is of interest primarily because Saskatchewan has been the 
staunchest defender of coal-fired generation in Canada, and has wasted 
many millions of taxpayer dollars building an industrial capacity carbon 
capture system with the chief objective of subsidizing the oil industry 
with CO2 gas for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).  The total capacity of 
coal-fired generation in Saskatchewan is 1.43 GW.  This wind energy 
initiative could displace about 1/7th of current coal-fired capacity; 
the Shand power station has a maximum net capacity of 276 MW, only 
slightly more than the proposed wind initiative.  This would roughly 
double the wind power capacity in the province.  The neighbouring 
province of Manitoba is seeking export markets for its hydropower.]

Canada: Saskatchewan aims 200MW of wind energy


The Canadian province of Saskatchewan estimates to issue a call for 
approximately 200MW of wind energy at the beginning of 2017.

Provincial utility SaskPower intends to first release a demand for 
qualification by the end of this year. The province is on course to 
raise its renewable power supply to around 50% by 2030 with wind 
electricity contributing 30% of total energy supply. Five wind farms 
with total capacity of 221MW supply approximately 5% of the province's 
energy presently. The province also targets to add solar power and is 
seeking the potential for hydro projects, hydro imports from other 
provinces, and biomass and geothermal power schemes.

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[Biofuel] Bulletin 2016-22: Operational Advisory - Leak Detection - Bulletin-2016-22.pdf

2016-11-20 Thread Darryl McMahon

Alberta Energy Regulator:  Media Release

[Note:  this comes from the government regulator for the Alberta oil 
industry; historically a cheerleader for the industry.  "On average, it 
took 48 days to respond to and isolate the pipelines for these eight 

Bulletin 2016-22

July 14, 2016

Operational Advisory: Leak Detection

This bulletin highlights the importance of developing and maintaining an 
effective leak detection program for multiphase (oil well effluent) and 
produced water pipelines. The focus is on these two types of

pipelines since

• multiphase pipelines present a monitoring challenge due to constantly 
fluctuating pressures and flow, as well as the line-

fill characteristics; and
• produced water pipelines can have a significant impact on the 
environment if there is a release due to the high pressures and volumes 
common to these systems, making early leak detection critical.


The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has investigated a total of 23 
pipeline releases since its inception on June 17, 2013. For eight of 
these releases, improper leak detection was identified as a significant
contributing factor.  The pipelines that failed in these cases were 
mainly transporting oil well effluent or produced water. The 
investigations concluded that company personnel responsible for leak 
detection were not sufficiently trained or simply failed to recognize 
that a leak was occurring until several days after the leak had started. 
On average, it took 48 days to respond to and isolate the pipelines for 
these eight releases.

Operator Training

The AER requires operating companies to ensure that all personnel 
responsible for leak detection are properly trained in leak detection.
Training and competency testing of employees (both new and experienced) 
are vital, along with retesting and ongoing evaluation.

Further  Information

Pipeline leak detection, training, and monitoring requirements are set 
out in the Pipeline Rules, Canadian Standards Association CSA Z662-
15: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems, and AER Directive 077: 
Pipelines—Requirements and Reference Tools. AER Manual 005: Pipeline 
Inspections is a resource used by AER field operations staff in 
determining compliance with the requirements.

For any questions about this bulletin, contact AER Industry Relations at

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[Biofuel] Third time’s a charm? Three recent spills a sad lesson on pipeline and tanker safety - Environmental Defence

2016-11-20 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images and links in on-line article]

Third time’s a charm? Three recent spills a sad lesson on pipeline and 
tanker safety

Oct 28 2016

Patrick DeRochie

Program Manager, Climate & Energy

Three major fuel spills – that’s the alarming record of the last three 
months. The pipeline spills in Alberta and Saskatchewan and a diesel 
spill off British Columbia’s central coast defy Big Oil’s claims that 
tankers plying our coasts and pipelines crossing our land and water are 
safe. They only confirm that the federal government must reject the 
risky Energy East pipeline.

A look at recent headlines is certainly disheartening. A diesel spill in 
the Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella, B.C. two weeks ago has become an 
environmental disaster. An Alberta oil company admits it had no idea how 
long one of its pipelines was leaking. And July’s oil spill in 
Saskatchewan has now cost at least $90 million to “clean up”. One would 
expect humility from the oil industry in the face of these disasters. 
Instead, the industry insists that oil can be transported safely and 
cleaned up as if nothing happened.

Case in point: supporters of Kinder Morgan’s massive Trans Mountain 
Expansion pipeline proposal keep talking about safety and “world-class 
spill response” – both on land and water. The devastating Bella Bella 
spill shows that this is nothing but a cruel joke.

On October 13th, a diesel spill occurred in the coastal heart of the 
Great Bear Rainforest when a fuel barge ran aground near Bella Bella, 
B.C. Fortunately, the fuel barge was empty, but the tug boat powering it 
leaked a still-unknown volume of diesel into the ocean. The spill isn’t 
just devastating for wildlife, but also polluted traditional harvesting 
areas for the Heiltsuk First Nation. The Heiltsuk, who depend on the 
area for clams, herring and salmon, called the accident an environmental 
disaster that has compromised their winter food supply.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark made “world-class marine oil spill response” 
one of five conditions required for the province to accept Kinder 
Morgan’s pipeline expansion. But it took a corporate spill response team 
over 20 hours to arrive from Prince Rupert at the scene of the Bella 
Bella spill.

When help did arrive, a vessel tasked with clean-up took on water itself 
and had to be rescued. Then, spill booms around the diesel failed, 
compromising the containment of the spill. The disaster has demonstrated 
that government and industry are utterly unable to provide “world-class” 
spill response along Canada’s coast. It doesn’t bode well for the 
prospect of massively increased tanker traffic in the Salish Sea and the 
Bay of Fundy if Trans Mountain or Energy East go ahead.

But what about on-land spill response? Unfortunately, the recent Husky 
and Trilogy pipeline spills paint a grim picture. In July, a Husky 
Energy pipeline spilled up to 250,000 litres of heavy crude oil and 
diluent, polluting a 500 km stretch of the North Saskatchewan River 
system. The spill killed birds, fish and other animals, polluted the 
drinking water supplies of 70,000 people and forced a First Nation to 
declare a state of emergency. Three months later, Husky Energy still 
hasn’t concluded what caused the spill, amidst allegations that the 
company is lying about how much oil was leaked and how much was cleaned up.

As if the Saskatchewan spill wasn’t enough, a pipeline failed in 
Alberta, too. On October 6th, Trilogy Energy discovered a leak of a 
crude oil and water mix 15 km from the community of Fox Creek. Covering 
over three hectares of marshland, the spill is estimated to have 
released 250,000 litres of oil and water. The company still has no idea 
how long the defective pipeline had been leaking. This is not a one-off 
incident—a  July report from the province’s energy watchdog said it 
takes Alberta companies an average of 48 days to respond to and isolate 
leaking pipelines.

These spills should be enough to give our elected leaders pause when 
considering approval of massive new tar sands pipelines like Energy East 
and Kinder Morgan. Energy East would ship 1.1 million barrels per day 
4,600 km across nearly 3,000 lakes, rivers and streams. It would then 
load the crude onto export tankers, increasing tanker traffic in the Bay 
of Fundy and down the Atlantic coast by 300 to 500 per cent. Kinder 
Morgan would virtually triple the capacity of tar sands oil flowing to 
Canada’s Pacific Coast, increasing tanker traffic in the Vancouver 
Harbour seven-fold.

The oil industry and federal government insist it’s possible to “get our 
resources to market responsibly”. But these claims ring hollower with 
every spill that pollutes our land, oceans, rivers and communities.

You can help stop risky pipeline and tanker projects. Take a minute and 
tell the federal government to reject the Energy East 

[Biofuel] Americas First All-Renewable-Energy City

2016-11-19 Thread Darryl McMahon

America’s First All-Renewable-Energy City

By Colin Woodard/Nov 16, 2016

Burlington's decades-long commitment to sustainability has paid off with 
cheap electricity—and some pretty great homegrown food.

To understand what makes Burlington unlike almost any other city in 
America when it comes to the power it consumes, it helps to look inside 
the train that rolls into town every day. The 24 freight cars that pull 
up to the city’s power plant aren’t packed with Appalachian coal or 
Canadian fuel oil but wood. Each day 1,800 tons of pine and timber 
slash, sustainably harvested within a 60-mile radius and ground into 
wood chips, is fed into the roaring furnaces of the McNeil Generating 
Station, pumping out nearly half of the city’s electricity needs.

Much of the rest of what Burlington’s 42,000 citizens need to keep the 
lights on comes from a combination of hydroelectric power drawn from a 
plant it built a half mile up the Winooski River, four wind turbines on 
nearby Georgia Mountain and a massive array of solar panels at the 
airport. Together these sources helped secure Burlington the distinction 
of being the country’s first city that draws 100 percent of its power 
from renewable sources. The net energy costs are cheap enough that the 
city has not had to raise electric rates for its customers in eight 
years. And Burlington is not done in its quest for energy conservation. 
Add in the city’s plan for an expansive bike path, a growing network of 
electric vehicle charging stations and an ambitious plan to pipe the 
McNeil station’s waste heat to warm downtown buildings and City Hall’s 
goal to be a net zero consumer of energy within 10 years starts looking 

The environmental sustainability revolution has spread to other sectors 
of civic life. Outside the gates, farmers, community gardeners and 
food-minded social workers tend fields and plots spread out over 300 
acres of once-neglected floodplain just two miles from the city’s 
center. Together the agricultural enterprises in the valley—working land 
controlled by a non-profit that partners with the city—grow $1.3 million 
in food each year, much of it sold at a massive, member-owned 
cooperative supermarket, its own origins traced back to City Hall.

How did this former logging port on the shore of Lake Champlain 
transform itself over the past 40 years from a torpid manufacturing town 
in the far corner of a backwater state to a global trendsetter in 
sustainable development and green power? The answer carries particular 
resonance at a time when the United States’ commitment to environmental 
issues and addressing climate change is suddenly less certain than at 
any time in a decade. Cities like Burlington, the largest city in a 
state whose tourism and agriculture dependent economy is vulnerable to 
climate change, have had to craft their own solutions to address global 
warming and to insulate themselves from the vagaries of global energy 
markets. In Burlington, however, these solutions were not spearheaded by 
civic or corporate leaders, as is now often the case when cities tackle 
urban issues. Instead, Burlington is achieving its energy independence 
almost entirely through initiatives developed by its municipal 
government—a government that has been decidedly left-leaning for 
decades. In fact, one of the people most responsible for setting in 
motion the chain of policies and programs that now distinguish 
Burlington was a ground-breaking social democratic mayor with unruly 
hair, a thick Brooklyn accent and a message that would many years later 
carry him deep into the 2016 presidential campaign.

“There’s nothing magical about Burlington,” says Taylor Ricketts of the 
University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics. “We 
don’t have a gift from nature of ample sun or mighty winds or powerful 
rivers, so if we can do it, so can others.”


Founded by the raucous revolutionary bad boy Ethan Allen and his 
brothers in the 1770s, Burlington grew from village to city in the 
mid-19th century on the strength of the timber trade. The forests of 
Quebec, the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks were close at hand by 
lake and river, the markets of Montreal and New York City were reachable 
by canals and the St. Lawrence river. By 1870, the Burlington waterfront 
was a tangle of lumberyards, warehouses and furniture factories. Dams 
and woolen mills were popping up along the fast moving Winooski River, 
attracting waves of immigrants, first from Ireland and later Quebec. 
Early 20th century Burlington was a working class city of 25,000 with a 
college on the hill, the future University of Vermont.

But by the middle of the 20th century Burlington’s growth had plateaued. 
That’s when an ad campaign that branded the state as “the Beckoning 
Country” of unspoiled natural and civic beauty 

[Biofuel] Requiring noisy electric cars vs. real problem of digital deadwalkers

2016-11-15 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Forwarding from another discussion list. Context:

Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2016 11:49:03 -0800 (PST)

Subject: [EVDL] Digital Deadwalkers : $52M/yr alert-sound adds noise
pollution& not-a-solution


TT sez >It is the pedestrian blinded by electronics technology that we 
need to concern ourselves with!<

AAOS calls these Digital Deadwalkers:

[video ]

Digital Deadwalkers

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons  Jan 12, 2015

"Dude. Engage!"

The AAOS public service campaign "Digital Deadwalkers" encourages
pedestrians to engage in and with their surroundings.Distracted driving 
can cause crashes, injuries and death. It's a prevalent public issue 
that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) continues to 
champion. But what about distracted walking? What are the consequences 
of pedestrians talking on the phone, texting, listening to music, 
engaging deeply in conversation with the person next to them, or

focusing on anything or anyone other than the task of getting where they
need to go?

Distracted "deadwalkers" are causing an epidemic of fractures and other
orthopaedic injuries. Danger lurks at every corner of our cities and 
towns, but what if pedestrians are the ones posing the threats to 
themselves and others? Today, more and more pedestrians fall down 
stairs, trip over curbs or other objects, and in many instances, step 
into traffic, causing serious injury, and even death, each year.

"We know that the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones 
has nearly tripled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60% of 
pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking," said Alan 
Hilibrand, MD, chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet. "Orthopaedic 
surgeons?the medical doctors who specialize in bones, muscles and 
joints?focus on keeping bones strong so that we can keep our nation in 
motion. In 2009, AAOS launched the "Decide to Drive" campaign to educate 
children, teens and adults about the dangers of distracted driving. For 
2015, the Academy is now expanding its

message to include the dangers of distracted walking."

In my life and in my area (Silicon Valley, CA) there are far more
distracted people (that are not physically blind) that do incredibly 
dumb things as they have disconnected themselves from the real world 
(its like the mobile devices are a tech-drug of a distracted lifestyle)

To some, this is now common. For others, this seems unbelievable. And it
isn't just teens

Children to Tweens (age 6 - 12) are also affected:

There is a whole new way to pacify your kid by throwing a cheap mobile 
tech device at them (see links below).

Children and tweens that (if they survive) will grow up to be distracted

My point in posting this is that the Million$ being spent are not going 
to resolve what the advocates for the blind say is the issue (they are 
pushing hard on a door marked pull).

The quiet from electrified vehicles made noisy will not resolve the
tech-addicted brain-distracted children, tweens, teens and adults that 
will do dumb disconnected things (like walk without looking> right in 
front of a moving vehicle).

Loud or quiet, there are a whole lot more chances to hit the distracted
walking than a blind person carrying a white cane.

I am not saying something should not be done to help the blind. But 
throwing $52M at it in this way which does not totally resolve the 
problem is not a fix.
IMO I think there has to be other ways to alert the blind of coming 
moving vehicles. Possibly on an individual blind person point of 
approach. Perhaps their white cane would have beeping tech that would 
alert the blind of approaching vehicles, etc.

Links  [dated]
Walking while texting could get you arrested, if a NJ law is passed
March 28, 2016
Distracted Walking: Your Phone and Intersections Don't Mix
January 14, 2016  "Digital deadwalkers" are tripping and falling down stairs
The dangers of walking and talking: Pedestrian mobile phone injuries 
DOUBLE in five years 20 June 2013  Around 1,500 pedestrians 

[Biofuel] Electric vehicle study suggests plug-in batteries better than hydrogen fuel cells | E Magazine

2016-11-15 Thread Darryl McMahon

{I beg to quibble with the statement that the Stanford / Munich study is 
the first to compare the 2 types of vehicles, and the required 
infrastructure.  See The Emperor's New Hydrogen Economy published 2006.]

Electric vehicle study suggests plug-in batteries better than hydrogen 
fuel cells

By Tereza Pultarova

Published Monday, November 14, 2016

Plug-in electric vehicles with batteries present a better option for 
eliminating fossil fuel consumption than hydrogen fuel cell-powered 
cars, a study has revealed.

The study by researchers from Stanford University, USA, and the 
Technical University of Munich, Germany, was the first to compare the 
two types of electric vehicles including to include analysis of required 
infrastructure as well hydrogen and electricity generation.

The study envisioned a situation 20 or 30 years from now when the 
technology is widespread and more affordable than it is today.

“We looked at how large-scale adoption of electric vehicles would affect 
total energy use in a community, for buildings as well as 
transportation,” said Markus Felgenhauer, a doctoral candidate at TUM 
and former visiting scholar at the Stanford Global Climate and Energy 
Project (GCEP), who led the study published in the journal Energy.

“We found that investing in all-electric battery vehicles is a more 
economical choice for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, primarily due 
to their lower cost and significantly higher energy efficiency.”

While both plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars directly emit 
zero greenhouse gas emissions, the overall carbon footprint of their 
operations depends on the way the fuel, hydrogen or electricity, has 
been obtained.

Currently, plug-in vehicles are frequently charged using electricity 
coming from fossil-fuels. Similarly, the most common way to obtain 
hydrogen is currently through processing natural gas.

In future, however, as the cost of renewable power drops to the level of 
fossil-fuel based electricity, electric vehicles would become almost 
perfectly clean. The same goes for hydrogen fuel cell cars if the 
hydrogen is produced through the process of electrolysis using spare 
renewable electricity.

The major factor differentiating between the two technologies will thus 
be the cost of the technology itself together with the cost of the 
required infrastructure.

In the study, the researchers envisioned the town of Los Altos Hills in 
2035. The affluent Californian community of 8,000 is already known for 
the popularity of solar power generation among local residents.

The researchers envisioned that in 20 years, the community could be 
producing all its hydrogen through electrolysis using spare solar power. 
This hydrogen could then be used to warm up houses or produce 
electricity in return when the sun doesn’t shine.

“We provided data on the amount of energy Los Altos Hills needs 
throughout the day, as well as financial data on the cost of building 
new energy infrastructures,” said study co-author Matthew Pellow, a 
former GCEP postdoctoral scholar now with the Electric Power Research 

“We included the cost of making solar panels, electrolysers, batteries 
and everything else. Then we told the model, given our scenario for 
2035, tell us the most economical way to meet the total energy demand of 
the community.”

To compare each scenario’s costs to its climate benefits, the 
researchers also calculated the carbon dioxide emissions produced in 
each case.

The calculation revealed that betting on plug-in electric vehicles would 
be the most cost-effective way to achieve the required emission elimination.

“The analysis showed that to be cost competitive, fuel cell vehicles 
would have to be priced much lower than battery vehicles,” said 
Felgenhauer. “However, fuel cell vehicles are likely to be significantly 
more expensive than battery vehicles for the foreseeable future. Another 
supposed benefit of hydrogen – storing surplus solar energy – didn’t pan 
out in our analysis either. We found that in 2035, only a small amount 
of solar hydrogen storage would be used for heating and lighting buildings.”

They researchers hope to analyse larger networks of communities in 
future studies and examine other factors that could influence consumers’ 
choices when deciding whether to buy a battery or fuel cell car.

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[Biofuel] EnergyMarketPrice | News details

2016-11-10 Thread Darryl McMahon

Vattenfall to build the largest offshore wind farm in the Nordics


Vattenfall has won a tender to build Danish Kriegers Flak, a 600 MW 
offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea, with a record low bid of EUR 49.9 
per MWh, bringing down the costs for renewable energy.

Kriegers Flak is set to be the largest offshore wind farm in the Nordics 
and could supply electricity to 600, 000 Danish households upon 
completion, corresponding to 23 percent of all households in Denmark. 
The wind farm is part of Denmark’s Parliament decision to shift from 
non-renewable or fossil fuels to a completely renewable resources 
dependent country by 2050. As part of the agreement, it decided to build 
three major offshore wind farms. The wind farms include Horns Rev 3, 
Danish Near Shore and Kriegers Flak. Vattenfall has won the development 
tenders for all the three wind farms. Vattenfall’s investment in 
Kriegers Flak wind farm will be EUR 1.1 – 1.3 billion, pending a final 
investment decision.

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[Biofuel] Bank Funding Pipeline Will Look Into Violations of Standing Rock Sioux's Rights

2016-11-09 Thread Darryl McMahon

[If you don't already know Food & Water Watch, you should look into what 
they do.

links in on-line article]

Bank Funding Pipeline Will Look Into Violations of Standing Rock Sioux's 

Wednesday, 09 November 2016 00:00

By Tracy Loeffelholz Dunn, YES! Magazine | Report

One of the major banks funding the Dakota Access and Bakken pipeline 
announced it may withhold its support over concerns for the treatment of 
the Standing Rock Sioux.

The bank, DNB, is Norway's largest bank. It announced that it is now 
conducting its own "objective and fact-based" evaluation of how the 
Standing Rock Sioux's rights are being treated. "If our initiative does 
not provide us with the necessary comfort," announced Harald 
Serck-Hanssen, group executive vice president and head of Large 
Corporates and International in DNB, "DNB will evaluate its further 
participation in the financing of the project."

DNB is one of a handful of banks out of a total 38 that has offered 
funding to all Energy Transfer entities, including direct loans to 
Dakota Access. Research shows that DNB bank loaned $120 million to the 
Bakken pipeline project and extended $460 million in credit lines to a 
handful of companies with ownership stakes, specifically Energy Transfer 
Partners, Sunoco Logistics, Phillips 66, and Marathon.

"It's a testament to public pressure, and the strength of the native 
narrative, that the Norwegian bank is admitting to questioning its own 
involvement," said Hugh MacMillan, the Food & Water Watch researcher who 
investigated and made public the names of the 38 banks funding the 
Bakken pipeline.

"We expect that Citigroup, Wells Fargo, TD Bank, Credit Suisse, and 
others are also uneasy. It's important to know that Dakota Access is 
just the tip of the iceberg for many of these banks, when it comes to 
sinking billions on maximizing US production of oil and gas, in spite of 
climate science," MacMillan said.

The statement from DNB, released Nov. 6, said: "DNB is concerned about 
how the situation surrounding the oil pipeline in North Dakota has 
developed. The bank will therefore use its position as lender to the 
project to encourage a more constructive process to find solutions."

"We expect the companies and the responsible authorities to take a 
serious view of the situation," it said.

The bank's announcement comes nearly two months after an investigation 
by Food & Water Watch made public the 38 banks backing the controversial 
Dakota Access/Bakken pipeline. In the weeks following, YES! Magazine 
published the names and contact information of each bank's CEO. 
Hundreds of thousands of people shared the article on Facebook, and it 
was reprinted widely in other media outlets, creating an organized phone 
and email campaign to protest the banks' involvement. Around the nation, 
direct action campaigns at bank branches and headquarters have ranged 
from picketing to civil disobedience ending with arrests.

Banks reported being inundated with phone calls. Several CEO email 
addresses have been changed.

The Standing Rock controversy recently intensified as nearly 4,000 
people have gathered in North Dakota to help the Standing Rock Sioux 
protect the area from pipeline construction. The pipeline is nearing the 
stage at which it would pass under the Missouri River, a drinking water 
supply for 18 million people.

Two weeks ago, as pipeline construction deadlines neared, the county 
sheriff organized militarized police from seven different states to 
confront the people there. The violence against unarmed protesters and 
the destruction of the camp on Oct. 27 has been replayed on Facebook 
feeds and network news ever since, intensifying public opposition.

The Bakken pipeline includes the 1,170-mile Dakota Access pipeline plus 
a 700-mile pipeline from the end of the Dakota Access, in Illinois, to 
refineries and export facilities in Texas.

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[Biofuel] Uncovered: Fossil Fuel Industry Has Back-Door Access to UN Climate Talks

2016-11-08 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Uncovered: Fossil Fuel Industry Has Back-Door Access to UN Climate Talks

Tuesday, 08 November 2016 00:00

By Jesse Bragg, AlterNet | Report

As countries descend on Marrakech for the negotiations of the UN 
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a new infographic by 
Corporate Accountability International reveals the true extent of the 
fossil fuel industry's access to, and influence over, the talks.

The analysis exposes the financial and membership ties between some of 
the world's largest fossil fuel corporations and accredited business 
groups and trade associations at the UNFCCC. These ties present an 
irreconcilable conflict of interest and bolster a movement among 
governments and civil society groups to develop a policy within the 
UNFCCC to protect from such conflicts.

"What interests -- beyond slowing progress -- does a corporation like 
ExxonMobil or Shell have in these talks?" said Tamar Lawrence-Samuel of 
Corporate Accountability International. "The answer is 'none.' Before we 
can ensure the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, we must 
first make sure that Big Oil and those representing its interests are 
not at the table."

As the brief outlines, the World Coal Association, an accredited 
observer to the UNFCCC, represents the interests of some of the world's 
largest coal corporations like Peabody Energy, BHP Billiton and Rio 
Tinto. And, trade associations like the Business Council of Australia 
and BusinessEurope count as their members the likes of ExxonMobil, BP, 
and Royal Dutch Shell -- some of the world's largest oil and gas 

Many of these accredited observers have also aggressively lobbied at the 
national and regional levels to undermine environmental and renewable 
energy policies, further calling into question their role in the UNFCCC. 
BusinessEurope, for example, has consistently sought to undermine 
climate policy, including EU emissions trading schemes and renewables 

The Paris Agreement calls for a new and unprecedented level of private 
sector participation while providing no protections against corporations 
or trade groups that might seek to steer negotiations toward their (or 
their members') commercial interests. At intersessional negotiations of 
the UNFCCC in May, parties representing almost 70% of the world's 
population called for the UNFCCC to study other international bodies' 
policies in order to form its own policy to identify and address 
conflicts of interests that may arise between those interests and the 
environmental objectives of the Paris Agreement and the convention itself.

One such example with the UN system is the World Health Organization's 
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which recognizes the 
conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health. The 
FCTC, which came into force in 2005, has been rapidly implemented around 
the world thanks to its approach to conflicts of interest and industry 
influence. The FCTC and UNFCCC have already convened for their 
respective conferences of parties.

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[Biofuel] State Gave Biofuel Company Millions for Unbuilt Plant [Michigan Capitol Confidential]

2016-11-08 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

State Gave Biofuel Company Millions for Unbuilt Plant

Taxpayers absorb losses, Ivy League professors reap windfall

By Tom Gantert | Nov. 8, 2016

A renewable energy company founded by a pair of Ivy League professors 
took millions in state and federal dollars to deliver a biofuel plant in 
the Upper Peninsula that was never built. The company’s intellectual 
property rights were then sold for an undisclosed sum to a private 
Canadian company.

Back in 2008, New Hampshire’s Mascoma Corporation was pegged by 
then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm as the type of company that was going to 
reinvent Michigan’s economy. President Barack Obama even mentioned the 
company by name in a 2008 speech.

But instead, the company burned through its government subsidies before 
its intellectual property was sold to private companies.

Mascoma Corporation raised $96 million in private financing and was 
awarded as much as $120 million in state and federal funding to produce 
a biofuel plant that would take wood and turn it into fuel. After years 
of delays, the plant planned for Kinross Township in Chippewa County in 
the Upper Peninsula was never built. The state of Michigan said just 
$6.4 million of the $20 million it gave the company was recovered. The 
U.S. Department of Energy would only say that not all of the money it 
gave Mascoma was lost. When asked for specifics of the federal grants, 
the department said it wouldn’t release that information until it was 
requested in a Freedom of Information Act request.

“It really is outrageous,” said Rachel Smolker, co-director of 
Biofuelwatch, a watchdog organization that covers bioenergy. “The whole 
thing kind of stinks.”

University professors Lee Lynd and Charles Wyman, who co-founded Mascoma 
in 2005, didn’t respond to emails seeking comment. Lynd is a professor 
at Dartmouth College and Wyman is a professor at the University of 
California-Riverside. Wyman formerly worked at Dartmouth.

Mascoma Corporation was founded in summer 2005 at a time when gas prices 
were just starting what would be an unprecedented meteoric rise. For the 
first time in U.S. history, gas prices averaged more than $2 a gallon in 
that year.

In 2008, it was approved for millions in government grants and subsidies 
to build a biodiesel plant in the Upper Peninsula. Media stories in 2008 
and 2009 trumpeted the plant as a beginning to diversify Michigan's jobs 
while curing the country's addiction to oil.

According to an investigation of Mascoma by Biofuelwatch, Mascoma’s 
government grants were awarded to build a commercial-scale cellulosic 
ethanol refinery.

“Mascoma announced and then abandoned a series of such plants in 
Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan and Alberta, but nonetheless spent grant 
funding that had been earmarked for them,” Biofuelwatch’s 2016 report 

Biofuelwatch claimed that Dartmouth Professor Lee Lynd used his contacts 
at the college as well as his position with the BioEnergy Science Center 
to make it easier to land federal grants for Mascoma. Lynd currently is 
listed on the management team of the BioEnergy Science Center, which is 
funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, which also gave money to Mascoma.

Biofuelwatch also claimed that the state of Michigan didn’t do its due 
diligence in researching the company before awarding its $20 million 

Almuth Ernsting, co-director of Biofuelwatch, pointed to the timeline of 
the start of Mascoma’s biomass-to-ethanol pilot plant in Rome, New York, 
and when Michigan awarded $20 million to Mascoma to start the Michigan 

Mascoma opened its pilot plant in New York in June 2008. Just three 
months later, the state of Michigan had already approved its $20 million 

“The purpose of a demonstration (pilot) plant, as the name says, is to 
demonstrate that a technology works (though laboratory-stage and pilot 
plant-scale demonstrations often precede even that stage),” Ernsting 
said in an email. “Granting public funds for commercially scaling up the 
use a technology that has not actually been demonstrated seems highly 

Emily Guerrant, spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Development 
Corporation, said the $20 million grant was used to “promote the 
development, acceleration and sustainability of energy excellence 
sectors in Michigan.”

“This wasn’t a traditional business development grant and wasn’t meant 
to be a job-creating initiative,” Guerrant said in an email. “Rather, 
the program was intended to be an innovative approach to growing 
companies that engaged in renewable energy technologies and 
implications. Specifically, Mascoma was developing cellulosic fuel 
production facility that used non-food biomass to convert woodchips into 

The plant was pitched to the media as a jobs producer by Granholm, however.

In fact, Granholm touted Mascoma’s ability to be a job-creator in a 2008 

[Biofuel] Wealthy Florida businessmen sentenced to 10-plus years in prison for biofuel scam

2016-11-08 Thread Darryl McMahon

Wealthy Florida businessmen sentenced to 10-plus years in prison for 
biofuel scam

Brett Murphy

9:22 p.m. EST November 7, 2016

A federal judge sentenced two Florida men to 10-plus years in prison for 
their part in a $46 million scheme that defrauded government agencies 
and the renewable energy industry in 2013 and 2014.

Federal Court Judge Sheri Polster Chappell sentenced Estero resident 
Thomas Davanzo and Naples-area resident Robert Fedyna on Monday after 
both had pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire fraud in June.

Part of their plea included cooperating in turning over their assets 
toward restitution and potentially bringing charges against other 
members of the conspiracy.

Davanzo got 11 years and Fednya 10. Both received three years' 
probation, as well as more than $4 million each in restitution to the 

"This was sophisticated and extensive," Chappell said before handing 
down her sentence. She rejected both defenses' attempts for a 
substantially lower sentence. "You weren't just doctoring the books here."

Davanzo and Fednya, longtime friends and business partners who had 
matching Rolex watches Fednya had bought as gifts, helped orchestrate 
the conspiracy by bilking the Environmental Protection Agency and the 
Internal Revenue Service through its renewable fuel credit system and 
then laundering the money, according to federal court filings.

The pair created shell companies that bought and sold phony biofuel from 
each other and then collected EPA incentive bonuses for each 
transaction, part of a federal program to encourage petroleum producers 
to buy from renewable energy producers. They hired truckers to circle 
back between the fake companies to appear as if actual deliveries were 
being made. The base of their operations was Washington state biofuel 
company Gen-X Energy Groups.

According to an indictment filed last year, Davanzo and Fedyna scattered 
these shell companies all over the country, including two with a 
registered address at a suite in Coconut Point mall. The pair cycled 
what they called biofuels back and forth between the paper companies. 
With each cycle of the old product, Gen-X Energy Groups falsely claimed 
it had generated new biofuels, receiving new alternative fuel and IRS 
tax credits.

In court Monday, Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Sweeney called 
it a "seriously corrosive and persistent" fraud scheme that deserved a 
serious judgment given the "massive amount of effort behind it," 
regardless of each man's remorse now.

They "took advantage of this system designed to encourage the production 
of renewable fuel to perfection," Sweeney wrote in a sentencing memo 
last week. She said they didn't only steal but they undermined the 
entire impetus behind the government's environmental programs. When 
people  "perpetrate fraud in these programs," Sweeney wrote, "less 
renewable fuel is actually produced, thwarting Congressional intent and 
requiring greater use of petroleum fuel."

Davanzo, as well as his sister, criminal psychiatrist and two daughters 
gave testimony in hopes of a light sentence.

Michael Rappaport, the psychiatrist, said that in his 40-plus years of 
practice he's only seen people as genuinely remorseful as Davanzo in 
DUI-manslaughter trials. He also noted that Davanzo hoarded most of the 
money he'd stolen. "He believed in his naive head that made him less 
guilty," Rappaport told the judge.

"I truly believe my father is inherently a good person," said his eldest 
daughter, taking several breaks to cry. Davanzo sobbed sitting between 
his two lawyers.

His youngest daughter was the last to testify. "See the man who he is" 
she pleaded with Chappell, "not just what he's done."

Sweeney pointed out that Davanzo is the only one who can bear the weight 
of his family's heartache. She also noted that his remorse seemed 
curiously conditional. Since his indictment, he had illegally liquidated 
some assets, moved more than $1.5 million into a Panamanian bank account 
and researched fake passports at various points in the last year.

It's that sort of thinking, Sweeney argued, that merits a heavy 
sentence. "This was not an aberrant mistake," she said. "He did it 
repeatedly for a very long period of time"

Fednya sat in the hall with his head in his hands during Davano's 
sentencing. He had no family in the audience and no testimonies on his 
behalf. Other than his lawyers, he was alone.

"Unfortunately I fell into a trap," he told Chappell. "It's my own fault."

Both defense attorneys declined to give comment after the hearings.
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[Biofuel] Koch Invests in Biofuels Despite Opposition to Renewable Quota

2016-11-08 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Koch Invests in Biofuels Despite Opposition to Renewable Quota


Andy Szal

Charles and David Koch at this point are likely more well known for 
their political activities than for their namesake energy and 
manufacturing empire.

But while the billionaire brothers' political juggernaut explicitly 
calls for "truly free markets," their company pounced on an opportunity 
to capitalize on biofuels — an industry famously bolstered by government 
fuel mandates.

Bloomberg recently chronicled the unlikely rise of Koch Industries from 
a non-factor in renewable fuel to the nation's No. 5 producer of ethanol 
over the past five years.

Koch Industries traces its roots to an oil refinery business founded by 
the Charles and David's father Fred in 1940, which the brothers 
transformed into what is now one of the nation's largest privately owned 

Their largesse allows them to fund both libertarian think tank the Cato 
Institute and conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, and 
the brothers are ardently opposed to mandates such as the renewable fuel 
standard — which directs renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and 
powers the corn-based ethanol industry in the U.S.

In 2010, however, the head of Flint Hills Resources, the company's 
refinery and chemicals subsidiary, persuaded his bosses to buy ethanol 
plants after rising corn prices prompted bankruptcies by some of the 
industry's top players.

“I think it did surprise people, initially, when we made the first 
couple of acquisitions,” Jeremy Bezdek told Bloomberg.

Company officials maintained that Koch remains opposed to the renewable 
fuel standard and is investing its resources to ensure that the biofuel 
operations remain profitable should it be repealed.

One step in that process, Bloomberg noted, is a new $100 million 
biodiesel plant in southeastern Nebraska that can convert multiple 
feedstock materials into compounds for fuel, pharmaceuticals and even 
food products.

“Flint Hills had become an important player in the biofuel world before 
the opening of the Beatrice plant,” analyst Heather Zhang told the 
publication. “The new plant will just make the firm have better 
competitive advantages over other similar firms.”

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[Biofuel] Airlines’ emissions ambitions spur BP to spend $30m on rubbish | The National

2016-11-08 Thread Darryl McMahon

Airlines’ emissions ambitions spur BP to spend $30m on rubbish

November 8, 2016 Updated: November 8, 2016 05:20 PM

BP says it will invest US$30 million in Fulcrum BioEnergy, which makes 
biofuel from rubbish, in a new partnership designed to curb aircraft 

The London-based oil-producer also signed a 10-year deal to buy 500 
million gallons, or 1.9 billion litres, of biofuel from Fulcrum’s North 
American plants, the oil major said on Tuesday. BP will distribute the 
aviation fuel to planes through its unit Air BP, which sells about 7 
billion gallons of aviation annually.

Airlines facing pressure to clean up their pollution last month brokered 
a landmark deal in Montreal. Their accord created a global system that 
requires them fund environmental initiatives from 2020 that may cost as 
much as $24 billion annually by 2035.

"We have a deep understanding of our customers’ challenges to achieve 
their lower carbon goals," said Jon Platt, the Air BP chief executive. 
"Securing this supply helps secure the future competitiveness of Air BP, 
and our place as a leader in the industry."

This deal is Fulcrum’s fourth major corporate investment, following 
similar agreements with United Airlines, Waste Management and Cathay 
Pacific Airways, according to Fulcrum.

"Entering into this strategic relationship with a global oil and gas 
company enhances the value of Fulcrum’s waste to fuel platform," said E 
James Macias, Fulcrum’s president and chief executive officer, in the 

The airline industry’s plan to ease its impact on global warming hinges 
on fuels made from vegetable oil, corn and household rubbish. The hitch: 
nobody has ever been able to produce the stuff in the volumes needed.

A UN deal was agreed by 191 countries in Montreal on October 6, which 
adopts an offsetting approach to constraining aviation emissions. 
Starting from 2021, airlines that have opted in to the measure will have 
to purchase offsets to balance their emissions growth above 2020 levels. 
More than 65 countries representing over 85 per cent of global air 
traffic have said they will participate from the beginning. More 
countries can opt to join in after 2024 or 2027, by which point the 
scheme will be mandatory for all but the smallest countries. The scheme 
will be reviewed every three years.

JetBlue Airways, United Continental and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group 
have begun blending eco-friendly substitutes into traditional jet fuel 
made from kerosene. Even with that backing, there is still only a 
handful of producers of the fuels. They lack the capacity to crank out 
the billions of gallons needed to supply the global aviation fleet, and 
the pace of investment is slowing.

Even so, airlines are staking their low-carbon future on renewable 
fuels. The aviation industry is responsible for more than 2 per cent of 
greenhouse gases. Cutting that, ultimately, means burning less fossil 
fuel. With electric planes still experimental, airlines and aerospace 
companies say biofuels are their best bet.

"There is a tremendous amount of determination to make biofuel work 
because we just don’t have any alternative," said Julie Felgar, Boeing’s 
managing director of environmental strategy and integration.

The biofuel industry currently has enough factories to produce as much 
as 100 million gallons of jet fuel annually, said Claire Curry, an 
analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That barely registers next to 
the more than 83 billion gallons airlines consume each year.

Investments in biofuel, meanwhile, are at a record low, with US$322 
million in backing globally during the first six months of 2016, 
according to BNEF. That’s off 64 per cent from the first half of 2015 
and down 98 per cent from a decade ago, when ethanol production for 
automobiles took off.

"This is still a pipe dream," Ms Curry said. "No one has figured out how 
to make these fuels at scale yet. The technologies are really 
complicated. They often don’t work. And the plants can cost half a 
billion dollars to build."

Advocates for renewable jet fuel say the industry will develop after the 
UN accord takes effect and drives up demand, just as ethanol production 
boomed in the United States after policymakers passed the Renewable Fuel 
Standard in 2005. Patrick Gruber, the chief executive of Gevo, said its 
jet fuel works and scaling up is "cookie cutting".

"We know how to do this," Mr Gruber said. "We just have to make more 
production lines."

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[Biofuel] Justin Trudeau announces $1.5B West Coast spill response plan - British Columbia - CBC News

2016-11-07 Thread Darryl McMahon

[But no mention of the previously-mentioned tanker moratorium for the BC 
northern coast.  I don't know why anyone would send a salvage ship to a 
spill site on a priority basis.  What is needed is an effective spill 
response vessel.  Potentially rescue capability (likely helicopter or CG 
cutter), if necessary, certainly.  Salvaging a grounded or sunk vessel 
can wait until after the spill has been dealt with.]

Justin Trudeau announces $1.5B West Coast spill response plan

PM calls fuel spill near Bella Bella 'unacceptable' after tug ran 
aground, spilling 100,000 litres of fuel

CBC News Posted: Nov 07, 2016 12:03 PM PT Last Updated: Nov 07, 2016 
1:47 PM PT

Garneau spent Sunday touring a site on the province's Central Coast 
where a tug boat ran aground and sank more than three weeks ago, 
releasing thousands of litres of diesel and lubricants into the water.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has called the current spill response on the 
West Coast "totally inadequate" for existing marine traffic, let alone 
any increases from potential pipeline expansion.

The B.C. government has already laid out a long list of requirements, 
including a coast guard base in Prince Rupert, monitoring systems to 
manage vessel traffic, and three new salvage ships that could arrive at 
a spill site within three hours.

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Official: 40 to 50 Buildings Damaged in Oklahoma Quake - ABC News

2016-11-07 Thread Darryl McMahon

[Irony:  the major threat to oil supply in North America might be 
fracking to produce natural gas.

video in on-line article]

Official: 40 to 50 Buildings Damaged in Oklahoma Quake

By justin juozapavicius, associated press

CUSHING, Okla. — Nov 7, 2016, 2:38 PM ET

 Dozens of buildings sustained "substantial damage" after a 5.0 
magnitude earthquake struck an Oklahoma town that's home to one of the 
world's key oil hubs, but officials said Monday that no damage has been 
reported at the oil terminal.

Cushing City Manager Steve Spears said 40 to 50 buildings were damaged 
in Sunday's earthquake, which was the third in Oklahoma this year with a 
magnitude of 5.0 or greater. No major injuries have been reported, and 
Spears said the damage included cracks to buildings and fallen bricks 
and facades.

Oklahoma has had thousands of earthquakes in recent years, with nearly 
all traced to the underground injection of wastewater left over from oil 
and gas production. Sunday's quake was centered 1 mile west of Cushing 
and about 25 miles south of where a magnitude 4.3 quake forced a 
shutdown of several wells last week.

Fearing aftershocks, police cordoned off older parts of the city about 
50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City to keep gawkers away late Sunday, 
and geologists confirmed that several small quakes have rumbled the 
area. Spears said an assisted living community had been evacuated after 
damage was reported. The Cushing Public School District canceled Monday 

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reported Sunday night that no 
highway or bridge damage was found within a 15-mile radius of the 
earthquake's epicenter.

The quake struck at 7:44 p.m. Sunday and was felt as far away as Iowa, 
Illinois and Texas. The U.S. Geological Survey initially said Sunday's 
quake was of magnitude 5.3 but later lowered the reading to 5.0.

"I thought my whole trailer was going to tip over, it was shaking it so 
bad," said Cushing resident Cindy Roe, 50. "It was loud and all the 
lights went out and you could hear things falling on the ground.

"It was awful and I don't want to have another one."

In recent years, Oklahoma regulators have asked oil and gas producers to 
either close wastewater injection wells or cut back on the volume of 
fluids injected. The reductions have generally led to a drop-off in 
quakes and their severity, though not always.

Oklahoma's strongest quake on record, a magnitude 5.8 temblor on Sept. 
3, occurred in Pawnee, on the fringe of an area that had already 
restricted wastewater disposal. Shortly afterward, geologists speculated 
on whether the temblor occurred on a previously unknown fault.

Cushing's oil storage terminal is one of the world's largest. As of Oct. 
28, tank farms in the countryside around Cushing held 58.5 million 
barrels of crude oil, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information 
Administration. The community bills itself as the "Pipeline Crossroads 
of the World."

Cushing Assistant City Manager Jeremy Frazier said two pipeline 
companies had reported no trouble as of late Sunday but that the 
community hadn't heard from all companies. Gov. Mary Fallin tweeted that 
no damage was reported at the storage tanks at Cushing's oil storage 

Megan Gustafson and Jonathan Gillespie were working at a Cushing 
McDonald's when the quake hit.

"It felt like a train was going right through the building, actually," 
Gustafson, 17, said Sunday night as she and her co-workers stood behind 
a police barricade downtown, looking for damage. "I kind of freaked out 
and was hyperventilating a bit."

Gillespie said the building shook for about 10 seconds, but that he 
wasn't as alarmed as Gustafson because he lives in an area that has 
experienced multiple earthquakes, especially in recent years.

"I didn't think it was anything new," he said.

According to USGS data, there have been about two dozen earthquakes in 
Oklahoma in the past week. When particularly strong quakes hit, the 
Oklahoma Corporation Commission directs well operators to cease 
wastewater injections or reduce volume.

"I was at home doing some work in my office and, basically, you could 
feel the whole house sway some," Spears, the Cushing city manager, said 
Sunday night. "It's beginning to become normal."


[images in on-line article]

Oklahoma quake strikes near one of world's largest oil storage terminals
No adverse reports from pipeline companies but town of Cushing suffers 
'quite a bit of damage'

The Associated Press Posted: Nov 06, 2016 9:50 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 
07, 2016 9:10 AM ET

A sharp earthquake centred near one of the world's key oil hubs Sunday 
night triggered fears that the magnitude 5.0 temblor might have damaged 

[Biofuel] Truth: The First Casualty in Trade Debates

2016-11-07 Thread Darryl McMahon

[One image in on-line article showing the Ottawa Delta Hotel as the 
backdrop as hosting secret trade deal meeting.]

Truth: The First Casualty in Trade Debates

Monday, 07 November 2016 00:00

By Dean Baker, Truthout | Op-Ed

As the country prepares for the election this week, we should also be 
prepared for the day after the election. President Obama has indicated 
that he wants one last stab at pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership 
(TPP) through Congress before leaving office. In preparation for this 
push he is already lining up the elite policy types (you know, the folks 
that couldn't see an $8 trillion housing bubble) in order to convince 
the public that we really, really need the TPP.

One part of the story that has been circulating widely is that trade is 
falling. This is supposed to presage an economic crisis, or at least 
slower growth. As the story goes, expanded trade supports growth. In the 
1930s, trade fell and we got a worldwide depression, so we better not 
let that happen again.

The nature of the link between trade and growth is questionable, clearly 
causation goes both ways, but it is worth pointing out that the basic 
story is wrong. To pick a prominent example, a New York Times editorial 
last week told readers: "The total value of American imports and exports 
fell by more than $200 billion last year; they've fallen by an 
additional $470 billion in the first nine months of this year. Sluggish 
growth is both a cause and a result of this slowdown."

While the dollar value of US trade did fall in 2015 as the NYT claims 
(it's not clear where the $470 billion for 2016 came from), the actual 
volume of trade increased both years. Using constant 2009 dollars, which 
control for price changes, trade increased by $2.3 billion from 2014 to 
2015. It rose by $63 billion in the first nine months of 2016.

The 2015 growth figure is certainly slow, but it is not the decline 
widely being touted by those pushing for the TPP. The reason for the 
difference is that the price of oil and other commodities has plummeted. 
If we import oil at $50 a barrel we spend half as much on imported oil 
as when it sells for $100 a barrel. While there are serious 
environmental reasons not to be happy about low oil prices, it does not 
translate into the economic crisis that the proponents of the TPP are 
trying to paint.

The more general economic argument for the TPP actually is not very 
different from claiming we face an economic crisis because of falling 
oil prices. The TPP actually does little to reduce formal trade barriers 
like tariffs and quotas primarily because these are already very low in 
most cases. The US already has trade deals with six of the 11 other 
countries in the pact.

The TPP is mostly about setting up a business-friendly structure of 
regulation, including a system of extra-judicial tribunals that 
exclusively benefit foreign investors. An important part of this 
regulatory structure is the strengthening of patents, copyrights and 
related types of intellectual property claims. These forms of 
protectionism are equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent, 
often raising the price of the protected items by a factor of a hundred 
or more.

To take one prominent example, the Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi has a list 
price in the United States of $84,000 for a three-month course of 
treatment. A high quality generic version is available in India for $200.

This gap in prices matters hugely when we talk about the volume of trade 
flows. Suppose that 1 billion people in China use Microsoft's Windows 
operating system. If we make them all pay $50 for each system then this 
is $50 billion in US exports to China. Now suppose that everyone in 
China is able to use Windows at no cost. In this case we have $50 
billion less in exports, but we still have 1 billion people in China 
getting the benefit of the Windows operating system.

By making people pay more for ideas, the TPP will increase the volume of 
world trade. But, it is a huge stretch to argue that this is somehow 
good for economic growth or the people who will have to pay more for 
prescription drugs, software and other protected items. (Yes, we need 
mechanisms for funding research, but there are more efficient routes.)

Anyhow, this is the nature of the arguments that we can expect to see in 
coming weeks if President Obama decides to push ahead on the TPP. If 
people need more convincing on the depths to which proponents of TPP 
will stoop to push the deal, consider this Washington Post editorial 
from 2007. The piece, which condemned the Democratic presidential 
candidates for criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement 
(NAFTA), told readers, "Mexico's gross domestic product, now more than 
$875 billion, has more than quadrupled since 1987."

If Mexico's GDP had in fact quadrupled since 1987 it would have indeed 

[Biofuel] Opinion: NEB's oil forecast is not reliable, new pipelines are not needed | National Observer

2016-11-06 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links and images in on-line article]

Opinion: NEB's oil forecast is not reliable, new pipelines are not needed

By Robyn Allan in Opinion, Energy, Politics

November 2nd 2016

New forecast from Canada's energy regulator is based on exaggerated 
oil prices, inflated production estimates

NEB seems incapable of forecasting a future where we deal with 
climate change

Forecast excludes federal and provincial climate/energy policies

New pipelines not needed

The National Energy Board’s long-term crude oil production outlook — 
Canada’s Energy Future 2016 — was released last January. It was 
initially intended for release in November 2015 while the Trans Mountain 
expansion review was ongoing, but was delayed until after the hearing 
record closed. No one has explained this delay.

The Board did not consider the figures in Energy Futures 2016 when it 
prepared its May 2016 report recommending approval for Trans Mountain’s 
twin. Instead, the Board relied on stale-dated crude oil projections 
from Canada’s Energy Future 2013, the Canadian Association of Petroleum 
Producers’ (CAPP) June 2015 outlook and Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) 
spring 2015 forecast.

The NEB’s January 2016 outlook included a much lower oilsands production 
forecast than its 2013 version, but even as Energy Futures 2016 was 
published, its projections were already out of date. The NEB knew it. 
That's why the CEO, Peter Watson, promised an update this autumn.

Mr. Watson explained in January that Energy Future 2016 relied on NEB 
oil price expectations as they existed in mid-2015; that it did not 
incorporate cancellations and deferments of oilsands projects announced 
after that time; nor did it incorporate the limiting impact climate 
change policies might have on future production. Unless policies 
intended to combat climate change were embedded in law by the latter 
part of 2015, the NEB ignored them.

The NEB released its promised update on October 26, 2016. It adjusted 
both its price expectations and production projections downward but 
otherwise pretended business as usual would continue in Alberta’s 
oilsands for the next twenty-five years.
NEB excluded federal and Alberta climate policies, relied on exaggerated 
oil prices

The Board assumed that the magnitude and pace of bitumen production are 
driven by international market price. Numerous climate change policies 
currently in development—such as the federal carbon pricing plan and 
Alberta’s 100MT cap on oil sands GHGs — are still excluded.

The NEB Update presents production forecasts based on a High, Reference 
and Low crude oil price scenario. The NEB adopts the mid-range Reference 
Case and concludes that between now and 2040 world oil prices will rise 
— just not as quickly — and oil sands production will grow — just not as 
fast — as it predicted in its January outlook.

A forecast of rising prices coupled with increasing oilsands production 
for twenty-five years makes little economic or market sense.

First of all, the NEB’s Reference Case has the North American light oil 
benchmark WTI price rising from $44.50 US in 2016 to $88.25 US by 2040. 
These prices are what economists call “real prices” because there is no 
inflationary impact in them. Adding the Board’s assumed inflation rate, 
the NEB puts the WTI nominal price at $144 US per barrel by 2040.

The Bank of Canada assessed the price of WTI from 1972 - 2013 and 
determined that over that 40-year period WTI’s real price averaged 
$44.65 US per barrel. The NEB’s real price for WTI from 2014 - 2040 
averages $75.86 US per barrel—70 per cent higher than the historical 
long-term trend.

Excessively high real oil prices over the long term are not sustainable. 
This was most recently brought home in 2014. Oil producers responded to 
relatively high prices by delivering excess supply to market. Oil prices 
rapidly declined. Current prices don’t just reflect a “new normal,” they 
are “the normal”.

Increasing prices and expanded production directly contradict what OPEC 
is trying to accomplish. The group would like to cut up to 700,000 
barrels a day from its current production of just over 33 million. The 
cut is equivalent to about one Aframax tanker—the volume Kinder Morgan 
says its Trans Mountain’s expansion would deliver to tidewater each day 
beginning in 2019.

The international crude oil glut is not going away. State-owned oil 
companies are more worried about being left with stranded assets in a 
world trying to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels than they are 
about market price. Canadian producers who bullishly continue to produce 
into the market simply add to the supply driving downward pressure on 

Oilsands production is getting chilly

Without an effective production cut agreement, the OPEC cartel will 
continue with its plan to retain 

[Biofuel] The Standing Rock Victory You Didn't Hear About

2016-11-06 Thread Darryl McMahon

The Standing Rock Victory You Didn't Hear About

Friday, 04 November 2016 00:00

By Desiree Kane, YES! Magazine | News Analysis

Last week, the world watched in horror as a massive militarized police 
force attacked prayerful Indigenous Water Protectors fighting for the 
water of 18 million people. Over and over, people were brutalized, 
pulled out of sweat lodges while in ceremony wearing only their 
underwear. Medics and journalists were arrested alongside Water 
Protectors. Cars were searched and impounded, personal possessions were 
taken by police.

Everyone by now has seen the videos of the assault last Thursday. Here 
at Standing Rock, the age-old story of government forces raising arms 
against Native people is being repeated in real time through social media.

But lost in that day, in the horrific stories of degradation, is a small 
story of victory, of how 40 to 50 Native people stood against more than 
250 police on a bridge on County Road 134 in rural North Dakota.

Word-of-mouth announcements went out to the Oceti Sakowin camp that 
there was going to be a police raid of the front-line camp that had been 
set up in the way of the pipeline. A raid means people are in imminent 
danger, and that is widely understood here. Over Labor Day, campers were 
attacked by dogs and pepper sprayed by Dakota Access security. And since 
then, we've seen increased militarization. It has been apparent that the 
government, specifically Morton County Sheriff's office, is the security 
force protecting the pipeline, so no one doubted that this time the 
police would be the ones to desecrate bodies and lifeways.

My original plan was to take County Road 134 to photograph the pipeline 
being forced into the earth.

Instead, I found a blockade of wood logs and hay bales set up in an area 
where water divided the back country road. No one there was armed with 
anything other than prayer. It was a strategic juncture because police 
vehicles couldn't cross the narrow embankments on their way to the raid. 
If they were stopped at this bridge from the east, they could only come 
from the north.

In the morning, police did come, and from both sides. When I arrived, 
this blockade had already stopped an LRAD -- a sonic weapon often called 
"sound cannon," which can cause permanent hearing loss -- from making it 
to the camp. Even as police numbers grew, eventually well beyond 200, 
the Water Protectors held their ground, fearless.

Then the dancing began.

People began dancing to a hand drum, entranced by the power of prayer. A 
single elder, a veteran, repeatedly walked out and yelled: "Send one 
unarmed like I am out here to negotiate. Please. We are protecting the 
water for our children and yours. Send one out here to negotiate. Let's 
talk! Please!"

He was met with no negotiation.

But the Water Protectors held the bridge. For hours and hours, police 
advanced and retreated.

This was an unforgettable moment unfolding. With the dancing going on 
and the veteran trying to negotiate out front, a young woman stepped up 
and began moving her body to the beat of the drum. She was power 
incarnate. Her arms were wide open, her pink fingernail polish 
glistening. She was crying. Just waiting to be pepper sprayed, she wore 
a painter's mask, one which would have done nothing much for protection.

That standoff's foundation was ceremony and song, the truest essence of 
religious freedom.

This is what colonial violence looks like: 250 police -- some of them 
snipers, some with guns drawn on the crowd -- in a standoff with 40 to 
50 unarmed Indigenous people who just want to be allowed to live.

The untold story of this day was that those troops never made it from 
the east to join the others in raiding the camp, dehumanizing the 
friends and families of those on that bridge. There were 250 fewer 
officers able to show up to brutalize people and pervert prayer 
ceremonies on October 27. History rarely teaches us about when Natives 
win against the state. And that's how injustice flourishes: in the shadows.

So let me be clear. On October 27, when a colonial force armed with 
military weapons faced off on a bridge against veterans armed with only 
prayer, the Natives won.

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Cowboys on the Commons | Egalitarian cowboys, standing up for old-fashioned values like cooperative economics and ending classism

2016-11-06 Thread Darryl McMahon

November 3, 2016

North Dakota’s Public Bank Is Funding Police Repression at Standing Rock

by Matt Stannard

The brutal repression of indigenous and allied protesters at Standing 
Rock has shocked the conscience of fair-minded Americans, particularly 
those advocating economic and ecological reform. Although the protesters 
had in some cases been encroaching on “company land,” they had done so 
peacefully, and their chief modes of political action have been prayer 
and nonviolent civil disobedience. The crackdowns of the last few weeks 
have seen attack dogs and rubber bullets causing bloody injuries to 
protesters, detention and malicious prosecutions, and other dehumanizing 
behavior from the cops and soldiers deployed there by North Dakota 
Governor Jack Dalrymple.

For those of us in the public banking movement, used to holding up the 
Bank of North Dakota (the nation’s only public bank) as an example of 
how promising public banks are, the recent news that Dalrymple and an 
emergency spending panel voted to add $4 million in additional credit 
onto a $10 million line from BND, to fund law enforcement expenses at 
Standing Rock, is troubling. It means BND is using its heralded public 
power over fractional reserve banking to pay for those rubber bullets 
and a host of logistical expenses involved in arresting and evicting 
protesters the federal government has refused to evict, citing free 
speech concerns.

This financing is part of one of BND’s core functions: providing 
emergency loans. A more positive deployment of that function happened in 
1997, when BND provided emergency loans for the Grand Forks flood, at a 
time when communities desperately needed loans before receiving 
slow-moving FEMA reimbursements. Unlike the need to abuse peaceful 
protesters, the flood was a real public emergency–the flooding caused 
structure fires and destroyed dozens of buildings via fire or water. 
Property losses in Grand Forks topped $3.5 billion. There were 50,000 
evacuees. BND provided over $70 million in funds for relief.

The Bank of North Dakota was conceived a century ago in the molding of 
distinctly American, agrarian-socialist populism. North Dakota farmers 
were in trouble, getting cheated by the big banks and big grain 
companies headquartered in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Those entities 
knew they had farmers at their mercy, and so all the interest rates were 
double-digit, all the loan terms were unfavorable (and less favorable to 
those who relied on them the most), and as the grain companies operated 
every grain elevator along the railroad route; those companies offered 
farmers destructively low prices, often cheating on tonnage because the 
farmers had nowhere else to go.

In 1915, led by a struggling farmer named A.C. Townley, a group of North 
Dakotans formed the Nonpartisan League to push back against those 
powerful grain and banking interests. The NPL ended up taking political 
power in the state, creating both the Bank of North Dakota and the North 
Dakota Mill and Elevator. Today, those two public utilities are the only 
institutions of their kind under any state government in the U.S. 
They’ve long outlived the NPL, whose inexperienced political leaders 
were subject to constant attacks and red-baiting from big business 
interests, exacerbating NPL infighting and corruption, culminating in 
the recall of Governor Lynn Frazier, alongside whom the state 
legislature had created one of the most progressive state agendas in 
American history.

Since then, for understandable reasons, BND has been militantly 
apolitical. BND President and CEO Eric Hardmeyer has explicitly 
repudiated arguments that the BND ought to be a model, despite his 
effective touting of its successes. The Bank exists to help the state 
and its businesses function well and to maintain liquidity and economic 
stability. BND created the infrastructure for North Dakota’s oil boom, 
and if the state were to commit to a truly proactive transition to 
renewable and clean energy (it has taken baby steps), the BND would make 
it happen financially–with an efficiency that would put the rest of the 
country to shame.

But in the present political reality, cops and soldiers are brutally 
cracking down on Standing Rock protesters, and BND is funding it, and 
that makes BND not truly apolitical, but a facilitator of injustice. 
Public banks are tools, not sources of virtue in themselves. In the 
hands of bad policymakers, they can prop up bad policies.

So what do we do with this unfortunate knowledge, besides continuing to 
support the Standing Rock protesters, calling the governor regularly (if 
you do, please mention that using BND to finance repression is 
shameful), and pushing for a just and sustainable transition to clean 
energy (including economic support for energy sector workers and their 
families)? What do these unfortunate events teach us about our movement?

First, the 

[Biofuel] Chief: '20 Standing Rocks' if Canada Ignores Indigenous Consent | News | teleSUR English

2016-11-06 Thread Darryl McMahon

[videos in on-line article]

Published 5 November 2016

Chief: '20 Standing Rocks' if Canada Ignores Indigenous Consent

The Trudeau government declared Thursday it does not need First Nations 
consent on natural resource projects, angering First Nations.

Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon made his remarks in response to 
Liberal Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr´s surprise declaration on 
Thursday that Canada need only “consult and accommodate” First Nations 
on natural resource projects taking place on their territory.

“New infrastructure to bring in more oil from the tar sands? Forget it, 
it’s not going to happen,” said Simon, who is also a lead spokesperson 
for an anti-pipeline treaty alliance supported by about 85 First 
Nations. “I don’t care what Jim Carr says that no consent is 
necessary…Consent, it’s what we are demanding, and he will never get our 
consent, not for something like this. What if we gave Canada 20 Standing 
Rocks? I wonder if his position will change then?”

Minister Carr´s declaration contradicts the Trudeau government´s 
promises to follow Canadian Supreme Court Rulings and the UN Declaration 
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which require “free, prior, and 
informed consent” of Indigenous Nations to any natural resource projects 
affecting their traditional and treaty territories.

“We always knew the Trudeau government, a lot of his ministers, are 
influenced by the fossil fuel industry,” said Simon. “If we keep doing 
this, our children and their children are going to suffer the brunt of 
climate change.”

Minister Carr made his comments on the same day two groups of climate 
activists occupied both his constituency office and that of the 
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. The activists called on the 
Trudeau government to respect Indigenous land rights and reject the 
expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline which would carry 
tar sands crude oil through the territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

The occupations came as a government-convened panel released a report on 
the Trans Mountain Pipeline project which raised serious questions about 
the viability of the project given the legal requirement of obtaining 
the consent of the First Nations affected by the project.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Friday he 
expects the Trudeau government to fulfill its commitments on the UN 
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

“The government endorsed UNDRIP without qualification, and the UN 
declaration states the requirement of free, prior and informed consent 
by First Nations over any activities that can impact our rights, our 
people or our territory,” said Bellegarde.

Chief Simon´s statement came as 75 Mohawks of Kahnawake blockaded a 
major Canadian Pacific Rail line between Canada and U.S. on Thursday in 
solidarity with the water protectors in Standing Rock who are 
challenging the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

A statement released by the Kahnawake People´s Fire said, “There is an 
injustice that is transpiring by the government to protect the 
corporations with complete disregard to environmental disasters that 
will proceed their decision to install the Dakota Access Pipeline. The 
Canadian and American governments have neglected their obligations to 
protect the people that they represent, and we are standing for their 
safety as well.”

On Friday a group of Indigenous land protectors and their allies in the 
eastern Canadian province of Labrador vowed to resume their protest of 
the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project which threatens to poison their 
water and food supply .

Sustainablelorgbiofuel mailing list

[Biofuel] Dakota Access: company under scrutiny over sacred artifacts in oil pipeline's path | US news | The Guardian

2016-11-06 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images and links in on-line article]

Sam Levin

Saturday 5 November 2016

Native American protesters say the pipeline is threatening indigenous 
cultural heritage.

North Dakota regulators accuse company of failing to disclose the 
discovery of Native American symbolic stones on a site where 
construction was planned

North Dakota regulators are filing a complaint against the oil company 
building the Dakota Access pipeline for failing to disclose the 
discovery of Native American artifacts in the path of construction.

The allegations mark the state’s first formal action against the 
corporation and add fuel to the claims of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, 
which has long argued that the $3.7bn pipeline threatens sacred lands 
and indigenous cultural heritage.

Julie Fedorchak, chair of the North Dakota public service commission, 
told the Guardian that on 17 October, pipeline officials found a group 
of stone cairns –symbolic rock piles that sometimes mark burial grounds 
– on a site where construction was planned.

The firm, however, failed to notify the commission, in violation of its 
permit, and only disclosed the findings 10 days later when government 
workers inquired about it, she said.

“I was very disappointed,” said Fedorchak. “We found out from our 
inspectors. Who knows when we would’ve found out?”

The rebuke is significant given that public officials in North Dakota 
have repeatedly criticized Native American leaders protesting against 
the pipeline and have gone to great lengths to protect the construction 
sites from demonstrations. The commission will file a complaint this 
week and the company could face a maximum fine of $10,000 per day for 
the 10 days without a disclosure, according to Fedorchak.

Native American protesters, who call themselves “water protectors”, said 
a reprimand from regulators was too little too late and lamented that 
the state had consistently failed to work with the tribe to prevent the 
destruction of sacred burial grounds and historic artifacts.


“They are digging up our sites. They are not following the law,” said 
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a Standing Rock Sioux tribe member and 
founder of the Sacred Stone camp, which activists formed in the spring 
to fight the pipeline.

Over the last week, construction of the 1,172-mile pipeline – which 
would carry 470,000 barrels a day from North Dakota to Illinois – has 
gotten very close to the Missouri river where the tribe fears it would 
contaminate the regional drinking water.

Indigenous activists, who have faced Mace, rubber bullets, mass arrests 
and questionable jail conditions, say the project has already bulldozed 
sacred grounds.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, did not 
respond to a request for comment on Friday, but a lawyer for the firm 
claimed in a letter to the commission that the construction crew 
rerouted around the cairn artifacts and filed a report with the state 
historic preservation office.

The attorney further claimed that the failure to disclose the findings 
to the commission was due to the fact that the company was busy 
coordinating a site visit for public officials.

“What we’re concerned about is transparency,” said Fedorchak.

President Obama recently said the US government was exploring ways to 
reroute the pipeline, but said he would “let it play out for several 
more weeks”. Indigenous leaders have urged him to permanently save the 
native lands and surrounding areas from further destruction.
Analysis Dakota Access pipeline: the who, what and why of the Standing 
Rock protests
Everything you need to know about the controversial pipeline that has 
become an international rallying cry for indigenous rights and climate 
change activism

Read more

Cheryl Angel, a Sicangu Lakota tribe member who has been at the Standing 
Rock camps since April, said she has personally seen what appear to be 
indigenous artifacts in the line of construction and that she believes 
the pipeline operators have intentionally hidden discoveries of sacred 
sites and knowingly destroyed them.

“It’s a tremendous blow to our history. They are trying to erase our 
existence,” said Angel, 56. “That’s a blatant disregard for our culture. 
That hurts when someone purposefully tries to erase you as people from … 
the land we’ve occupied for centuries.”

Allard said she suspected the state might be taking action against the 
company simply because there is now international attention on the conflict.

“They have no choice now, because the world is watching.”

Given the extent to which the government has allowed the pipeline to 
rapidly progress, Angel said she did not believe regulators wanted to 
help preserve artifacts.

“It’s almost as if they are working hand in hand with the oil company to 
go ahead and let them start drilling.”

[Biofuel] Published in UK magazine (Social Licence and Innovation)

2016-11-06 Thread Darryl McMahon
Just to give you a sense of one of things I'm working on, an article I 
co-authored with a professor at King's College was published in the 
November edition of World Pipelines magazine.

As this is a subscription-only magazine, I have also put the finished 
article on the web.

If you are interested, you can read it (6 pages) at:

Some related material at same website starting at:

(As the magazine supplied the file as a secured PDF, it's difficult to 
extract the text to reproduce it here, and I think the images are worth 

If you have access to the magazine, it starts on page 78 of the November 
2016 issue.

[Disclosure:  I am a co-author of the article noted in this e-mail, and 
a principal in the company - Remote Energy Security Technologies 
Collaborative (RESTCo) - hosting the URLs noted in this e-mail.  RESTCo 
is a consulting science and engineering research firm, and does not sell 
any of the products referenced in the article.  RESTCo is currently 
engaged in work setting international standards for oil spill detection, 
monitoring and response in arctic conditions.]

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[Biofuel] 'World class' may not mean much when it comes to oil spill response |

2016-11-02 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

'World class' may not mean much when it comes to oil spill response

By David Suzuki

November 1, 2016

In July, a pipeline leak near Maidstone, Saskatchewan, spilled about 
250,000 litres of diluted oil sands bitumen into the North Saskatchewan 
River, killing wildlife and comprising drinking water for nearby 
communities, including Prince Albert. It was one of 11 spills in the 
province over the previous year.

In October, a tugboat pulling an empty fuel barge ran aground near Bella 
Bella on the Great Bear Rainforest coastline, spilling diesel into the 
water. Stormy weather caused some of the containment booms to break. 
Shellfish operations and clam beds were put at risk and wildlife 

Governments and industry promoting fossil fuel infrastructure often talk 
about "world class" spill response. It's one of the conditions B.C.'s 
government has imposed for approval of new oil pipelines. But we're 
either not there or the term has little meaning. "This 'world-class 
marine response' did not happen here in Bella Bella," Heiltsuk Chief 
Councillor Marilyn Slett told Metro News.

If authorities have this much trouble responding to a relatively minor 
spill from a tugboat, how can they expect to adequately deal with a 
spill from a pipeline or a tanker full of diluted bitumen? The simple 
and disturbing truth is that it's impossible to adequately clean up a 
large oil spill. A 2015 report commissioned by the City of Vancouver and 
the Tsleil-Waututh and Tsawout First Nations concluded that "collecting 
and removing oil from the sea surface is a challenging, time-sensitive, 
and often ineffective process, even under the most favourable conditions."

What the oil and gas industry touts as "world class spill response" 
boils down to four methods: booms, skimmers, burning and chemical 
dispersants. An article at notes, "For small spills 
these technologies can sometimes make a difference, but only in 
sheltered waters. None has ever been effective in containing large 
spills." Booms don't work well in rough or icy waters, as was clear at 
the Bella Bella spill; skimmers merely clean the surface and often not 
effectively; burning causes pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; and 
dispersants just spread contaminants around, when they work at all.

Researchers have also found that cleaning oil-soaked birds rarely if 
ever increases their chances of survival. A tiny spot of oil can kill a 

After the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill off the Alaska coast, industry only 
recovered about 14 per cent of the oil -- which is about average -- at a 
cost of $2 billion. The 2011 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has cost 
more than $42 billion so far, and has not been overly effective. In that 
case, industry bombed the area with the dispersant Corexit, which killed 
bacteria that eat oil! Record numbers of bottlenose dolphins died.

We're not going to stop transporting oil and gas overnight, so improving 
responses to spills on water and land is absolutely necessary. And 
increasing the safety of pipelines, tankers and trains that carry these 
dangerous products is also critical, as is stepping up monitoring and 
enforcement. With the Saskatchewan spill, the provincial government 
deemed an environmental assessment of a pipeline expansion connected to 
the one that leaked as unnecessary because the Environment Ministry did 
not consider it a "development." University of Regina geography 
professor Emily Eaton, who has studied oil development, told the 
National Observer that Saskatchewan "gives a pass" to most pipelines it 

Beyond better response capability and technologies, and increased 
monitoring and enforcement, we have to stop shipping so much fossil 
fuel. The mad rush to exploit and sell as much oil, gas and coal as 
possible before markets dry up in the face of growing scarcity, climate 
change and ever-increasing and improving renewable energy options has 
led to a huge spike in the amount of fossil fuels shipped through 
pipelines, and by train and tanker -- often with disastrous 
consequences, from the Gulf of Mexico BP spill to the tragic 2013 
Lac-Mégantic railcar explosion.

Spills and disasters illustrate the immediate negative impacts of our 
overreliance on fossil fuels. Climate change shows we can't continue to 
burn coal, oil and gas, that we have to leave much of it in the ground. 
If we get on with it, we may still have time to manage the transition 
without catastrophic consequences. But the longer we delay, the more 
difficult it will become.

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[Biofuel] France’s Nuclear Storm: Many Power Plants Down Due to Quality Concerns

2016-11-02 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images in on-line article]

France’s Nuclear Storm: Many Power Plants Down Due to Quality Concerns

11/01/2016 | Lee Buchsbaum

[Note: This article will appear in the forthcoming December 2016 print 
issue of POWER.]

The discovery of widespread carbon segregation problems in critical 
nuclear plant components has crippled the French power industry—20 of 
the country’s 58 reactors are currently offline and under heavy 
scrutiny. France’s nuclear safety chairman said more anomalies “will 
likely be found,” as the extent of the contagion is still being uncovered.

With over half of France’s 58 reactors possibly affected by “carbon 
segregation,” the nation’s nuclear watchdog, the Autorité de Sûreté 
Nucléaire (ASN) has ordered that preventative measures be taken 
immediately to ensure public safety. As this story goes into production 
in late October, ASN has confirmed that 20 reactors are currently 
offline and potentially more will shut down in coming weeks.

The massive outages are draining power from all over Europe. Worse, new 
questions continue to swirl about both the safety and integrity of 
Électricité de France SA’s (EDF’s) nuclear fleet, as well as the quality 
of some French- and Japanese-made components that EDF is using in 
various high-profile nuclear projects around the world.

Backbone of the French Grid

EDF’s nuclear power plants (NPPs) provide up to 75% of France’s power 
needs. Its NPPs are spread out over 19 sites and include 34 900-MW 
units, 20 1,300-MW units, and four 1,450-MW units. As the fleet suffered 
through shutdowns, inspections, and reviews, production fell in 
September to its lowest level since 1998—just 26.6 TWh, according to 
French grid operator Reseau de transport d’electricite.

With more NPPs scheduled to go offline, that figure may continue 
falling. Earlier in October, EDF reduced its 2016 generation targets 
from 395–400 TWh to 380–390 TWh, while estimates for nuclear output in 
2017 have also been lowered to between 390 TWh and 400 TWh. For 
perspective, annual nuclear production averaged 417 TWh in the period 
2005–2015. Although in 2009 output fell to 390 TWh, for the last decade 
production has consistently been above 400 TWh and exceeded the target 
range of 410–415 TWh in both 2014 and 2015.

Following EDF’s reduced nuclear generation forecast, wholesale power 
prices immediately began jumping with Q4 2016, Q1 2017, and calendar 
2017 baseload contracts trading up by €1.70/MWh, €1.65/MWh, and 
€1.20/MWh, respectively. To address the energy shortfall, France is 
turning to coal and other fossil fuels, as well as imported power. 
Despite the COP21 carbon emissions agreement, which recently went into 
force, France is now burning coal at its highest levels in 32 years.
Despite the COP21 carbon emissions agreement, which recently went into 
force, France is now burning coal at its highest levels in 32 years

With so many plants now offline, Reuters reported that French wholesale 
2017 power prices hit a contract high of €45.60/MWh on October 27, with 
more gains possible in the coming weeks and months. Additionally, prices 
in Germany, Europe’s largest power supplier, are also rising. As that 
nation diversified its power sources and bulked up its renewable 
capacity, much of its conventional fleet has become underutilized or 
marginalized. Many of those German plants are now revving up as they 
send power into France, thanks to a high level of interconnectivity. Not 
coincidentally, Reuters reported that German year-ahead power prices hit 
a two-year high of €33.65/MWh in late October as well.

Questionable Materials and Documentation

At the heart of France’s nuclear crisis are two problems. One concerns 
the carbon content of critical steel parts, steam heat exchangers, and 
other components manufactured or supplied by AREVA SA, the French 
state-owned nuclear engineering firm and global producer of nuclear 
reactors. The second problem concerns forged, falsified, or incomplete 
quality control reports about the critical components themselves.

Excessive levels of carbon in the steel parts could make them more 
brittle and subject to sudden fracture or tearing under sustained high 
pressure, which is obviously unacceptable. Initially discovered at the 
troubled 1.65-GW Flamanville 3 project (Figure 1) in 2014—one of the 
first in the vaunted European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) nuclear plant 
series that EDF also plans to use at the newly approved Hinkley Point C 
plant in England—more flaws have since been discovered throughout the 
existing nuclear fleet.

An internal probe of the forge at Le Creusot (Figure 2), where many of 
the components in question were created, has uncovered new anomalies. 
According to an October Bloomberg report, AREVA is now reviewing all 
9,000 manufacturing records at the forge dating back as far as 1943, 
including files from 

[Biofuel] Big Oil Is in Big Trouble

2016-10-31 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Oct. 31, 2016 08:20AM EST

Big Oil Is in Big Trouble

Oil Change International Oil Change International

 By Andy Rowell

Something significant happened on Friday that warrants more than just a 
few column inches in a newspaper.

With the most divisive presidential election in U.S. history just days 
away from concluding, it is easy to understand why more is not being 
made of the news, but just to tell you something seismic happened on 
Friday last week.

The world's largest listed oil company, Exxon, announced that it was 
going to have to cut its reported proved reserves by just under a 
fifth—by 19 percent.

It would be the biggest reserve revision in the history of the oil 
industry. It is yet another sign that Big Oil is in big trouble.

For years people have been warning that Big Oil's business model was 
fundamentally flawed and was not only putting the climate at risk, but 
millions of dollars of shareholders' money.

For years the industry's critics warned the industry was ignoring the 
risks of climate change and was just caring on drilling regardless.

But the oilmen did what the oilmen do: find oil and gas, no matter the 

And the worst oil company has been Exxon which for decades has denied 
climate change and the impact that climate change will have on its business.

For decades it could have invested wisely in renewables but it carried 
on looking for oil and gas—including unconventional oil which is even 
more carbon intensive than conventional oil. Its critics warned this was 
pure folly: but the oilmen carried on drilling anyway.

Big Oil is used to doing things its own way.

The warnings have kept coming, but the boys from Exxon didn't listen. 
Oil Change International,, Carbon Tracker and many others in the 
#keepintheground movement have been saying for years that large swathes 
of oil reserves must stay in the ground.

They warned that fossil fuel reserves will become "stranded assets."

Exxon often dismissed its critics as irrelevant lentil-eating, sandal 
wearing hippies, who wanted to take humanity back to the stone age.

 And it carried on drilling. And it dismissed the fact that any of its 
assets could become stranded.

But then came the Paris agreement on climate change last December. "With 
the Paris agreement on climate ratified in December 2015 … no company 
has more to lose than Exxon," noted the Chicago Tribune in a great 
article written last Friday entitled, Exxon enters no man's land.

The Chicago Tribune continued:

"Big oil companies have been solid investments for years, with a 
deceptively simple business model: Find at least as much new oil as you 
sell, book those barrels as future sales and reinvest in the hunt for 
new reserves. That made sense as long as oil prices went up, but it 
locked companies into a vicious cycle of replenishment, leading them to 
search for ever more extreme, and expensive, sources of crude oil in the 
Arctic and beneath the oceans."

And it added:

"Cheap oil has stopped that business cold and the threat of climate 
action raises fundamental questions about whether it'll ever be viable 

The issue of long term viability has been raised by numerous 
organizations over the last eighteen months too. Last year the energy 
watch-dog, the International Energy Agency, argued that two thirds of 
known reserves would have to stay unburnt, if we are to keep climate 
change to the limits agreed in Paris.

But Exxon carried on drilling.

Last year Citigroup issued a report warning policies to limit climate 
change could render vast swaths of oil companies' reserves worthless, 
leading to trillions in losses.

But Exxon ignored the warnings.

In May this year, the London-based Chatham House warned in a report, 
entitled The Death of the Old Business Model, that the world's largest 
oil companies "Faced with the choice of managing a gentle decline by 
downsizing or risking a rapid collapse by trying to carry on business as 

Importantly, most of Exxon's de-booked reserves, about 3.6bn barrels, 
will be at the company's dirty Kearl oil sands project in Canada. The 
reduction would account for over three quarters of the reserves. Not 
only are tar sands very energy intensive, but they are expensive to produce.

In a low oil price, carbon-constrained world, they are stranded assets.

"For the oil sands, this is a tipping point," argued Andrew Logan, 
director of the oil and gas program at the ethical investment 
organization, Ceres. "Why would any company invest billions of dollars 
in a new oil-sands project now, given the near certainty that the world 
will be transitioning away from fossil fuels during the decades it will 
take for that project to pay back?"

Indeed, two days before Friday's announcement an article on CNN Money 
noted just how much trouble the oil giant was in: 

[Biofuel] Oceans 'absolutely choked' by plastic bottles and microplastic fibres - Home | The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti | CBC Radio

2016-10-31 Thread Darryl McMahon

[If anyone is interested, I have a solution paper I can share.]

Monday October 31, 2016

Oceans 'absolutely choked' by plastic bottles and microplastic fibres

You would hope that a $140,000 dollar coastal cleanup that involved 
hundreds of volunteers and used a helicopter and a barge would leave the 
beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island looking pretty good.

But Rob O'Dea says when the Living Oceans Society finished slinging 40 
tonnes of garbage (mostly plastic) from shore to the "GarBarge" many 
beaches were still "absolutely choked" with water bottles, fishing gear, 
and fishing totes the size of hot tubs.

"We maybe picked up five to ten per cent of what's on just the beaches 
of Vancouver Island," he tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

O'Dea estimates a third of it drifted in as a result of the tsunami that 
hit Japan in 2011, but most it was from more routine sources.

"And up in Cape Scott, this was the third year that our organization has 
cleaned up those beaches, and each year there's more on the beach than 
there was the year before."

To add to the troubles, the million-dollar gift from the government of 
Japan that helped fund this work is now exhausted.

Meanwhile, Max Liboiron and her students at Memorial University are 
studying the plastic in the waters and sea creatures around 
Newfoundland. She applauds the cleanup on the west coast, but says "it's 
like bailing out a boat before you've plugged the hole."

"The problem with plastics is that they're very light, they endure for a 
long time, and the ocean is downhill from everything, Liboiron tells 

And once they get into the ocean, they break apart into smaller and 
smaller pieces, toxicants collect on them, and then they enter the food 
chain, and may affect human health in "insidious ways."

Liboiron says reducing the amount of plastic that's made is the only way 
to begin to address the problem.

Listen to the full conversation.  []

This segment was produced by Halifax network producer Alex Mason.
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[Biofuel] Zombie wind and solar? How repowering old facilities helps renewables keep cutting costs | Utility Dive

2016-10-30 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images and links in on-line article]

Zombie wind and solar? How repowering old facilities helps renewables 
keep cutting costs

Old facilities are beginning to be replaced with newer, more efficient 
technologies, cutting costs and delivering more power

Renewable energy is a growth industry, so most media attention goes to 
installment numbers, expansion rates, and cost declines. Less is paid to 
the other side of the equation — what happens to facilities when they 
reach the end of their productive lives.

For most fossil facilities, reaching a retirement age means being 
decommissioned and demolished, if not retrofitted with a new turbine and 
cleaner fuel. But despite some persistent media rumors of “abandoned” 
wind turbines or assertions from a certain presidential candidate that 
"half of [turbines] are broken" or "rusted and rotting," the end of one 
renewable energy facility’s life most often marks the beginning of another.

Most solar farms are too new to be retired yet, but the first U.S. wind 
projects, built in the 1980s and 1990s, are reaching the end of their 
productive lives. Output is dwindling, maintenance costs are climbing, 
and new technologies make the turbines obsolete.

But the existing sites, with ready transmission connections and high 
wind potential, make them ideal candidates for what the industry calls 
Wind developers and industry experts say projects repowered with new 
technologies will qualify for another ten-year round of the $0.023/kWh 
federal production tax credit (PTC), extended at the end of last year. 
That would allow them to win new, low-priced power purchase agreements 
(PPAs) with utilities or meet the low prices in today’s wholesale 
electricity markets.

“New wind turbines’ taller towers increase wind capture by 44% and their 
longer blades increase wind capture another 57%,” said American Wind 
Energy Industries (AWEA) Research Director Michael Goggin.

“At the same, advanced generator, gearbox, and component technologies 
have lowered turbines’ cost per MW,” Goggin added. “The result is a 
lower cost per MW and more MWh generated for the cost, which is driving 
the levelized cost of energy down.”

Contracts for the oldest projects’ output are largely expired, said John 
Hensley, AWEA manager of energy data. But IRS rulings on the PTC support 
financing project repowering. And the advanced technologies, along with 
their relative readiness for development, allow project owners to enter 
into PPAs or sell into energy markets at competitive prices.

The potential for repowering

The bulk of U.S. repowering so far has been at the Altamont, San 
Gorgonio, and Tehachapi Pass sites in California where the first U.S. 
utility-scale installations were built, Goggin said. The early 
generation of turbines were having increasing maintenance issues at 
sites identified for very high quality wind.

Repowering at Altamont has a unique driver. A historic 2010 agreement 
was brokered between the state and NextEra Energy by then-Attorney 
General and now Governor Jerry Brown to settle longstanding concerns 
about avian harms.

The developer agreed to replace 2,400 of the 30-plus year old turbines 
that were committing the most egregious offenses with 100 newer, taller 
turbines with slower blade rotation speeds.

The new turbines are also being sited more benignly and have other 
scientifically validated high-tech bird protections. Each of the new 
turbines will produce as much as 23 times the wind-generated 
electricity, according to local news reports.

With the extension of the PTC at the end of 2015, interest in repowering 
elsewhere accelerated as developers looked again at similarly wind-rich 
sites across the country where older projects’ PTC eligibility has 
expired. “The 61% decline in the LCOE for wind from 2009 to 2015 is 
making repowering an attractive option,” Goggin said.

Repowering can be “full” or “partial.” Full repowering is the complete 
dismantling and replacement of turbine equipment at an existing project 
site, while partial repowering involves replacing selected turbine or 
plant components to extend the life of a facility.

Under IRS ruling 94-31, retrofitted facilities can qualify for tax 
incentives even if they contain some used property.

The IRS 80/20 Rule governs the use of the PTC for partial repowering, 
Goggin said. Widely used for other types of power plants, it essentially 
requires that 80% of a power plant must be replaced in order to qualify.

A January 2015 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory 
estimated there will likely be only “a few hundred megawatts per year” 
of repowering by the early 2020s, assuming an average project life 
between 20 and 25 years.

The report forecasts a 1 GW to 3 GW U.S. repowering market by the late 
2020s and an estimated repowering market 

[Biofuel] 30 Powerful Photos Show Standoff Between Militarized Police and Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors

2016-10-30 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images and links  in on-line article]

Oct. 29, 2016 08:26AM EST

30 Powerful Photos Show Standoff Between Militarized Police and Dakota 
Access Pipeline Protestors

Annie Leonard

 The 2,000 water protectors who have gathered to oppose the pipeline's 
construction were met today by the Morton County Sheriff Department, who 
removed people and their camping gear.

Heavily armed authorities pushed through a supply area for the Water 
Protectors blockade Thursday. The public witnessed a new level of 
escalation that day in the Native struggle at Standing Rock, as police 
swept through an encampment in the direct path of the Dakota Access 
pipeline. The resulting standoff with the National Guard, and police 
officers from various states, led to 141 arrests. Advancing authorities 
attacked Water Protectors with flash grenades, bean bag launchers, 
pepper spray and Long Range Acoustic Devices. It is crucial that people 
recognize that Standing Rock is part of an ongoing struggle against 
colonial violence. The Dakota Access pipeline is a front of struggle in 
a long-erased war against Native peoples—a war that has been active 
since first contact, and waged without interruption.

Greenpeace stands in solidarity with and lends full support to the water 
protectors at Standing Rock, and we recognize the rights and sovereignty 
of the Standing Rock Sioux, accorded by the Fort Laramie Treaties of 
1851 and 1868. We call on President Obama to use his executive power to 
revoke the permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline 
immediately. And we reject the actions of North Dakota law enforcement 
in favoring the interests of Energy Transfer Partners and the fossil 
fuel industry over the rights of this land's inhabitants. We join in 
proclaiming the sacred power of water and the responsibility we have to 
protect it at all costs. And we urge our government to respect the 
sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux, whose constitutional right to 
peacefully protest has been unjustly met by a militarized police force.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a direct threat to the life, rights and 
water of the Standing Rock Sioux. It is unconscionable that a 
militarized force was deployed to serve a massive pipeline to move 
dirty, fracked oil that would threaten our climate and the 
life-sustaining water of the Missouri River. And, despite law 
enforcement's effort to jam video feeds coming out of the camps today, 
seeing those forces moving against Indigenous people will only galvanize 
the public rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline and all it stands for.

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[Biofuel] North Dakota pipeline activists say arrested protesters were kept in dog kennels - LA Times

2016-10-30 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images in on-line article]

North Dakota pipeline activists say arrested protesters were kept in dog 

By Sandy Tolan

After a night of chaotic clashes with police on the front lines in a 
months-long protest, Native American activists complained about the 
force wielded to drive protesters from the path of a pipeline they 
contend will desecrate tribal lands and put their lone source of 
drinking water at risk.

Protesters said that those arrested in the confrontation had numbers 
written on their arms and were housed in what appeared to be dog 
kennels, without bedding or furniture. Others said advancing officers 
sprayed mace and pelted them with rubber bullets.

“It goes back to concentration camp days,” said Mekasi Camp-Horinek, a 
protest coordinator who said authorities wrote a number on his arm when 
he was housed in one of the mesh enclosures with his mother, Casey.

At least 141 people were arrested Thursday after hundreds of police 
officers in riot gear, flanked by military vehicles releasing 
high-pitched “sound cannon” blasts, moved slowly forward, firing clouds 
of pepper spray at activists who refused to move.

Authorities claimed some protesters turned violent during the 
confrontation, setting fires, tossing Molotov cocktails and, in one 
instance, pulling out a gun and firing on officers.

Some of the activists claimed Friday that police had opened fire with 
rubber bullets on protesters and horses. One horse was euthanized after 
being shot in the leg, said Robby Romero, a Native American activist.

“They were shooting their rubber bullets at our horses,” he said. “We 
had to put one horse down,” he said.

Camp-Horinek said authorities entered the teepees that activists had 
erected in the path of the pipeline, a four-state, 1,200-mile conduit to 
carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois.

“It looked like a scene from the 1800s, with the cavalry coming up to 
the doors of the teepees, and flipping open the canvas doors with 
automatic weapons,” he said.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II called for a Justice 
Department investigation into the police tactics. Amnesty International 
announced Friday it was sending a human rights delegation to investigate 
and Sen. Bernie Sanders asked the White House to order the Army Corps of 
Engineers to temporarily halt construction of the pipeline.

“DOJ can no longer ignore our requests,” Archambault said in a 
statement. “If harm comes to any who come here to stand in solidarity 
with us, it is on their watch.”

Authorities have said all along that they have used restraint in the 
ongoing dispute and had pleaded for activists to retreat from the path 
of the pipeline and return to the camp where they have been gathered for 

Most of those arrested were expected to be charged with criminal 
trespassing, engaging in a riot and conspiracy to endanger by fire, 
according to the sheriff's department. Several fires broke out during 
the confrontation, and sheriff’s officials said seven protesters used 
“sleeping dragon” devices to attach themselves to vehicles or other 
heavy objects. The maneuver typically involves protesters handcuffing 
themselves together through PVC pipe, making it difficult for 
authorities to remove them using bolt cutters to break the handcuffs.

The protest in the rugged lands along the Cannonball River has lasted 
months as activists — sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands — have 
assembled to decry the pipeline project.

But on Friday, with protesters cleared from the path of the pipeline, 
work was expected to resume on the $3.78-billion Dakota Access Pipeline, 
operated by the Fortune 500 company Energy Transfer Partners.

“When I left the bus in handcuffs, DAPL [Dakota Access Pipeline] trucks 
were lined up down the highway with construction equipment and materials 
waiting to come in and begin work,” said Camp-Horinek.

State and county police, the North Dakota National Guard and an oil 
company private security team cleared protesters, along with the teepees 
and tents they had erect in the path of the pipeline, and on Friday, 
authorities removed the final roadblocks that protesters had erected 
along the highway.

For the most part, protesters remained peaceful during Thursday’s 
confrontation, though at one point, an activist set fire to a heap of 
tires that were part of a blockade set up to impede the progress of 
advancing officers.

Sheriff’s officials said that one woman, while being arrested, pulled 
out a weapon and fired three rounds in the direction of the police 
lines. No one was hit, authorities said.

Activists denied that the woman fired the shots and claimed that 
sheriff’s officials previously had made erroneous reports about 
protesters’ actions, including passing along rumors of pipe bombs in the 
activists’ camp.

“The only gunshots that were fired would 

[Biofuel] Russia voted off UN Human Rights Council - The Boston Globe

2016-10-30 Thread Darryl McMahon

Russia voted off UN Human Rights Council

By Michael Astor Associated Press  October 28, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — The General Assembly voted Russia off the UN Human 
Rights Council on Friday, a stunning rebuke to the country, which is 
increasingly being accused of war crimes over its actions in Syria.

The 193-member General Assembly elected 14 members to 47-nation council, 
the United Nations’ main body charged with promoting and protecting 
human rights.

Russia, which received 112 votes, lost its regional seat to Hungary, 
with 144 votes, and Croatia with 114 votes.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin played down the importance of the 

‘‘It was a very close vote and very good countries competing, Croatia, 
Hungary. They are fortunate because of their size, they are not exposed 
to the winds of international diplomacy. Russia is very exposed,’’ he said.

Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, Brazil, Rwanda, Cuba, South Africa, 
Japan, Tunisia, the United States and United Kingdom also won seats on 
the council. Guatemala was the only country running for a seat beside 
Russia to not be elected.

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[Biofuel] In a loss for ExxonMobil, NY Supreme Court orders oil giant to produce climate documents - The Washington Post

2016-10-26 Thread Darryl McMahon

In a loss for ExxonMobil, NY Supreme Court orders oil giant to produce 
climate documents

By Steven Mufson October 26 at 5:45 PM

In a loss for ExxonMobil, the New York State Supreme Court has ordered 
the oil giant and its accounting firm to produce documents subpoenaed in 
a highly charged investigation of whether the company concealed from 
investors and the public what it knew about climate change as long as 
four decades ago.

The New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who issued a 
subpoena in August, sought on Oct. 14 to force PricewaterhouseCoopers to 
provide the documents after ExxonMobil said it would not permit PwC to 
provide certain documents based on a Texas statute that Exxon said 
provided “accountant-client privilege.”

The New York Court ruled that Exxon’s interpretation of the Texas 
statute was “flawed,” and said the Texas statute does not preclude PwC 
from producing the documents requested by the New York attorney 
general’s office. The court also stated that New York law, rather than 
Texas law, governed the dispute.

“We are pleased with the Court’s order and look forward to moving 
full-steam ahead with our fraud investigation of Exxon,” Schneiderman 
said in a statement. “Exxon had no legal basis to interfere with PwC’s 
production, and I hope that today’s order serves as a wake up call to 
Exxon that the best thing they can do is cooperate with, rather than 
resist, our investigation.”

ExxonMobil, however, said it would challenge the order. “We respectfully 
disagree with the court’s ruling and intend to take an immediate 
appeal,” said ExxonMobil spokesman Alan T. Jeffers in an email. The 
company could appeal to the New York state appellant division and later 
to the Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

The legal maneuvering is the latest round in a dispute over whether 
ExxonMobil knew decades ago that climate change was a real threat and 
whether it improperly concealed that information from investors and the 
public. That could be a violation of the Martin Act, which gives the New 
York attorney general broad power to pursue fraud cases. Schneiderman 
and other attorneys general, in an unusual step, held a press conference 
in March vowing to work together to combat climate change, including 
through the investigation of ExxonMobil.

Exxon has asserted that it did not conceal material information and 
accused the attorneys general of having a political agenda. The company 
said the subpoenas alone would chill companies’ internal research and 
free speech.

ExxonMobil has produced more than a million pages of documents, but it 
has also asked a Texas federal court to issue a preliminary injunction 
blocking the need for the company to comply with similar subpoenas 
issued by  Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. U.S. District 
Court Judge Ed Kinkeade of Texas did not grant the injunction, but on 
Oct. 13 he issued a discovery order for ExxonMobil to examine Healey’s 
internal documents and records to determine whether she acted in “bad 
faith” in issuing her subpoena. ExxonMobil later asked the judge to add 
Schneiderman’s name to the order.

Healey has asked the court to vacate its order and dismiss Exxon’s suit.
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[Biofuel] Deepwater Horizon Continues to Impact Public Health

2016-10-26 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Deepwater Horizon Continues to Impact Public Health

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 09:20 By s.e. smith, Care2 | Report

It's hard to believe that the Deepwater Horizon incident, which 
discharged over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, 
happened six years ago. What's not hard to believe is that the 
environmental health implications of the spill are stubbornly lingering.

Gulf residents of variety of species are paying a high price for it -- 
so high that litigation against BP for its role in the spill, officially 
deemed "negligent," is likely to continue for decades as people fight to 
get help with ongoing medical expenses.

Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced 
that the spill was linked to an uptick in dolphin deaths, illustrating 
that this unprecedented release of petroleum products in the Gulf had a 
lasting health impact for animals.

Similarly, abnormalities in heart development among fish have also been 
connected to Deepwater Horizon exposure. Part of the problem is that 
sediments remain coated in oil and sludge. Because it was impossible to 
clean up every drop of crude from the Gulf, the oil that settled to the 
bottom continues to interfere with the embryonic development of a range 
of fish species.

But humans aren't doing too well either.

In the aftermath of the spill, people were exposed both to crude 
petroleum and to Corexit, a chemical dispersant used in unprecedented 
volumes during the cleanup.

Subsequent research has shown that in addition to having some hazardous 
health effects on its own, the combination of Corexit and the type of 
crude spilled during the Deepwater Horizon incident packs a hefty punch 
for marine animals.

In the weeks following the spill, first responders reported symptoms 
like rashes, respiratory problems, headaches, seizures and depression. 
In response to the complains, agencies closely monitored these individuals.

As the years went by, enough significant health problems arose for a 
class action lawsuit against BP. The company eventually agreed to a 
settlement that included the potential for filing future claims related 
to exposure.

Those "future claims" are ringing the doorbell now.

And they're not just coming from first responders. Those exposed to oil 
in other ways, including from living and working around the areas where 
oil washed ashore and handling clothing and tools used by first 
responders, are developing persistent health problems.

While it's too early to definitively link all their reported symptoms to 
the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the individuals claim that conditions 
like pneumonia, leukemia, infertility, nerve damage, cognitive 
disabilities and endocrine disorders are a result of their exposure to 
oil and solvents.

These kinds of health issues have been connected to other oil spills in 
the past, but BP is dragging its feet on helping with health expenses, 
which can be ruinously expensive in the the United States.

These lingering problems highlight the fact that the problems associated 
with an oil spill don't end when the last news camera goes away and the 
last containment boom is pulled up.

People in the Gulf will be dealing with Deepwater Horizon for decades, 
especially those who live in low-income communities. Given this reality, 
the government is conducting longitudinal studies on people who were 
exposed to analyze potential long-term health impacts.

While that research may help victims of the next big oil spill, it's 
hollow for Deepwater Horizon survivors who lost their livelihoods -- and 
their health -- to the disaster.

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[Biofuel] 'The largest iceberg in decades broke free from a North American glacier – and no one noticed.'

2016-10-26 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links, images and videos in on-line article]

'The largest iceberg in decades broke free from a North American glacier 
– and no one noticed.'

By Pakalolo

Tuesday Oct 25, 2016 · 9:28 AM EST

Porcupine Glacier is a 12 and a half mile long outlet glacier of an 
icefield in the Hoodoo Mountains in northern British Columbia. During 
late August of 2016 it calved a large iceberg but it was just recently 
discovered via satellite images. It took us almost two months to notice 
what’s been described as “the biggest calving event in North America” in 
recent memory. The ice chunk is described as “the largest single iceberg 
(by area) to calve from a North American glacier in recent decades”

The American Geophysical Union notes the significance of this discovery.

“During 2016 the glacier had a 1.2 square kilometer iceberg break 
off, leading to a retreat of 1.7 km in one year. This is an unusually 
large iceberg to calve off in a proglacial lake, the largest ever seen 
in British Columbia or Alaska… The retreat of this glacier is similar to 
a number of other glaciers in the area: Great Glacier, Chickamin 
Glacier, South Sawyer Glacier and Bromley Glacier. The retreat is driven 
by an increase in snowline/equilibrium line elevations which in 2016 is 
at 1700 m, similar to that on South Sawyer Glacier in 2016.”

Until recently, massive glacier fractures like what just happened at 
Porcupine didn’t really happen in North America. Unfortunately, over the 
past several decades, they’ve been increasing in frequency.

The Landsat 8 satellite passed over Porcupine Glacier on August 27, 
2016, and observed the large, new iceberg (top). The second image shows 
the glacier as it appeared to Landsat 8 on August 27, 2015. The 
false-color images show the landscape in shortwave infrared bands at 
30-meter resolution, a view that provides better distinction between 
ice, snow, and water.

As glacial ice thins, it melts from above and below, becoming more 
susceptible to rifts; eventually icebergs break off along those cracks. 
In the case of Porcupine, the iceberg broke off from a floating “ice 
tongue.” Such ice formations float on a small amount of water, lacking 
the structural support of a grounded terminus tongue, which is held up 
by the earth and rock on the seafloor or riverbed beneath it.

The iceberg from Porcupine comes from an ice tongue measuring 0.74 
square miles (1.2 square kilometers). Tongues of this size typically 
occur in massive iced-over areas like the Larsen Ice Shelf, but are rare 
in relatively small Alaskan glaciers.

Unlike smaller chunks that fall into the water, this iceberg likely 
didn’t make much of a splash when it parted from the glacier, Pelto 
said. “It would have been more like if you’re pushing off from the shore 
in a canoe. It didn’t break off and fall in.”

In late August 2016, a deep rift widened and an iceberg heaved away 
from the Porcupine Glacier in northern British Columbia. Glaciologist 
Mauri Pelto, who has been analyzing satellite imagery of glaciers since 
the 1980s, called it “the biggest calving event in North America” that 
he has ever seen.

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[Biofuel] Offshore drilling ‘incident’ a harrowing warning | Toronto Star

2016-10-25 Thread Darryl McMahon

Offshore drilling ‘incident’ a harrowing warning

Both Shell and the industry regular are to blame for a near oil drilling 
disaster that could have contaminated the Nova Scotia coastline

By Peter Puxley

Tues., Oct. 25, 2016

Shell Oil’s Stena IceMAX drill ship, drilling for oil on March 5th, two 
kilometres below the surface of the Atlantic on the edge of the Scotian 
Shelf, was the site of what regulators euphemistically call an “incident.”

Battling unexpectedly high waves, the drill ship crew successfully 
secured the well and disconnected the ship from the wellhead to protect 
the operation. Shortly after, the riser, a 2,100 metre-long protective 
series of 21-inch diameter pipes, each weighing 20 tonnes, broke free of 
the drill ship before it moved clear of the site. The riser pipes fell 
to the ocean floor missing the wellhead by a mere 12 metres.

A Shell investigation of the “incident” was monitored and matched by an 
internal review by the regulator, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore 
Petroleum Board (CNSOPB). The federal/provincial CNSOPB is the 
equivalent of the National Energy Board, regulating oil industry 
activity in our offshore.

In June, after receiving Shell’s report on the event, Stuart Pink, the 
CNSOPB’s chief executive officer, declared, “We are satisfied that the 
cause of the incident has been properly determined and that appropriate 
corrective actions have been taken so that drilling may resume safely.”

The CNSOPB released only a summary of Shell’s investigation report, 
omitting key facts, such as the near hit at the wellhead when the riser 
pipes hit the seabed, and the poor preparedness of personnel for 
handling the technology connecting the riser stem and the drill ship. 
Those facts, and the full extent of what might better be described as a 
potential disaster, rather than a mere “incident”, came to light when 
the Halifax Examiner obtained the full report through a freedom of 
information request.

The lessons the CNSOPB drew from the event related to technology, 
procedure, training and competence, and a commitment to ensure the risk 
of a recurrence was minimal. The rest of us might reach other 
conclusions from this near disaster.

Simply put, the failure to foresee and plan for the heavy seas that are 
common where the deep Atlantic rolls up onto the continental shelf south 
of Nova Scotia, is a failure of both the operator, Shell, and more 
importantly, the regulator, the CNSOPB. They illustrate a fundamental 
characteristic Canadians are discovering in regulatory agencies across 
the country — they are captives of the industries they regulate. As 
such, they are ill-suited to the task of risk assessment in the broader 
public interest.

Assessing risk is an inexact art that is only half the challenge. The 
other half is determining what is an acceptable risk. That determination 
must include those most likely to bear the costs of a catastrophe.

Shell is drilling Cheshire and its sister well, Monterey Jack, in water 
deeper than almost any other well in the world, significantly deeper 
than BP’s Deepwater Horizon well.

Reliable experience in such deep water is almost non-existent. As the 
National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill concluded in its 
report to U.S. President Obama, “Deepwater energy exploration and 
production, particularly at the frontiers of experience, involve risks 
for which neither industry nor government has adequately prepared, but 
for which they can and must be prepared in the future.”

Shell’s exploratory wells lie close to our most productive sustainable 
fishery, to key spawning and nursery grounds for scallops, lobster, 
haddock and halibut, and not far from the massive daily tidal in- and 
outflow from the Bay of Fundy. Clearly, deciding acceptable risk must 
involve southwestern Nova Scotia communities dependent on those 
resources. A blowout would have catastrophic consequences.

Today, the interests of the people of this region rest on assurances 
from the CNSOPB, whose members are overwhelmingly oil industry veterans, 
unrepresentative of those who bear the risks resulting from the agency’s 

There may have been a time, before we truly understood the risk of 
further developing our non-renewable, dirty energy resources, or before 
we truly appreciated the importance of sustainable resource industries, 
such as the fishery or tourism, when risk assessment could be left to a 
self-serving industry. But knowing what we know now, to continue with 
that model of regulation is clearly senseless.

The lesson of Shell’s recent “incident” at its Cheshire well is that we 
need to democratize the process of deciding if we can safely drill for 
oil, and whether and where the risks of doing so are acceptable. Until 
we take steps to ensure full and informed public involvement in those 

Re: [Biofuel] Sweden on track to attain 100% green objective by 2040

2016-10-25 Thread Darryl McMahon
Sorry, Sweden is not an oil exporter.  I confused it with Norway. 
Someday I hope to visit at least one of them so the difference will be 
clear to me in a personal way.


On 10/25/2016 9:22 AM, Darryl McMahon wrote:

[An oil-exporting nation and example for Canada to emulate.  Sweden has
an aggressive set of incentives for zero-emissions vehicles, which is

Sweden on track to attain 100% green objective by 2040


Sweden is on course to produce all its energy from green sources by
2040, a top regulatory official from the country declared late on Monday.

Renewables such as hydro and wind last year represented 57 percent of
the Nordic nation's 159 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity generation,
with most of the remaining deriving from nuclear, according to Anne
Vadasz Nilsson, Director General of the Swedish Energy Markets
Inspectorate. Swedish production of wind power has progressively
increased since it becomes more cost-efficient, and it now accounts for
10 percent of the country's total energy output, from almost zero
several years ago, as she stated. Sweden targets to add 18
terawatt-hours (TWh) of yearly clean electricity production by 2030. It
does not intend to subsidise more nuclear energy and it is improbable
that any new atomic reactors will be constructed given low electricity
prices, declared Vadasz Nilsson. That is in spite of an agreement
earlier this year to reduce taxes on nuclear power generators. Four of
Sweden's 10 nuclear reactors are presently being phased out, she
mentioned. Nuclear power has come under amplified inspection around the
world in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011. Sweden has no
immediate plans to construct any new hydropower plants because of
environmental concerns, according to her.
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[Biofuel] Swedish tax cuts increase biodiesel use, ethanol fails to keep up | Biofuels International Magazine

2016-10-25 Thread Darryl McMahon

October 24, 2016

Swedish tax cuts increase biodiesel use, ethanol fails to keep up

The Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio) estimates that the August tax 
cuts given to biofuels in Sweden had a large effect on commercial 
transport, but the impact on E85 in private transport was more meagre.

“Private motorists seem to not be aware that after 1 August it’s become 
cheaper for them to fuel their cars with E85 ethanol than petrol if they 
have flex fuel engines,” said Svebio CEO Gustav Melin in a statement.

The sales of 100% biodiesel increased in August, with both rapeseed and 
hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) reaching year-high sales figures.

Rapeseed diesel sales increased by 33% and HVO diesel sales by 23% from 
the situation in July 2015.

Total sales of HVO diesel decreased at the same time, however, which may 
indicate diminishing blending with regular diesel.

Sales of E85 ethanol remained static, despite the tax reductions for 
both rapeseed diesel and ethanol.

“If we can inform motorists that fuelling their vehicles with E85 pays 
off, they would not only save money but also help cut back on carbon 
emissions from transport. Commercial transport has already begun a 
large-scale transition to 100% biodiesel. Many trucking companies and 
transport service users want to reduce their climate impact, that is 
obvious from the statistics,” Melin said.

However, on the reasons of why the percentage of biodiesel in the fuel 
supply is falling in Sweden, he said we could only “speculate”.

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Re: [Biofuel] The Change in the Change of Seasons

2016-10-25 Thread Darryl McMahon
That financialization mentality is why I have long argued for a carbon 
tax with enough bite to be notice.  At least in BC where you are, there 
is a real carbon tax, and even at relatively modest levels, it does seem 
to be having an impact.  (overall fossil fuel in BC has been falling 
since the tax was put into effect)

I had a longish highway drive yesterday to and from an out-of-town 
meeting.  A large work crew with a lot of equipment was laying fresh 
asphalt on the road.  A decade ago, nobody around here would have 
considered paving a heavy use roadway in October.

I'm trying to see if I can push our house to Nov. 1 before activating 
the furnace.  In years past, a few considered me radical for trying to 
get to Oct. 1 before doing that.  In my childhood, the furnace main 
switch was turned on sometime in September.

Is there any sign of local (BC) awareness of the Nathan E. Stewart 
sinking near Bella Bella, or is anyone connecting that lame response 
with the M/V Marathassa bunker oil dump last year?  Yesterday's 
(non-)responses from Coast Guard Commissioner Jody Thomas bordered on 
offensive.  Nobody is talking about the fact that the 'world leading' 
spill response promised by the feds and oil industry simply can't get on 
scene, let alone work effectively, in a timely manner during weather 
conditions which are not unusual in that area.


On 10/22/2016 7:13 PM, robert and benita rabello wrote:

On 10/22/2016 14:59, Darryl McMahon wrote:

I have a few minutes to think and reflect today.

It's 2 weeks after the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.  I still have a
lot to do to get ready for winter.  But in my memory, we had to have
most of this done by the end of Thanksgiving weekend, because hard
freezes were due, and a soft freeze might have happened.  Even just 5
years ago.

I hear you. We've built a new home and moved back to Summerland,
where we lived 22 years ago. Okanagan Lake used to freeze over from
Penticton to Summerland, but now it barely freezes around the shallow
edges of its southern shore. I remember seeing ice fog here, yet the
last two years that I've been back in the area, it's never cold enough.
We have Mourning Doves living here now. It feels like California . . .

Now that we're over the 400 ppm mark, I suspect that climate changes
we're seeing now are the beginnings of permanent changes for which we
are totally unprepared. People are strangely complacent, though . . .

When they see the evaporator panels for our Sun Pump on the roof,
the first question they ask is, "How much did it cost?" I've started
replying with, "How much is a stable climate worth?"

We're ingrained to see dollar values in everything. However, the
price of a biosphere that supports us can't be quantified. We're so
accustomed to "privatizing profits and socializing costs" that people
like me, who build for efficiency, are seen as eccentric. I shake my
head at this kind of attitude and quietly worry about the trouble that's

Robert Luis Rabello
Adventure for Your Mind

Ceremonies and Celebrations video:

Meet the People video:

Crisis video:

The Long Journey video:

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[Biofuel] Sweden on track to attain 100% green objective by 2040

2016-10-25 Thread Darryl McMahon

[An oil-exporting nation and example for Canada to emulate.  Sweden has 
an aggressive set of incentives for zero-emissions vehicles, which is 

Sweden on track to attain 100% green objective by 2040


Sweden is on course to produce all its energy from green sources by 
2040, a top regulatory official from the country declared late on Monday.

Renewables such as hydro and wind last year represented 57 percent of 
the Nordic nation's 159 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity generation, 
with most of the remaining deriving from nuclear, according to Anne 
Vadasz Nilsson, Director General of the Swedish Energy Markets 
Inspectorate. Swedish production of wind power has progressively 
increased since it becomes more cost-efficient, and it now accounts for 
10 percent of the country's total energy output, from almost zero 
several years ago, as she stated. Sweden targets to add 18 
terawatt-hours (TWh) of yearly clean electricity production by 2030. It 
does not intend to subsidise more nuclear energy and it is improbable 
that any new atomic reactors will be constructed given low electricity 
prices, declared Vadasz Nilsson. That is in spite of an agreement 
earlier this year to reduce taxes on nuclear power generators. Four of 
Sweden's 10 nuclear reactors are presently being phased out, she 
mentioned. Nuclear power has come under amplified inspection around the 
world in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011. Sweden has no 
immediate plans to construct any new hydropower plants because of 
environmental concerns, according to her.

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[Biofuel] "We've Never Seen the Government Stand Up to the Fossil Fuel Industry": Tim DeChristopher on Our Climate Future

2016-10-25 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

"We've Never Seen the Government Stand Up to the Fossil Fuel Industry": 
Tim DeChristopher on Our Climate Future

Monday, 24 October 2016 00:00 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Interview

In 2008, Tim DeChristopher found himself bidding for parcels of public 
land around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks of Utah at an 
illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction.

A climate activist acting as a bidder at the auction, DeChristopher 
ended up successfully winning 22,500 acres of land by bidding a total of 
$1.8 million, which he never intended to pay one nickel of, hence 
effectively killing the auction.

Taken into custody by federal agents, DeChristopher ended up serving 21 
months in prison for his action, despite the US Department of the 
Interior cancelling many of the leases just after the auction.

His actions thrust him into the national and international media 
spotlight. DeChristopher co-founded the group Peaceful Uprising, a 
climate justice group that describes its task as "working to build an 
uncompromising movement to defend a livable future," and remains 
committed to nonviolence while functioning effectively within the most 
violent society and government on the planet.

The urgency of his work, and that of Peaceful Uprising, could not be 
more justified.

Earth's atmosphere recently passed the 400 parts per million threshold 
of CO2. According to NASA, 11 of the last 12 months have been the 
hottest months, respectively, in the 136 years of record keeping. This 
year is, once again, on track to be another hottest year ever for the 
planet, beating last year, which was itself the hottest year yet 
recorded. In fact, 15 of the 16 hottest years ever recorded, globally, 
have happened since 2000.

This past February, in the dead of winter, a Norwegian Coast Guard 
icebreaker ship found no ice to break, despite the fact that it was 
barely 800 miles from the North Pole. This is devastating, but not 
surprising: This year, the Arctic summer sea ice tied its second lowest 
extent on record.

Satellite data now shows a very rapid acceleration in global sea level 
rise, a rate increase not seen since the end of the last Ice Age -- and 
it continues to accelerate.

Early this February, atmospheric CO2 reached a level not seen on the 
planet for more than 2.5 million years. These levels of CO2, which we 
are now living with permanently, are bringing Earth to a realm not 
experienced since the Pliocene epoch, which was the period 2.6 to 5.3 
million years ago that saw atmospheric CO2 levels between 350 and 405 
parts per million and average global temperatures that ranged between 2 
and 3 degrees Celsius warmer than the climate of the 1880s. At that 
time, there were even lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere than we have 
today, and global sea levels were 80 feet higher than they are right now.

In short, we are living in a new world, and the planet is rapidly 
adjusting to the level of heating we have imposed upon it.

Through this lens, it's clear that the actions of DeChristopher and 
other activists involved with Peaceful Uprising are both urgent and 
crucial, given that the US government is completely beholden to the 
fossil fuel industry.

Earlier this month, in what Reuters described as "the biggest 
coordinated move on US energy infrastructure ever undertaken by 
environmental protesters," activists across four states shut down five 
tar sands pipelines flowing into the US from Canada, bringing to a full 
stop the daily ration of 2.8 million gallons of tar sands crude oil.

The government responded in predictably draconian fashion by arresting 
the activists, supporting personnel and independent filmmakers. They are 
facing the most serious charges ever leveled at US climate activists: 
One of the filmmakers is facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Yet, increasing numbers of people are taking up the struggle and joining 
DeChristopher -- as well as many Indigenous activists like those at 
Standing Rock -- as the planet burns.  The fact that the government 
continues to overtly side with the fossil fuel industry is only adding 
fuel to the activists' proverbial fire.

DeChristopher has used his public presence as a platform to spread the 
message of urgency of the climate crisis along with the need for 
courageous, directly confrontational civil disobedience. His work is 
aimed at creating a just and healthy world by halting fossil fuel 
projects, and continuing to bring attention to the crisis that is upon us.

Truthout recently spoke with DeChristopher about the imperativeness of 
"moral agency," the difference between the environmental and climate 
justice movements, and the importance of spiritual resiliency in the 
face of the prospect of a collapsing civilization.

[Biofuel] Booms fixed after wind spreads diesel fuel from tug sunk near Bella Bella - British Columbia - CBC News

2016-10-23 Thread Darryl McMahon

[images in on-line article]

Booms fixed after wind spreads diesel fuel from tug sunk near Bella Bella

Spill area home to endangered abalone, clams, sea urchin and juvenile 
salmon, Heiltsuk First Nation says

By Yvette Brend, CBC News

Posted: Oct 23, 2016 7:32 AM PT Last Updated: Oct 23, 2016 1:50 PM PT

The booms containing spilled diesel from a sunken tug 20 kilometres west 
of Bella Bella have been fixed, but delays allowed the fuel to spread, 
along with fears for endangered abalone and other ocean wildlife.

Gale-force winds and three-metre waves hampered efforts to fix the 
failed booms, but officials say they've replaced the containment system.

It's unclear how much diesel fuel has spilled, but the tug had 220,000 
litres on board when it ran aground on Oct.13.

Less than half of that has been recovered, and that's fanned fears the 
fuel will threaten efforts to reintroduce endangered abalone in the 
spill area, according to the Heiltsuk First Nation.

A spokeswoman from Kirby Offshore Marine, the tug's owners, say the 
company worked to reposition and replace the booms as fast as the high 
winds and battering waves allowed.

But bad weather has stalled fixing the stressed — and in some spots 
severed — outer boom for the fourth day in a row.

The boom broke free late Friday, releasing diesel fuel which appears 
like a rainbow shimmer across the water's surface.

Winds of up to 50 knots have spread the fuel as far as a kilometre away, 
according to a press release from the Heiltsuk First Nation.

Fears are growing that the diesel will spread to Gale Passage, which is 
a "highly sensitive ecological area," says a release from First Nation.

"In the first week of the spill, we had the largest tides of the month 
at 17.4 feet," said Heiltsuk aquatics manager Mike Reid.

"Even without bad weather, the speed of tides rushing through the spill 
site are likely to flush diesel into the area," he said.

Reid is worried about diesel contamination of the passage – an area he 
believes is vital for a variety of clam species, sea cucumbers, sea 
urchin, juvenile salmon and herring, eelgrass, kelp and other marine 

The south end of Gale Passage opens into an important herring spawning 
area, and the First Nation has been working to recover endangered 
abalone in the spill area near the sunken tug.

The spokeswoman for the tug's owners says while it is unclear how much 
fuel has spread into the open water, no damaged wildlife has been 
detected or captured since the rough weather began Friday.

But Heiltsuk Chief Marilyn Slett says her community is in shock of the 
incident and is questioning why more seaworthy booms weren't installed.

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[Biofuel] 'Stakes Are Getting Higher': 83 People Arrested, Maced in North Dakota | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

2016-10-23 Thread Darryl McMahon

Published on Sunday, October 23, 2016

by Common Dreams

'Stakes Are Getting Higher': 83 People Arrested, Maced in North Dakota

Saturday's arrests follow reports of escalating police abuse at the 
protest sites, including beatings and unnecessary strip-searches of 
those arrested

by Nadia Prupis, staff writer

More than 80 people were arrested in North Dakota on Saturday, as police 
armed with pepper spray descended on a protest near the Dakota Access 
Pipeline (DAPL) construction site.

The 83 water protectors were hit with charges ranging from rioting to 
criminal trespass, according to the Morton County sheriff's department. 
The Bismarck Tribune reported:

Kellie Berns, a protester who hung back behind a fence at the 
scene, said she received reports of people being pepper-sprayed and 
thrown to the ground and described law enforcement as being more 
aggressive than in past incidents. She said protesters were encircled by 
police as they walked onto the site.

"People came back very distressed," she said of those who returned 
to the fence following the demonstration. "The pipeline is getting a lot 
closer, so the stakes are getting higher."

Protests against DAPL have been ongoing for months, as the Standing Rock 
Sioux, along with other tribes and environmental activists, say the $3.8 
billion, 1,100-mile pipeline threatens their access to clean water and 
violates Native American treaty rights.

Last week, riot charges against Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman were 
dismissed after she turned herself in to North Dakota police. An arrest 
warrant was issued after Goodman's crew videotaped a private security 
team hired by the pipeline company assaulting peaceful protesters with 
attack dogs and pepper spray. Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Deia 
Schlosberg faces up to 45 years in prison for reporting on the protests.

"This string of arrests constitutes nothing less than a war on 
journalism and a victory for fossil fuel interests that have banked on 
the pipeline," Food and Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter 
said last week.

Saturday's arrests follow reports of escalating police abuse at the 
protest sites, including beatings and unnecessary strip-searches of 
those arrested.

On Twitter, Ojibwe activist and attorney Tara Houska wrote:

Journalists, attorneys, indigenous protectors arrested & maced while 
demonstrating today. Whose interest is North Dakota protecting?

Construction on the pipeline is continuing despite a request from the 
federal government to put a halt on activity so that the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers can properly consider objections.

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[Biofuel] 'I Was Doing My Job': Climate Reporter Facing 45 Years Speaks Out | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

2016-10-22 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Published on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

by Common Dreams

'I Was Doing My Job': Climate Reporter Facing 45 Years Speaks Out

Deia Schlosberg, filmmaker arrested for documenting climate protest, 
says she believes felony charges are 'unjust'

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

The filmmaker facing a lengthy prison sentence for documenting a 
nonviolent civil disobedience action last week has spoken out on behalf 
of journalism, the First Amendment, and the global climate movement.

Deia Schlosberg, an independent filmmaker and climate reporter, was 
arrested last week in Walhalla, North Dakota for filming the 
unprecedented #ShutItDown protest held in solidarity with the Dakota 
Access Pipeline protests.

"When I was arrested, I was doing my job," Schlosberg said in a 
statement released Tuesday. "I was reporting. I was documenting. 
Journalism needs to be passionately and ethically pursued and defended 
if we are to remain a free democratic country. Freedom of the press, 
guaranteed by the First Amendment, is absolutely critical to maintaining 
an informed citizenry, without which, democracy is impossible."

According to documentarian Josh Fox, whose new film Schlosberg produced,

She was held for 48 hours before being allowed to speak to a 
lawyer. The authorities confiscated her footage. She is now charged with 
three counts of felony conspiracy and faces a possible sentence of up to 
45 years.

Saying she believes the charges "are unjust," Schlosberg offered a 
passionate defense of independent journalism that's covering the most 
important issues of our time:

I am a climate reporter; my specialty is following the story of how 
humankind is creating a grave problem for civilization by continuing to 
flood the atmosphere with greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil 
fuels and other industrial processes. I don't think there is nearly 
enough reporting on climate change nor the movement of people around the 
world working to lessen the impacts of climate change.

It is the responsibility of journalists and reporters to document 
newsworthy events, and it is particularly important for independent 
media to tell the stories that mainstream media is not covering. The 
mainstream did not break the story on fracking nor did it break the 
story about what is happening at the Standing Rock reservation in North 
Dakota, nor the stories told in my most recent film with Josh Fox, How 
to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change. 
Accordingly, I felt I had a duty to document the unprecedented 
#ShutItDown climate action, which stopped all Canadian oil sands from 
entering the United States. Canadian oil sands importation is a 
controversial issue that is not getting the coverage it warrants, 
especially considering that the extraction and use of oil sands has a 
profound impact on every person on this planet.

Schlosberg concluded by drawing attention to fellow videographers 
Lindsey Grayzel and Carl Davis, who were arrested in Washington state 
last week for filming the same action and also face preliminary felony 
charges. Grayzel told Reuters that her footage was also confiscated. 
"For reporters who are simply doing their job, which is their 
constitutionally protected right, to be facing such charges is an 
outrage," she said.

On Monday, North Dakota dismissed riot charges against Democracy Now! 
journalist Amy Goodman. The development drew praise, though Reporters 
Without Borders noted that the charges "never should have been filed in 
the first place."

Schlosberg also posted a short video on Facebook over the weekend, 
thanking people for their support and vowing to "say more in the coming 
days and weeks." Watch below:

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[Biofuel] The Change in the Change of Seasons

2016-10-22 Thread Darryl McMahon

I have a few minutes to think and reflect today.

It's 2 weeks after the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.  I still have a 
lot to do to get ready for winter.  But in my memory, we had to have 
most of this done by the end of Thanksgiving weekend, because hard 
freezes were due, and a soft freeze might have happened.  Even just 5 
years ago.

I did make the trip to our cottage on the Thanksgiving weekend this year 
to close it for the season.  It was obvious the leaves were more green 
this year than in years past.

The Canada Geese are still flying south; it's late for that.

I did have the day set aside to go pick up an electric boat being taken 
out of service by an old friend.  He and his wife too is getting older, 
and they are putting a pontoon boat (also electric) into service now for 
the run from shore to their island cottage.  The sportster layout has 
just become a struggle for them to get in and out of.  However, the 
weather is so foul, (snow and rain where the boat is today), that I 
called off the trip.  But the fact I had considered trying this trip in 
the second half of October shows I have internalized the longer warm 
season and shorter cold season than was the case when I was younger.

Instead, my wife and I pickled beets, and I'm picking at other season 
change activities.  Like making sure the charging cords for our 2 
electric cars are strung so they can't be hit by the snowthrower (also 
electric) or the tractor and plow (also electric) through the winter. 
Tomorrow I may string the Xmas lights, as that has to be done before the 
winter storm panels go up on the balcony.  Yes, it's about the carbon 
footprint and pollution (and reducing energy costs).  Same for getting 
the active solar heating system back into action.  And researching a new 
technology for an air-source heat pump which can be effective to minus 
35 degrees C.  And a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) which can operate in 
Arctic conditions without icing up.  While I believe changes in 
behaviour and attitude are more important than hoping for technology 
'miracles', I'm also willing to support R which will be beneficial. 
Sort of an 'all the above' philosophy for combating climate change.

It's distressing to see that Alaskan communities have concluded they 
have to physically move due to the effects of climate change.  We see 
the same in Canada.  The Russians are seeing the effects as well - 
methane craters as the permafrost melts.  My colleagues and I predicted 
this years ago, but those communities and senior governments chose to 
ignore this.  Now they claim its a surprise, and there's nothing to be done.

Which is why it's disappointing to see my federal government - elected 
largely on promises to take climate change seriously and reinvigorate 
environmental reviews and embrace soft energy paths - after a year in 
power has approved oil pipelines, a liquid natural gas (LNG) plant and 
shoreline terminal, and failed to show respect for our indigenous 
peoples on multiple levels.

I have been spending a lot of time on oil spill response lately. (You 
may have noticed the reduced number of my posts the past few months.) 
As our country moves inexorably to lighting the fuses on all the carbon 
bombs (increasing pipeline capacity and raising export tanker traffic by 
an order of magnitude), and with roughly weekly significant spill events 
(wells, pipelines, storage tanks, barges, ships, tankers, trains, 
trucks) across the country, there is so little interest in dealing 
effectively with the spills.

Which leads me again to the conclusion that we, as a species, need to 
stop using carbon fuels (especially fossil, and particularly those fuels 
with low energy return on energy invested) before we exterminate ourselves.

Dark thoughts on a dreary day.  Yet, I see the signs of progress, 
improvement and victory.  The continual cost reductions in solar 
(photovoltaic) and wind power.  Plunging prices on advanced batteries 
for electricity storage.  Growing numbers of EVs and greening of the 
grid.  Growing ratios of biofuels for road vehicles, trains, aircraft 
and ships.  Ships with hybrid drive systems becoming increasing common, 
and all electric ships in some niches (e.g. ferries).

Happy to see opposition is growing to the CETA (Canada-Europe Trade 
Agreement) and the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

Darryl McMahon

Freelance Project Manager (sustainable systems)
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[Biofuel] Four Harsh Truths for Canada’s Lovestruck Pipeline Politicians | The Tyee

2016-10-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links in on-line article]

Four Harsh Truths for Canada’s Lovestruck Pipeline Politicians
A reality check for our bitumen-besotted leaders.

By Andrew Nikiforuk Today |

Canadian politicians of nearly every stripe seem united, at the moment, 
in their adolescent professions of love for new pipelines. But love is 
blind, and in this case, blind to four tough truths about Canada’s 
dead-end relationship with bitumen.

Among leaders making their lovestruck pronouncements was Calgary Mayor 
Naheed Nenshi recently, who flew into B.C. and declared in all sincerity 
that pipelines shouldn’t be carrying the “sins of the carbon economy” 
and that we need more of them.

In Saskatchewan, Premier Brad Wall has compared pipelines to economic 
miracle workers even as his petro-province flounders thanks to the 
overproduction of heavy oil in a glutted market.

(Wall’s subservience to petroleum interests, by the way, has taken on 
Trump-like proportions. The province’s recent Throne Speech even dubbed 
proposals to limit climate change as “misguided dogma.”)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a Harper-lite politician with a surfboard 
no less, preaches that Canada can build pipelines and erect wind 
turbines at the same time and still fight climate change. What?

And Alberta’s New Democrat Premier Rachel Notley thinks the main 
solution to the economic woes caused by low oil prices is to export more 
of the world’s most volatile commodity and thereby keep or drive oil 
prices even lower.

Someone has to break it to them. Here goes.

There are four obvious (and very conservative) reasons why more 
pipelines don’t make any kind of economic, energy or climate sense.

These truths also explain the growing opposition to the corrupt National 
Energy Board that still approves pipelines without due process and 
ignores their impact on global pricing, let alone the science on climate 

Truth #1. There is no way to clean up bitumen spills.

Basic science shows that neither industry nor government has developed 
an effective spill response for conventional oil on the high seas. As a 
consequence, marine oil spill response remains a public relations sham 
that does not remove spilled oil or fully restore damaged marine 

Yet our bitumen-besotted politicians would have British Columbia gamble 
with its fisheries, tourism and coast on the bold lie that diluted 
bitumen, a dirtier product than crude, can be cleaned up in a timely and 
tidy fashion.

Because the low-grade heavy oil must be diluted with a gasoline-like 
product to move through a pipeline, it presents an even graver 
logistical challenge than a conventional spill. 

Two dramatic bitumen pipeline ruptures in the U.S. (Michigan and 
Arkansas) graphically illustrated how unprepared regulators and 
companies were to deal with diluted bitumen. The Enbridge spill in 
Kalamazoo, for example, caught the oil spill establishment sleeping and 
cost an incredible $1 billion to “clean up.” In the messy process, the 
company even purchased more than 150 homes.

A 2015 report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences summed up the 
nature of the dirty problem: “Spills of diluted bitumen into a body of 
water initially float and spread while evaporation of volatile compounds 
may present health and explosion hazards, as occurs with nearly all 
crude oils. It is the subsequent weathering effects, unique to diluted 
bitumen, that merit special response strategies and tactics...

“In cases where traditional removal or containment techniques are not 
immediately successful, the possibility of submerged and sunken oil 
increases. This situation is highly problematic for spill response 
because 1) there are few effective techniques for detection, 
containment, and recovery of oil that is submerged in the water column, 
and 2) available techniques for responding to oil that has sunken to the 
bottom have variable effectiveness depending on the spill conditions.”

In other words, industry has not developed “effective techniques for 
detection, containment, and recovery of submerged and sunken oils in 
aquatic environments.”

Nenshi, Trudeau and Wall might want to reread the science agency’s 
central conclusion: “Broadly, regulations and agency practices do not 
take the unique properties of diluted bitumen into account, nor do they 
encourage effective planning for spills of diluted bitumen.”

Why are Canadian politicians advocating for more pipelines when they 
haven’t yet developed the capacity or the science to clean up diluted 
bitumen on land or sea?

Truth #2. The economic case for pipelines has totally collapsed.

According to the lovestruck politicians, bitumen exports to China will 
make Canadians rich, and the sulfur-rich crude will miraculously command 
a higher dollar with marine access.

But bitumen will always require higher transportation 

[Biofuel] Why is Trudeau Backtracking On B.C.'s Oil Tanker Ban? These 86 Meetings with Enbridge Might Help Explain | DeSmog Canada

2016-10-21 Thread Darryl McMahon

[links and video in on-line article]

Why is Trudeau Backtracking On B.C.'s Oil Tanker Ban? These 86 Meetings 
with Enbridge Might Help Explain

By Carol Linnitt • Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 18:45

Since the Liberals formed government last November, Enbridge and 
Northern Gateway Pipeline have lobbied Ottawa an astounding 86 times, 
federal lobbying reports reveal.

Fifty-one of those meetings have taken place since August — which, 
funnily enough, is around the same time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 
started backtracking on his commitment to ban oil tankers on B.C.’s 
north coast, a policy that would leave Enbridge’s Northern Gateway 
pipeline proposal dead in the water.

Since October last year, representatives from Enbridge and Northern 
Gateway Pipeline met with representatives from the Prime Minister’s 
Office eight times, Transport Canada 10 times, Fisheries and Oceans 
Canada 10 times, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada 12 times, 
Natural Resources Canada 31 times, and mostly Liberal Members of 
Parliament 39 times to name just a few.

During this time Enbridge and Northern Gateway Pipeline lobbyists met 
with more than 130 top-level chiefs of staff, policy directors, and 
ministers, records show.


Diesel Spill Off B.C. Coast Creating New Urgency Around Promised Tanker Ban

The issue of oil transport along the B.C. coast has been thrust back 
into the spotlight in the wake of ongoing diesel spill recovery efforts 
near Bella Bella.

Coastal residents were in a state of disbelief last night after learning 
an emergency response vessel, sent to B.C.’s central coast to retrieve 
the diesel-leaking Nathan E. Stewart, sank beside the sunken tug in 
windswept waters.

Since October 13, cleanup of the diesel spill in the traditional waters 
of the Heiltsuk First Nation has been slow and unsuccessful, hampered by 
a lack of response equipment, relief crews and favourable weather.

This has heightened criticism of the federal government and Trudeau who 
made a clear commitment to enact an oil tanker ban for the north B.C. 
coast during his election campaign last year. Trudeau even included 
formalizing the tanker ban on the list of ‘top priorities’ in Transport 
Minister Marc Garneau’s mandate letter in early November last year.

When pressed on his promise to ban tanker traffic — a proposal some say 
is not nearly comprehensive enough to protect the coast from vessels 
like the Nathan E. Stewart —Trudeau awkwardly dodged the question.

“Over the past year there’s been a lot of underinvestment by the federal 
government in marine safety and spill response. That’s something we’re 
absolutely committed to turning around,” Trudeau told Breakfast Television.

“And one of the symbols of that — as someone who knows Vancouver and the 
Lower Mainland as well as I do — one of the first things we did was 
reopen the Kits coast guard base because we understand that having 
responders there if something happens is absolutely essential.”

Jess Housty, tribal councillor for the Heiltsuk, took to Twitter to 
express her dismay with the Prime Minister’s comments.

“Saw your interview today,” Housty tweeted. “You know Kits is ~650km 
away from Bella Bella and Seaforth Channel, right?”

“When we are talking about protecting the coast out here, for the people 
who live here, that’s life and death,” Cullen told DeSmog Canada.

“The insult is twice because the promise was twofold: one, to bring in a 
tanker ban. It’s been a year and we’re still waiting. Two, to establish 
respectful relations with First Nations.”

“This is literally killing two birds with one stone,” Cullen said.

He added Trudeau’s inability to follow through on his promises is 
indication of a dangerous duplicity.

“We are a year in and one has to wonder if there are two Justin 
Trudeaus. One that campaigns and does public events and Twitter. The 
other that meets in the private backrooms in Ottawa with more oil 
lobbyists — one would imagine by a factor of 10 — than he has with 
environmental and First Nation leaders.”

Cullen said it isn’t just the diesel spill near Bella Bella that British 
Columbians have to worry about, but the pending decision on the Kinder 
Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

“You wonder if the West Coast is being thrown under the bus for nothing 
other than political calculation.”

John Horgan, leader of the B.C.NDP, said the response to what is 
unfolding in Bella Bella at both the federal and the provincial level 
has been “frustrating” and “astounding.”

“It does really speak to an Ottawa-based arrogance to believe that 
reigniting the much-needed Coast Guard base in Vancouver is somehow a 
benefit to the coast north of Vancouver Island all the way to Prince 
Rupert,” Horgan told DeSmog Canada.

When asked about 

[Biofuel] Weather stymies cleanup of sunken B.C. tug

2016-10-21 Thread Darryl McMahon


Weather stymies cleanup of sunken B.C. tug

BELLA BELLA, B.C. — Blustery, wet weather thwarted efforts Thursday to 
assess the fallout of a sunken tugboat leaking diesel in a remote region 
off British Columbia's central coast.

All small boats involved in the salvage effort were ordered to stand 
down at midday, including crews responsible for environmental sampling, 
wildlife surveys and shoreline assessment for eventual clean-up operations.

Crews have recovered more than 88,000 of the estimated 200,000 litres of 
fuel from the Nathan E. Stewart, which ran aground and sank Oct. 13 in 
Seaforth Channel, about 20 kilometres west of Bella Bella.

A situation report released Thursday afternoon said divers located 
diesel on the roof of the engine room, which they intend to vacuum out 
before emptying the boat's submerged fuel tanks.

Some experts say the spill is a wake-up call as the provincial and 
federal governments consider giving permission for larger vessels 
carrying far greater volumes of fuel in Canada's West Coast waters.

Peter Hodson, an ecotoxicologist and professor of environmental studies 
at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., said bad weather is "endemic" 
in the region.

"That to me indicates that they're going to have to have more resources 
that are better capable of responding in bad weather because chances 
are, most of the accidents are going to occur in bad weather," said 
Hodson, who was part of an expert panel cited in a Royal Society of 
Canada report published last November that looked into the effects of 
oil spills in aquatic ecosystems.

Aquatic ecologist Stella Swanson, also cited in the report, called for 
the distribution of additional spill-response equipment to more isolated 
coastal regions.

She described it as a "societal decision" that depends on the extent to 
which Canadians are willing to pay for on-the-ground readiness closer to 
remote areas.

But not all experts feel the same way.

Steven Candito, an oil-spill consultant based in the United States who 
commended the current regulations in Canada and in the U.S., said 
spending more on disaster response doesn't make sense.

That money would be better spent elsewhere, such as on spill prevention 
or the rehabilitation of already polluted regions, he said.

Candito did call on the government and industry to incorporate new 
technology into the regulatory framework, such as drones that could be 
deployed to gather visual data quickly and map the extent of an oil spill.

A spokeswoman for Kirby Offshore Marine, the owner of the sunken tug, 
said there was no timeline for how long the assessment and clean-up 
operation would take.

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