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The Climate Change Thread
A federal appeals court this morning struck down the Trump administration's Clean Power Plan replacement:

Quote:The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit directed EPA to start over with a new regulatory approach after finding that the agency's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule failed to provide adequate environmental and public health protections.

The decision is a resounding blow to EPA's efforts to more strictly limit its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, a key goal of the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda.

The court vacated and remanded the ACE rule, as well as EPA's extended compliance timeline for states. The court ruled that EPA relied on a "fundamental misconstruction" of the Clean Air Act.
Sever species of salmon in the Pacific Northwest are close to extinction due to climate change:

Quote:A Washington State report put it bluntly: Because of the devastating effects of climate change and deteriorating habitats, several species of salmon in the Pacific Northwest are “on the brink of extinction.”

Of the 14 species of salmon and steelhead trout in Washington State that have been deemed endangered and are protected under the Endangered Species Act, 10 are lagging recovery goals and five of those are considered “in crisis,” according to the 2020 State of Salmon in Watersheds report, which was released last week.

“Time is running out,” said the report, which is produced every other year by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. “The climate is changing, rivers are warming, habitat is diminishing, and the natural systems that support salmon in the Pacific Northwest need help now more than ever.”
The public getting stuck with clean-up costs isn't reflected in the price of natural gas, of course:

Quote:Ten thousand acres of Pennsylvania’s only national forest have given way, tree by tree, over the last 70 years to an oil drilling operation unique in its scope in the northeastern United States.

A network of wells, tanks, pipelines, pump houses and roads grew into the shape of an italic L cut into the Allegheny National Forest in Elk County to harvest $350 million worth of oil. The lower leg is nearly 6 miles long; the upper one roughly 9 miles. The imprint is visible by satellite.

What worries state and federal environmental regulators isn’t the project’s growth but its death.

Last year, the company that owns the field — Kane-based ARG Resources — quietly shut it down. The company didn’t have the money to run the operation — let alone plug and decommission its 1,600 wells, dozens of buildings and tanks and roughly 150 miles of roads.

“There was just one guy left working there, and he wasn’t working there anymore,” said Scott Perry, Pennsylvania’s head oil and gas regulator.

Although the ARG Resources’ operation is unusual in many ways, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials see it as a harbinger of a troubling trend. Perry calls it “the looming crisis.”

A staggering drop in oil prices is threatening to cause a cascade of abandoned wells across Pennsylvania’s traditional oil and gas industry.

There are already roughly 200,000 orphaned wells dotting the commonwealth — abandoned by their owners over a century of drilling. For most of that time, fully sealing off expired wells wasn’t required.

Each abandoned well is a risk, although the danger depends on age, decay and proximity to people. They can channel gas and oil to the surface, pollute streams and drinking water, create explosion hazards when gas seeps into homes and emit climate-changing gases.
General Motors plans to exclusively offer electric vehicles by 2035 as part of a larger plan for the automaker to be carbon neutral by 2040 in its global products and operations:

Quote:The company plans to use 100% renewable energy to power its U.S. facilities by 2030 and global facilities by 2035 — five years ahead of a previously announced goal.

GM’s announcement comes a day after President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders that prioritize climate change across all levels of government and put the U.S. on track to curb planet-warming carbon emissions.

Shares of GM increased as much as 7.4% during intraday trading Thursday morning to $53 a share. As of midday Thursday, shares were up about 4%. GM has a market cap of about $73 billion.
There are four points at the link about improving the United States' power grid for the upcoming surge of electric vehicles:

Quote:Major automakers are increasingly betting that millions of new cars and trucks over the next decade will be plugged into electrical outlets, not fueled up at gas stations. That raises a question: Is the nation’s power grid ready to handle this surge of new electric vehicles?

Today, fewer than 1 percent of cars on America’s roads are electric. But a seismic shift is underway.

General Motors said Thursday that it aims to stop selling new gasoline-powered cars and light trucks by 2035 and will pivot to battery-powered vehicles. California’s governor has set a goal of phasing out sales of new combustion engines statewide in just 15 years. Automakers like Tesla, Ford and Volkswagen plan to introduce dozens of new electric models in the years ahead, spurred on by plummeting battery prices and concerns about climate change.

That shift will have sweeping implications for the companies that produce and sell electricity and manage the grid. Analysts generally agree that it is entirely feasible to power many millions of new cars with electricity, but it will take careful planning.
New York City is following the lead of a growing number of California cities by banning natural gas hookups in new buildings, but not until 2030:

Quote:New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday as part of his State of the City address that New York will “ban new fossil fuel connections in new construction by at least 2030.”

That follows moves to ban new hookups by several cities in California, including Berkeley and San Francisco, and in the U.S. Northeast as part of a local movement away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner forms of energy to stop global warming.

Municipal bans, however, have been met by legislation in several states, including Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi and Missouri that prevents cities from prohibiting new gas hookups.
I have to admit that I'm torn on the natural gas thing.
We just had a big ass storm come though CA and it knocked out the power in my house for almost 24 hrs.
It's an older house that has a gas floor heater to keep the house warm. I also have a gas water heater/stove.
If I didn't have that the house would have been freezing, no hot water and I wouldn't have been able to cook food.

Solar/battery backup would be a good option but that conversion is out of my price range at this time.
I used to be with "it", but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.   -Grandpa Simpson

Quote:Overshadowed by coronavirus, 2020 set a new annual record of 22 billion-dollar weather and climate events in the U.S. - shattering the previous annual record of 16 events that occurred in 2011 and 2017. Source:

[Image: EuDVJ-DXIAEZCGX?format=jpg&name=900x900]
It is snowing in Houston right now.

I repeat, it is hardcore fucking SNOWING in Houston right now.

Will be for the next few days, in fact.
Meanwhile, in Southern California we've had all of two rainstorms since November. Even the big atmospheric river event that was supposed to make it rain for a week straight petered out and only dropped like an inch of rain.
Not true, it very very lightly rained for 12-20 minutes on Friday morning.
If I could change to liquid, I'd fill the cracks and bend the rocks.
Jaguar too:

Quote:UK automaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) says its Jaguar luxury brand will be all-electric by 2025. Meanwhile, its Land Rover brand will release its first all-electric vehicle in 2024, the first of six fully electric models planned for release over the next five years. JLR’s transition will be funded by a £2.5 billion (around $3.5 billion) a year investment into electrification and related technologies, Bloomberg reports.

JLR’s plans are ambitious, but the automaker has previously been slow to embrace electrification. It’s only fully electric car to date is the Jaguar I-Pace SUV, which Bloomberg notes has struggled to make inroads against more established electric carmakers. Even then, the car is built by a contractor, rather than being produced by JLR in-house. The company had to pay a £35 million (around $48.7 million) fine in the EU for missing emissions targets last year.
You gotta love these announcements. They're so fucking precious and not at all cynically calculated to distract the public from necessary widespread regulatory changes or provide politicians political cover for not giving a shit about rendering a huge chunk of the world uninhabitable.

Well, when you put it that way!

Spot electricity prices in Texas soar nearly 3500%

Quote:Spot prices for electricity in Texas passed the grid’s cap of $9,000 per megawatt-hour as an arctic chill raises the specter of blackouts.

Wholesale power for delivery Monday traded at $9,009.40 a megawatt-hour in the West hub at 1 a.m. in Houston, a staggering 3,466% increase from Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ercot sets the limit to avoid runaway prices during extreme events.

About half of the state’s wind turbines were inoperable Sunday morning because of ice and cold, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator. Meanwhile demand is surging as people crank up heaters, with consumption setting a new winter peak record on Sunday.

About 800 daily records for cold temperatures have been set in the past week as Arctic air pushes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, sending gyrations through energy markets. Temperatures in Dallas are forecast to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit Monday (minus 16 Celsius).
In Texas. Can confirm.

It's snowing in Mexico. Global warming, my ass.

I keed I keed.

But's cold as SHIT..

Impressively dumb.  She might've unlocked an achievement or something:

Quote:Rolling blackouts from ND to TX have turned into lengthy power outages in freezing conditions.

Biden needs to lift his oil & gas ban as we need reliable energy sources. 

The Green New Deal was just proven unsustainable as renewables are clearly unreliable.
“It’s not enough to just to push back on the fossil fuel industry’s propaganda on a case-by-case basis…we need to actually dismantle the industry’s disinformation machine.”

Quote:The fossil fuel industry’s disinformation machine turned on before the lights even went out.

As a massive winter storm rolled towards Texas, it was accompanied by a barrage of lies about how renewable energy — and “frozen wind turbines” in particular — was to blame for potential blackouts.

It began over the weekend, as posts about the blackouts began to pick up momentum on right-wing social media. One image that went viral showed a helicopter supposedly de-icing a wind turbine in Texas. A tweet with the photo from a fossil fuel publicist — because, really, who else? — has now been liked nearly 88,000 times.  

As more and more right-wing accounts began to share the image, it soon jumped over into the political arena. Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn retweeted the picture on Monday. By Tuesday, Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines and conspiracy-minded Congresswoman Lauren Boebert were out with their own posts promoting the story. What do these politicians have in common? Boebert and Daines have both received extensive fossil fuel contributions, while Cornyn was the top recipient of oil and gas money in Congress over the last two years. 

In reality, the “frozen wind turbine” was a complete fabrication. The photo wasn’t actually taken in Texas, but in the Uljabuouda mountains in Arjeplog, Sweden in 2013. As Brian Kahn explained in a piece for Earther, the picture has for years been a favorite meme for far-right climate deniers to spread anytime there’s a cold snap. (None of the politicians who shared the image have yet to issue a correction).

By Monday, the “renewables caused the blackout” story was already gaining steam in right-wing media outlets. In nearly all those cases, the “experts” being cited by these outlets could be traced back to the fossil fuel industry.

By Tuesday, the disinformation had made another jump, this time to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. In a piece called “The Deep Green Freeze,” the editorial board wrote that “Power shortages show the folly of eliminating natural gas — and coal.” It concluded with the ominous warning, “The Biden administration’s plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change.” 

That’s, of course, absurd, and our politicians and news outlets shouldn’t be parroting Big Oil’s talking points. What Texas is currently experiencing is the combined threat of the climate crisis and our over-reliance on fossil fuels. Moving towards a smart-grid powered with renewable energy won’t just cut our emissions, it will make our energy system more resilient and better able to handle the ongoing impacts of the climate crisis.

The current crisis in Texas, and the way the fossil fuel industry and its backers have swooped in to take advantage of the situation in order to spread climate denial and anti-renewable energy talking points, is a perfect case study in how a disinformation machine operates.

Let’s be clear about what’s really going on in the Lone Star state right now. The first thing to understand is that the freezing temperatures are actually connectedto global warming. Climate change has resulted in changes in the Arctic jet stream that allow freezing weather to escape the polar regions and break down south. 

This has resulted in a severe cold snap across Texas, which has frozen instruments at natural gas, coal, and nuclear facilities.

Along with the limited supplies of gas on hand, the situation has caused a lack of power supply, leading to some 30 to 35 gigawatts of total power outages across the state — almost all from non-functioning gas power plants. Sure, some wind turbines and solar facilities have also been affected, but all through Monday while gas plants were freezing, wind turbines and solar panels actually exceeded expected power delivery.

In short, the failure of fossil fuels is what’s causing the blackout.
Another write-up along those lines.

Quote:It’s only been a half year since blackouts spread across California during intense summer heat. Those blackouts were immediately blamed on renewable energy; of course it turned out later on that a string of failures in the state’s gas plants were to blame. In fact, it turned out later on that a major part of those blackouts was an instance of a misheard verbal instruction issued to a gas generator. Instead of turning up as instructed, they decreased their output. And it’s five years since South Australia’s 2016 blackout, in which precisely the same sequence of events occurred. A pattern is now clear.

Major blackout events, usually instigated by grid stress related to climate extremes, become opportunities to attack renewable energy. Media articles, political pronouncements, tweets, Facebook posts, everything – the entire media ecosystem assumes that renewable energy must have done it and runs hard with it.
A gas tanker recently made a trip from China to Yamal (Russia), which showed that year-round navigation was possible by sea.  Here's an important thread on that:

Quote:Reminder that oil companies have been preparing for this moment, redesigning tankers, drilling equipment, and offshore platforms for a melting Arctic since the 1970s. A quick thread of their patents:

Biomass die off is accelerating in every facet of the ecology.

Here's a long, great article on gas companies persuading cities in the past to curb ambitious plans to shift away from fossil fuels.

There's a direct focus on Texas for obvious reasons, but doesn't stop there:

Quote:When the city of Austin drafted a plan to shift away from fossil fuels, the local gas company was fast on the scene to try to scale back the ambition of the effort.

Like many cities across the US, the rapidly expanding and gentrifying Texas city is looking to shrink its climate footprint. So its initial plan was to virtually eliminate gas use in new buildings by 2030 and existing ones by 2040. Homes and businesses would have to run on electricity and stop using gas for heat, hot water and stoves.

The proposal, an existential threat to the gas industry, quickly caught the attention of Texas Gas Service. The company drafted line-by-line revisions to weaken the plan, asked customers to oppose it and escalated its concerns to top city officials.

In its suggested edits, the company struck references to “electrification”, and replaced them with “decarbonization”– a policy that wouldn’t rule out gas. It replaced “electric vehicles” with “alternative fuel vehicles”, which could run on compressed natural gas. It offered to help the city to plant more trees to absorb climate pollution and to explore technologies to pull carbon dioxide out of the air – both of which might help it to keep burning gas.

Those proposed revisions were shared with Floodlight, the Texas Observer and San Antonio Report, by the Climate Investigations Center, which obtained them through public records of communications between city officials and the company.

The moves have so far proven a success for Texas Gas. The most recently published draft of the climate plan gives the company much more time to sell gas to existing customers, and it allows it to offset climate emissions instead of eliminating them. The city, however, is revisiting the plan after a backlash to the industry-secured changes.

The lobbying in Austin is not unique. It echoes how an electricity and gas company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars scaling back San Antonio’s climate ambitions by funding the city’s plan-writing process, replacing academics with its preferred consultants and writing its own “Flexible Path” that would let it keep polluting.
Looks like we're headed for another major drought in California.

Quote:“As California closes out the fifth consecutive dry month of our water year, absent a series of strong storms in March or April we are going to end with a critically dry year on the heels of last year’s dry conditions,” said California Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth. “With back-to-back dry years, water efficiency and drought preparedness are more important than ever for communities, agriculture and the environment.”

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