Daily Archives: August 11, 2019

Take a Virtual Tour of Black Thunder Coal Mine

Published on Feb 14, 2011
Take a virtual tour of Black Thunder Mine, the largest single surface coal-mining complex in the world. Located in northeastern Wyoming, the mine’s 1,600 highly skilled employees are proud to provide 12% of America’s affordable coal supply each year while also operating safely, protecting the environment and enhancing local communities.

Behind the Lines: Shane Bauer Travels to Syria to Uncover America’s role in the Syrian War

Published on Aug 11, 2019
The war in Syria, now in its eighth year, has displaced some 12 million people — more than half of the country’s pre-war population. It’s estimated that more than 500,000 people have been killed since fighting began in 2011, although an exact number is impossible to ascertain. But while the death and the destruction of the war are well understood, the American role in the conflict is not. In May of 2018, award-winning reporter Shane Bauer set out to Syria to find answers. The result is his groundbreaking, 30,000-word investigation published in the June issue of Mother Jones, where Bauer is a senior reporter. He recently visited our New York studio to discuss his work.

Adaptable Societies

Published on Aug 11, 2019
(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv/) Anthropogenic climate and environmental change are among the most immediate threats to global sustainability, including the sustainability of human populations. Although these changes are happening at a rate never recorded before, climate and environmental changes per se are not unprecedented. Moreover, prior environmental changes have sometimes been accompanied by social and technological innovations that mitigated the impact of environmental change on human populations. We explore two such episodes in the history of California, and ask what lessons they may hold for adaptable societies in the Anthropocene. Series: “Sustainable California” [Show ID: 35098]

For Every Doubling Of The Volume Of Solar Energy There Has Been A 20% Reduction In The Cost Of It

Published on Aug 11, 2019
For Every Doubling Of The Volume Of Solar Energy There Has Been A 20% Reduction In The Cost Of It by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy leads the California Clean Energy Fund, connecting entrepreneurs everywhere to capital to build an abundant clean energy economy that benefits all. This includes overseeing the CalSEED.fund of $25m for very early stage companies driving innovation and building equity in the California economy. Additionally, CalCEF runs a network of incubators and accelerators globally called New Energy Nexus. Kennedy is also the President of CalCharge, a public-private partnership with DoE National Labs and universities in California, unions and companies, working to advance energy storage.

Kennedy co-founded Sungevity in 2007, the company that created remote solar design, and Powerhouse, a smart energy incubator and accelerator. He was the first backer of Mosaic in 2011, the $2B solar loan provider, and remains on the Board of Powerhive, a solar mini-utility in Kenya and Sunergise, a solar-as-a-service business out of Fiji and the EnergyLabAustralia. He is also a Director of the organizations VoteSolar, Power for All and Confluence Philanthropy and adviser to SolarPhilippines. Kennedy authored the book Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy – and Our Planet – from Dirty Energy in 2012. Prior to being an entrepreneur, he worked at Greenpeace and other NGOs on climate and energy issues for 20+ years.

Will China stop Hong Kong’s protests?

Published on Aug 11, 2019
China has warned it might be losing patience with what it calls a ‘colour revolution’ in Hong Kong. It’s said those who play with fire must not mistake Beijing’s restraint for weakness – they will eventually be punished. A few days after that warning, protesters were back on the streets for the tenth straight weekend. They’ve defied a police ban on some of the marches, and again faced teargas. Activists have also staged a protest at the international airport, to make arriving tourists aware of their campaign. Protesters want chief executive leader Carrie Lam to resign, greater democratic reform and an inquiry into alleged police violence. But Lam says her priority is to stop the unrest, that she says has hurt the city’s economy. What options does China have, to deal with anger in Hong Kong? And is a military intervention possible? Presenter: Mohamed Jamjoom Guests Tom Grundy, Editor-in-Chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press Einar Tangen, China Political Analyst and Advises the Chinese government on economic and development issues. Steve Tsang, Director of the China Institute at SOAS University of London.

Donald Trump Chief-Of-Staff Caught Being Honest About USDA Relocation | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Published on Aug 10, 2019
Rachel Maddow shares video of Donald Trump chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney explaining that the USDA’s abrupt and onerous relocation of scientists was about forcing the scientists to quit, contradicting the USDA’s official explanation.

How to Understand the IPCC’s New Climate Warning – The Atlantic

Climate change could make water even more scarce in naturally dry areas, the report warns. Australia’s ranchers have struggled under a drought for years.Brook Mitchell / Getty 1. There is no shortage of scary facts in the major new report on climate change and land, a summary of which was released today by a United Nations–led scientific panel. Chief among them: For everyone who lives on land, the planet’s dangerously warmed future is already here. Earth’s land has already warmed more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the industrial revolution, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s the same amount of warming that climate activists are hoping to prevent on a global scale.

This spike makes sense, scientifically: Land warms twice as fast as the planet overall. Earth as a whole has warmed by only 0.87 degrees Celsius (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) during the same period. But this increase makes the stakes of climate change clear: When scientists discuss preventing “1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming,” they are really talking about forestalling 3 degrees Celsius—or 5.1 degrees Fahrenheit—of higher land temperatures.

And land temperatures are what humanity usually cares about. Land, really, is what humanity cares about. That’s the point.

2. If the report has an overarching theme, it’s that land is extremely scarce, we need it for everything, and we are already using most of it. More than 70 percent of the planet’s ice-free land is already shaped by human activity, the report says. As trees are felled and farms take their place, this human-managed land emits about a quarter of global greenhouse-gas pollution every year, including 13 percent of carbon dioxide and 44 percent of the super-warming but short-lived pollutant methane.

But unlike other sources of pollution—such as the burning of fossil fuels, which must be quickly reduced globally—land can’t just be shut down. It must be made into a tool in the climate fight. The report’s more than 100 authors, hailing from 51 countries, say that this will require immediate action from farmers, bankers, conservationists, and policy makers worldwide. And to really succeed, it will require hundreds of millions of affluent people in the Northern Hemisphere to change their diet, eating many more plants and much less meat—and especially much less red meat—than they do now.

These changes must happen fast, because land problems have a pesky way of metastasizing. Louis Verchot, a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and an author of the new report, described the cascading consequences of warmer air temperatures at a press conference this week.

“As the biosphere gets warmer, we increase evaporation,” he said. “And as we increase evaporation, ecosystems dry out and burn when they normally wouldn’t do that. And when soils get dry due to increased evaporation, we get longer heat waves.” And longer heat waves, of course, make the biosphere warmer still, starting the cycle again.

Around much of the world, this cascade has already begun. Heat waves worldwide have gotten longer, hotter, and more common, according to the IPCC. Deserts are expanding toward the poles, while zones of colder weather are shrinking. Dust storms are kicking up more often. And evidence suggests that every year from 1961 to 2013, an additional 1 percent of the world’s drylands slipped into drought.

As I said, there are a lot of scary facts here.

3. Yet one fact—maybe the most important idea in the report—didn’t frighten me so much as leave me awestruck. It comes early in the document: “People currently use one quarter to one third of land’s potential net primary production for food, feed, fiber, timber and energy.”

It’s a lot of jargon. But here’s what it means. Recall from high-school biology that primary production is the conversion of sunlight into chemical energy via photosynthesis. Besides the tiny creatures that live in deep-sea heat vents and other extreme environments, all life on Earth derives its energy from the sun. You and I don’t get our energy directly from photosynthesis, but we eat plants—or things that ate plants—that do. Every major food chain on Earth begins with a plant, somewhere, humbly transfiguring photons into sugar.

…(read more).