Category Archives: earth

Why Trump is Irrelevant on Climate Change

Feeling a bit blue? Read this for a “pick me up”. Enjoy!

Donald Trump will be long remembered for his gesture of pulling the US out of the Paris Agreements. But what effect will that have overall? That depends on what forces are actually driving the human species in coping with climate change. According to Andrew Beebe, thsoe forces are not “top down”.

… all of the stakeholders addressing climate change were moving on their own before Paris, and virtually all of them already had in place plans which would result in exceeding the Paris goals. This is true of the U.S. as well. The real value of Paris was simply coming together to collectively acknowledge the challenge and show unity around a future engagement for the next steps after Paris.

It is an optimistic scenario. Moreover, as innovation drives the cost of alternative fuels down further, we will see more innovative adaptions that will multiply their impact on enegy markets.

Stay tuned on this one! And pat your dog.  It will perk you up!

When You Will Go Rooftop Solar

The trend seems to be long term – the cost of rooftop solar is going down and the cost of batteries to store the electicity that you generate is also going down. The conclusion: at some point, this means rooftop solar will be mainstream. We all will either have it or will be considering installing it. The speed at which this happens depends largely on how fast battery technology develops. But McKensy thinks it will happen fsater than many think Perhaps by 2030.

And what about utilities?

(The McKinsey report makes) clear is that for power utilities, unlike for so many other decrepit American institutions, simply clinging to the status quo is not an option. Rooftop solar can be staved off temporarily with fees and rate tweaks, but as batteries get cheaper, those strategies will stop working. More and customers are going to generate, store, and manage more and more of their own power.

Utilities will have to look elsewhere to make money: Where? That story is yet to play out. Stay tuned!

When will we No Longer Need to Burn Coal?

The trend is clear. Solar and wind costs are falling and are making coal obsolete as a fuel. So when will global coal markets collapse?

If certain preconditions are met, it may be 2040.

That sounds pretty good. And consider this

Even as President Donald Trump takes steps to increase coal use, the market isn’t likely to rebound in the U.S. Coal-fired power is expected to fall by 51 percent over the next two decades. In its place, gas-fired electricity will increase 22 percent, and renewables by a massive 169 percent.

169% Wow!

Margaret Atwood on Plastics

Dame Margaret wrote the Handmaiden’s Tale back in 1985. She wsa already well established as a novelist, poet and activist.

And she has something to say to you about a subject that you probably don’t think about very much – plastics.  We rely on plastics to an astounding degree. So much so that we dump 8 million tons of plastic into the oceans each year. Thta might be ok if plastic was inert. But it is not.

Dame Margaret has a suggestion and it is worth reading.

Damn! I Missed all the Naked Gardening!

You might have missed it, but yesterday was World Naked Gardening day.

Launched back in 2005, the unofficial event happens every first Saturday of May and encourages gardeners around the world to get out in the fields, bare ass exposed to the sun, to get dirty in the name of growing things in the earth. 

While I did not venture forth in my birthday suit, Mashable has a montage of pics of folks who did. Not to worry, all strategic points of interest are protected.

A Hiccup in Roof-top Solar!

The solar panel installation business sucks these days. Most of the “first in” market has been combed over, and the hard sell tactics to get others to join in is pissing people off.  First quarter results across the board have been lousy.

And that goes for Elon Musk’s solar city as well.  Solar City posted a 40% dropü in installations in the first quarter. Wow!

What to make of this? Clearly, the wild days of unlimited growth are at least temporarily over.  We are in a different market now. And in this less surging market, we have excess capacity. Does that mean the end of rooftop solar? Of course not.  It does mean the end of this frothy initial phase of adoption. My guess is that we are still waiting for the “killer product” that will make rooftop solar ubiquitous.

Will it be Musk’s solar roofs? Perhaps. Or perhaps we will see something even better!

Stay tuned!

 

Debunking Carbon Capture

This always sounded too good to be true. The idea is that we can keep on burning coal as long as we “capture” the carbon that goes out the smokestack and re-apply it. It is called “carbon capture”.

Mike Bloomberg had this to say about it

“Carbon capture is total bullshit” and “a figment of the imagination,” Bloomberg said on Monday, addressing a crowd at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York.

Now for the bad news

Yet President Donald Trump and many coal industry leaders talk about carbon capture as if it’s already solved the nation’s energy challenges. If we have “clean coal,” why invest in alternatives?

And billions have gone into trying to figure out how to do carbon capture and make “clean coal”. This pisses Bloomberg off, and it should piss you off too.