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Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink!: A Story for Children and their Adults” is a new children’s book by Gregg Kleiner about global warming. The idea is simple. Imagine if you could see CO2? In the book, it is imagined to be pink. The imagining takes the form of a quirky father, one imagines him to be an inventor of some sort, coming up with the idea of making goggles that would allow you to see CO2 as a pink gas. This is all described by the man’s patient but clearly all suffering son, who eventually dons the prototype goggles and sees for himself.

I read this to Huxley, age 5, and he loved it. He kept asking questions, and saying things like, “Is that true? Really?” I knew he would enjoy the book for its witty chatter and excellent illustrations, but frankly I did not expect him to be enthralled. He is fairly laid back when it comes to matters of science, nature, and for that matter, mathematics. He tends to absorb, then, later makes up song about it or comes up with difficult questions. His reaction was unique.

Bill McKibben’s reaction was pretty strong too. He is quoted as saying, “I’ve often wondered what would happen if CO2 were visible. Now I know!” … except he already knew. There would be pink everywhere. At the density of about 400ppm. More than the 350 value that gives his organization its name!

I had only one small problem with the book, and that is the description of what fossil fuels are. The majority of oil probably formed in aquatic, mainly marine, environments as the detritus of mostly small organisms and invertebrates, not dinosaurs and old trees like the book says. Coal is probably most plant matter, but boggy plants and detritus formed in low spots. And so on. Had I edited the book, I would have asked for a sentence or two to broaden the concept of where fossil fuels come from, and maybe a sentence or two to underscore the fact that the fossil fuels we use today were deposited in fits and starts of many tens of millions of years. The process of painting our planet pink over just several decades has released a huge percentage of that Carbon, mainly as CO2. It is like taking five years to fill up a glass of milk then spilling half of it on the sofa in one second. (A proper analogy for the targeted reading age for this great book.)

People often ask me for a recommendation on a book about climate change for kids. This book is great for that purpose. It fits a wide range of ages, but primarily little kids and elementary school. This is not an explainer on global warming, but rather, a great story that gives a sense of the importance of climate change without totally freaking out the audience. The illustrations by Laurel Thomson are excellent.

Of you want to do something about climate change, buy a few copies and give them to your local school’s library (they probably call it a media center) or your local preschool. And your kid, of course. Or to your annoying climate denying cousin’s kids. That would be good.

Gregg Kleiner also wrote Where River Turns to Sky.

maddow_earthquakes_1

Good question! It depends. And I’m not an expert, but Amy Bickel had details for you. For instance,

At least one policy endorsement obtained by The News showed that earthquakes caused by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” were excluded from earthquake coverage.

It could mean potential litigation if a claim was ever filed and denied by the company, Kansas’ former insurance commissioner noted.

While hydraulic fracturing isn’t suspected as the cause of Kansas quakes, state geologists have linked southern Kansas’ earthquakes to the saltwater injection wells used by oil companies. The hydraulic fracturing process creates more wastewater, which, in turn, is injected into the Mississippian formation.

The endorsement also notes that “sequestration of carbon dioxide or any other gas, solid or liquid” is also among the exclusions listed. It’s unclear if that definition could include wastewater disposal.

Other companies, however, said they had not heard of that exclusion in their own policies.

In a way, this makes sense, because earthquakes are an act god. In this case, I assume Hades or Pluto (gods of the underworld).

Or the god of hell perhaps. Which suggests that if you want insurance for human caused earthquakes you will need to see Ms. Waite, who is in charge of such things. First name Helen. If you want damage to your property caused by Big Fossil to be covered you’ll have to to go Helen Waite.

spinning_beachball_of_macYou can google and hunt and search and read and find all sorts of ways to speed up your iMac, but I have here one small suggestion that may help you if you have a specific problem.

The problem arises when you invoke a dialog box that access the file system, perhaps by right clicking on a graphic on a web page and choosing to save it, or a save or save-as menu item in any piece of software. Then, the dialog box does not appear instantly, and instead you get the Spinning Beachball of Wait, and after several seconds, the dialog box finally appears.

This is a bug. It should not happen. But when it does happen, it appears based on my perusal of the Intertubes and some experimentation, it may be related to your computer being hooked to a network drive, or even a simple USB external drive. If you can just eject/disconnect all of that, you’ll have faster response.

That may not be an option, and if that is the case, you are screwed. Maybe.

There is a second kludge that may also work. Temporarily disconnect said drives. Your computer’s use of the file system will go to normal. Then, later, reconnect. Your computer may continue to be normal. Eventually, possibly later that day, the problem will return. This is obviously not a great solution but it may be good for some people who only occasionally use such drives.

This problem is annoying and I wish it would go away. If you have any other suggestions pleas add them to the comments!

Denial of climate change, as seen here, is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Denial of climate change, as seen here, is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Imagine you are a Senator in denial of climate change science and you just won re-election by less than 20% of the vote. In six years, about 10% of your voters will be dead, replaced with a different 10% harvested from America’s youth. The dead old white guys were on board with denying climate change, the new voters want you to address climate change. That 10% shift closes that 20% advantage in your voting base. Your political career is over unless you do something about it. People are changing their minds and politicians will eventually follow.

Peter Sinclair has a post at Climate Denial Crock of the Week on Rick Perry’s apparent shift towards thinking climate change is for real. We recently saw a vote in the Senate that has most Senators admitting it is real, though very few Republicans admitted it is human caused. But a few did. One of the most conservative and traditional entities on the planet, The Vatican, is now telling us that not addressing climate change is immoral. Expect at least some US priests and bishops refusing communion to climate change deniers! (Maybe.) The National Hockey League recognizes global warming as a threat to their sport. Pipelines to transport fossil Carbon-based fuels are seen as less and less viable every day. Even utility bosses now routinely see renewable, clean, energy sources as a big part of the future, and the American Petroleum Institute sees anthropogenic global warming as a major threat to our future, which they acknowledge must be addressed by shifting away from … petroleum!

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.59.57 AMThis was sent to me by a colleague as an excellent example of highly disciplined and effective messaging.

But I saw two other things: 1) A person who should be running for office just because of her ability to stay on message; and 2) a person who should be mayor or governor or something because she seems quite willing to push back against the constant, incremental, creep towards a police state every time some thing or another happens.

FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Climate Change Hoax Guru Jim Inhofe

Gets his science from the Bible, invented the term “climate change hoax”.

He’s paid for by big oil, he takes up hours of the Senate’s time going on and on with the most senseless drivel ever heard in that building (see video below) and he has single handedly probably done more to stop action in this country on climate change. That clearly makes him one of the worst people in the world. I’m rather pissed off at the people of Oklahoma. They sent him there. They should be ashamed.

Emily Atkin has an update on Jim The Moron Inhofe’s latest ranting about the “climate change hoax”.

Continue reading

5970-fullThis is an important step in keeping the Carbon in the ground.

The Mojave Solar Project has been online and fully operational since December, but today, a grand opening ceremony celebrates this massive achievement. The plant uses advanced parabolic trough technology that has made the 280 MegaWatt plant one of the most innovative projects in the country and the second-largest plant of its kind in the world. Abengoa, owner of the Mojave Solar Project, is hosting a celebration

Read the rest here.

Car makers and dealers have to get with the program.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — The Missouri Automobile Dealers Association is suing the state revenue department for allowing electric car maker Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers rather than using a dealership as a middleman.

The car dealers, including Reuther Ford Inc. and Osage Industries Inc., filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court claiming the department violated state law by licensing the California-based manufacturer as a franchise.

Department of Revenue spokeswoman Michelle Gleba said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Car manufacturers typically provide cars to a franchised dealership to sell, but the department in 2013 licensed Tesla to sell its vehicles in a University City facility.

The lawsuit filed this week claims the department “created a non-level playing field where one entity — Tesla — is subject to preferential treatment and all bona fide dealers are discriminated against.”

Read more here

Two interesting stories about racism in North America:

McDonald’s sued for racial discrimination in Virginia

Ten former McDonald’s workers have sued it in the Virginia federal court for racial and sexual discrimination.

The suit alleges that some employees were fired from one franchise because there were “too many black people”.

It is being backed by a group campaigning for better wages for fast-food workers and the local Virginia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

#BBCTrending: Is Winnipeg Canada’s most racist city?

The mayor of Winnipeg was surrounded by indigenous people as he spoke to the press Thursday – the same day his city was declared the most racist in Canada.

“Ignorance, hatred, intolerance, racism exist everywhere,” Mayor Brian Bowman said, fighting back tears.

“Winnipeg has a responsibility right now to turn this ship around and change the way we all relate – aboriginal and non-aboriginal, Canadians alike from coast to coast to coast. … To do so, we have to shine a light on the problem we do have in Winnipeg, and the problem we share with communities across this nation, because without the light, we can’t see what we’re fighting.”

Since his inauguration in November 2014, Mayor Brian Bowman has been seen as a bridge builder.

He is Winnipeg’s first indigenous mayor, and is the first mayor to acknowledge in a speech (at his swearing-in ceremony and on Thursday) that Winnipeg was built on the traditional homeland of the Metis nation, who are descendents of indigenous people and European settlers.

This is crazy. I live, apparently, near one of these zones, and for several years lived right in the middle of one. No one ever told me to not “go”!!! Shouldn’t there be signs or something?

Anyway, now Paris may sue FOX over this:

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has said she plans to sue Fox News for a broadcast that described parts of the French capital as “no-go zones” for non-Muslims. But is it possible for a city to take out a libel action against a TV channel, asks Thomas Dahlhaus?

John Abraham recently quipped that we were going to run out of room on the y-Axis for displaying measurement of Ocean Heat Content. Aaron Huertas over at Union for Concerned Scientist quipped that it was like “Jaws” … “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” So I figured we should really have a bigger meme:

GonnaNeedBiggerChart

Original chart and concept of running out of yroom from here.
Scientist Photo Credit: Curious Expeditions via Compfight cc

And, for completeness:

America Installed 22 Times More Solar in 2014 Than in 2008

…he surge in domestic energy production — both fossil fuels and renewable electricity — is something nearly everyone can celebrate.

In terms of new investment activity and job creation, the solar industry has posted some of the best numbers in recent years. In 2014, new domestic solar jobs were added at a pace twenty times faster than the broader economy, bringing total jobs to 173,807. And a new solar installation is now being completed every two and a half minutes in the U.S., up from one every two hours a decade before.

Three coal plants in Kansas will stop burning coal.

Kansas City Power & Light Co. announced plans Tuesday to stop burning coal at three of its plants. The utility explained the move as one that reflects a commitment to sustainable energy and cost management.

The electric utility, a unit of Kansas City-based Great Plains Energy Inc. (NYSE: GXP), said it will stop burning coal in one unit at its Lake Road Station plant in St. Joseph, Mo., and at one unit at its Montrose Station plant in Clinton, Mo., by the end of 2016. It will stop using coal as a fuel at two units of its Sibley Station plant in Sibley, Mo., by the end of 2019 and at two units of the Montrose plant by the end of 2021.

A Press Release from Amazon.

Amazon Web Services to Use Wind Farm Power to Supply its Datacenters with Approximately 500,000 MWh of Power Annually

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 20, 2015– (NASDAQ:AMZN) — Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company, today announced that it has teamed with Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) to support the construction and operation of a 150 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Benton County, Indiana, called the Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge). This new wind farm is expected to start generating approximately 500,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind power annually as early as January 2016 – or the equivalent of that used by approximately 46,000 US homes1 in a year. The energy generated by Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will be used to help power both current and future AWS Cloud datacenters. For more information go to http://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/sustainable-energy/.

In November 2014, AWS shared its long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint. The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for AWS’s new Wind Farm is an important step toward that goal. AWS introduced its first carbon-neutral region – US West (Oregon) – in 2011. Today, AWS offers customers three AWS Regions that are carbon-neutral – US West (Oregon), EU (Frankfurt), and AWS GovCloud (US).

“Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will bring a new source of clean energy to the electric grid where we currently operate a large number of datacenters and have ongoing expansion plans to support our growing customer base,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services. “This PPA helps to increase the renewable energy used to power our infrastructure in the US and is one of many sustainability activities and renewable energy projects for powering our datacenters that we currently have in the works.”

Pattern Development is a leader in developing renewable energy and transmission assets with a long history in wind energy. Pattern Development’s CEO, Mike Garland said, “We are excited to be working with Amazon Web Services and we commend the Company for its commitment to sustainability and its continued pioneering and leadership in cloud computing. We look forward to working with AWS as it progresses towards its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy.”

Justin Gillis at the New York Times has this story:

Two charitable groups will spend $48 million over the next three years to help states figure out how to reduce emissions from electricity production, an effort to seize the possibilities that are opening up as the cost of clean power falls.

… Half the money will come from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization set up by Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, and half will come from Mark Heising and Elizabeth Simons, a California couple who have taken a strong interest in reducing the risks of climate change.

Details are HERE.

Climate Scientist Michael Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, gave a talk at Trinity College a couple of days ago on climate change and ethics. Just so you know, the Hockey Stick is a graph Mann and colleagues produced during the late 20th century showing how rapid recent global warming stands in stark contrast to previous centuries of climate change. The research itself has been repeatedly reconfirmed, refined, replicated, and verified, so it is for real. See, for example, this post by Stefan Rahmstorf.

Anyway, here’s the interview: Continue reading

A poll commissioned by the Center for American Progress on US citizen’s thought about energy has been released. The key findings are:

  • Promoting the development of renewable energy sources is a leading item
    on the public’s energy agenda, and five in nine voters want the federal
    government to do more than it currently is to promote sources such as wind
    and solar power.
  • While voters support increased reliance on natural gas in the coming years, by a two-to-one margin they put a higher priority on protecting public lands
    and natural places from overdevelopment than on opportunities for oil and
    natural gas drilling on public lands.
  • Two frames for setting energy policy have strong resonance with the public:
  • A BALANCED energy policy that addresses energy independence while
    better protecting public health, public lands, and clean drinking water;
    and
  • A CLEAN energy policy that promotes innovation and manufacturing
    jobs while spending the transition to cleaner renewable forms of energy.
    Both of these frames have stronger appeal than an “ALL OF THE ABOVE”
    energy frame
  • In addition to renewable energy, large majorities support other progressive policy initiatives, including:
    • Strengthening protections against pollution of drinking water and clean
      air; and
    • Permanently protecting special public lands for future generations.
  • Conversely, majorities strongly oppose key initiatives that the new
    leadership in Congress is expected to push that would weaken protection for drinking water and clean air, sell off some national forests or other public
    lands, and allow drilling on highly valued recreation lands.
  • Americans strongly oppose lifting the restrictions on oil exports, both on an unaided basis and after hearing point-counterpoint arguments on the topic.
  • Focusing on ties to Big Oil and the Congress’s continued support for
    taxpayer subsidies of fossil fuel industries is a compelling frame against an
    anti-environment, fossil fuels agenda in Congress.
  • Voters want the federal government to do more to promote both energy independence and renewable energy (keep in mind that for the most part, renewable energy leads to more independence): Continue reading

    Brazil already has an iffy electrical grid, apparently, but very hot conditions are pushing it over the edge. Also, they had a small problem related to a nuclear plant (nothing nuclear, don’t worry). From Reuters:

    ONS said it orchestrated 2,200 megawatts of controlled outages in eight states as the hottest day of the year in Sao Paulo, where the temperature hit 36.5 Celsius (97.7 Fahrenheit), and other southeastern cities led to surging demand from air conditioners and other power-hungry appliances.

    Eletronuclear, a unit of state-run power company Eletrobras , said nuclear reactor Angra I powered down automatically at 2:49 p.m. local time (1649 GMT) due to a drop in frequency on the national grid. The company said there were no risks to workers or the environment due to the stoppage.

    For the first time, ambient temperature in this part of Australia has been measured at just below 50 degrees above zero C. That is 122 degrees F. Hot.

    This is near Shark Bay, which is already hot. So hot, normally, that the bay has a very high evaporation rate, causing the water to be very saline, too saline for snails to live, and thus, this is one of the only places in the world where you can find stromalites. This is also where the dolphins showed up one day to play with the humans, and continued to do this regularly. It became an important dolphin study site for that. Oh, and there are sharks. But I digress. The climate news from the area:

    “It looks like we might get some 49s but with the observational network pretty sparse out there, it’s probably unlikely that we’ll actually observe a 50,” Mr Hicks said

    Current modelling suggests the heat will linger in the region, extending the area of potential 50-degree condition to the Pilbara by Friday.

    “The longer the air sits over the land, the more it heats up,” Mr Hicks said. “It just sits there and just bakes … Those poor buggers living out there tend to swelter for quite a few days in a row.”

    Australia has recorded just three days of 50-degree heat since instruments were standardised nationally with the bureau’s formation in 1910. The most recent was on February 20, 1998, when the mercury hit 50.5 degrees in the Pilbara town of Mardie.

    The bureau sparked international interest two years ago when it updated its weather charts to add temperature coding for both 50-52 degrees and 52-54 degrees.

    Heat records are expected to continue to tumble as global warming pushes up background conditions, climate experts say.

    But there is some good news.

    A possible category-one cyclone forming off the Kimberley coast will help break up that region’s extreme heat if it pushes moisture and clouds into the Pilbara, Mr Duke said.