Archive for April, 2010

Wed, April 28, Chinese company cuts ribbon on new wind-turbine plant in Nevada By Tom Friedman

April 29, 2010

Chinese company cuts ribbon on new wind-turbine plant in Nevada
China-based A-Power Energy Generation Systems will build a wind-turbine manufacturing plant in Southern Nevada, with the first turbines rolling off the assembly line made of U.S. steel and bound for a Texas wind farm.
Las Vegas Sun; April 28

Images Of The Gulf Oil Spill (Look at these)

April 29, 2010

“Drill Baby Drill” a huge disaster. Look at these images…unbelievable or should I say “here we go again.”
Matt

Image gallery – http://tinyurl.com/2a3m9nr
Recommended images – http://tinyurl.com/39boxrm , http://tinyurl.com/2a9twkq , http://tinyurl.com/2f3ecms , http://tinyurl.com/2d2osp2 , http://tinyurl.com/23n274n

Blog posts –

Gulf Oil Spill – Bigger Than Exxon Valdez
Gulf Oil Spill Rate Must Be Much Higher Than Stated – 6 Million Gallons So Far?
Gulf Oil Slick Growing – 2,233 Square Miles
Gulf Oil Slick Dwarfs Response Vessels
Gulf Oil Spill Covers 817 Square Miles
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Getting Worse
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill – Technology Fails
Explosion and Fire at Deepwater Drilling Rig in the Gulf of Mexico

Associated Press on Supreme Court denying Asian Carp Case

April 29, 2010

Sorry folks but I am busy being a tourguide to a relation in Yellowstone National Park. Regular blog back on Monday.
Matt

In light of the US Supreme Court decision not to engage on a dispute amongst Great Lakes states over Asian carp in Chicago waterways, Henry Henderson noted that the fight against invasive species will continue in an Associated Press article; the piece was carried by the New York Times, CBS online, and by numerous other outlets… Henry also spoke with the Chicago Tribune and (though not included below) Fox News Chicago about the need to stop the spread of Asian Carp…

China Daily has produced a book on the Environmental NGO’s in China, Li Yang in addition to other NRDC staff helped by providing interviews and other content for the book; attached you will find a PDF copy of the book in Chinese… Sigourney Weaver conducted an in depth question and answer session with The Hill during her recent trip to Washington, D.C. to testify in front of a Senate panel on ocean acidification… In an article for Earth Day MTV.com looked at five celebrities that work on environmental causes. Their list included Chace Crawford, who recently participated in the “This is our Moment” PSA and NRDC Trustee Leonardo DiCaprio… David Doniger discussed the need for climate legislation to occur this year in an interview with Solve Climate.com… In an article by Earth 911.com on trash polluting the world’s oceans Lisa Suatoni stressed that the actions of individuals can help reduce the waste that is collecting off our shores…

Contents:

1. The Associated Press, “Supreme Court Stays out of Asian Carp Dispute”

2. Chicago Tribune, “Supreme Court Declines Asian Carp Case”

3. China Daily, “Green Ambassadors – International NGOs in China”

4. The Hill, “20 Questions with Sigourney Weaver”

5. MTV.com, Hollywood Crush Blog, “Happy Earth Day! We Honor The Five Hottest Green Celebrities”

6. Solve Climate.com, “If Sen. Graham Bails, Is There a Climate and Energy Backup Plan?”

7. Earth 911.com, “Trash Pile Up in Oceans May Go Beyond Pacific”

Complete Coverage:

1. The Associated Press, “Supreme Court Stays out of Asian Carp Dispute”

April 26, 2010

By John Flesher

After striking out with the U.S. Supreme Court, the state of Michigan and others favoring separation of the Lake Michigan and Mississippi River watersheds to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes must devise a new strategy.

The court on Monday refused to intervene for a third time. The justices turned down a plea by Michigan and six other states to revive a long-standing case involving Chicago’s use of an engineered canal network to steer water from Lake Michigan toward the Mississippi.

Michigan and its allies hoped that case would be a vehicle for persuading the court to close shipping locks that could give the despised fish a passageway from Chicago-area waterways to the lake. They also wanted an order to permanently separate the two aquatic systems, linked artificially for more than a century.

The court declined to take the case in a two-sentence ruling with no explanation.

“We are pleased that the court has agreed with our position,” said Lisa Madigan, attorney general of Illinois, which joined the Obama administration in opposing Michigan. Illinois “will continue its extensive work in collaboration with the federal government and all the Great Lakes states” to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes, she said.

All sides agree it’s vital to ward off a carp invasion but disagree on how to do it. Biologists say the ravenous fish, weighing up to 100 pounds, could decimate the lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry by gobbling plankton, a key link in the food chain that supports prized species such as salmon and walleye.

The New York Times, On the Tea Party, by Thomas Friedman

April 26, 2010

I feel this way about the Tea Party Folks. Read…how can a guy be so right..?Friedman always seems right to me!
Matt

I’ve been trying to understand the Tea Party Movement. Sounds like a lot of angry people who want to get the government out of their lives and cut both taxes and the deficit. Nothing wrong with that – although one does wonder where they were in the Bush years. Never mind. I’m sure like all such protest movements the Tea Partiers will get their 10 to 20 percent of the vote. But should the Tea Partiers actually aspire to break out of that range, attract lots of young people and become something more than just entertainment for Fox News, I have a suggestion:

Become the Green Tea Party.

I’d be happy to design the T-shirt logo and write the manifesto. The logo is easy. It would show young Americans throwing barrels of oil imported from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia into Boston Harbor.

The manifesto is easy, too: “We, the Green Tea Party, believe that the most effective way to advance America’s national security and economic vitality would be to impose a $10 “Patriot Fee” on every barrel of imported oil, with all proceeds going to pay down our national debt.”

America now imports about 11 million barrels a day, about 57 percent of our total oil needs – mostly from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. As T. Boone Pickens told Congress the other day: “In January 2010, our trade deficit for the month was $37.3 billion – $27.5 billion of that was money we sent overseas to import oil.”

If we put a Patriot Fee on all of those imported barrels, we would use less, cease enriching bad regimes, strengthen our own dollar, make the air cleaner and the climate more stable, foster the exploitation of domestic and renewable energy sources, promote electric vehicles, help bring down the global price of oil (which hurts Iran and helps poor Africa), and we could use the revenue to shrink the deficit. It’s win, win, win, win, win, win …

Indeed, the Green Tea Party could say, “We’ve got our own health care plan – a plan to make America healthy by simultaneously promoting energy security, deficit security and environmental security.”

“Think about it,” said Carl Pope, the chairman of the Sierra Club. “Green tea is full of antioxidants,” which some believe help reduce cancer and heart disease. “It’s really good for your health.” And a Green Tea Party, he added, could be good for the country’s health “by harnessing all of its energy and unconventional politics” to end our addiction to oil.

Yes, I know, dream on. The Tea Party is heading to the hard libertarian right and would never support an energy bill that puts a fee on carbon.

So if there is going to be a Green Tea Party, it will have to emerge from a different place – the radical center, a center committed to a radical departure from business as usual. Acting on that impulse, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman had forged a bipartisan climate/energy/jobs bill that deserves an energetic centrist Green Tea Party to support it.

This critical piece of energy legislation was supposed to be unveiled by the three senators on Monday, but it was suddenly postponed late Saturday because of Senator Graham’s fury that the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and the White House were planning to take up a highly controversial immigration measure before the energy bill.

If this is what the Obama administration is doing – to score a few cheap political points with Hispanics – it is a travesty. The bipartisan energy bill is ready to go. It is far from perfect. Indeed, it is a shame the fossil fuel industries still have such a stranglehold on Congress. But it’s the best we’re going to get, and we have got to get started. However, without a centrist Green Tea Party movement – one that brings the same passion to cutting emissions that the Tea Party brings to cutting deficits – even this effort will never pass.

This bill introduces a carbon price and other means to control the CO2 emissions of various sectors of the economy, without an economywide cap-and-trade system. The bill’s goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. But to garner broad support, it will also expand domestic production of oil, natural gas and nuclear power and offer tax breaks to manufacturers who make their facilities more energy efficient and create green jobs.

“No bill that could pass Congress right now or in the immediate future would be sufficient to produce enough clean power to mitigate climate change at the rate we need,” remarked the physicist Joe Romm, who writes the blog climateprogress.org and is author of an insightful new book on this subject, “Straight Up.” “We simply aren’t sufficiently desperate to do what is needed, which is nonstop deployment of a staggering amount of low-carbon energy, including energy efficiency, for the rest of the century.”

The reason a Green Tea Party should coalesce to support this bill, argued Romm, is because it will set a price on carbon pollution and help foster commercialization of clean technologies – like hybrids, batteries and solar – at sufficient scale to enable the U.S. to rapidly ramp up when the seriousness of climate change becomes inescapably obvious to all.

In short, the bill is a step in the right direction toward reducing greenhouse gases and expanding our base of clean power technologies so we can compete with China in this newest global industry. It ain’t perfect, but it ain’t beanbag. And if we don’t start now, every solar panel, electric car and wind turbine we’ll have to buy when climate change really hits will come with instructions in Chinese. Go Green Tea Party

The 3 Seater Outhouse

April 24, 2010

I have to tell you about the 3 seater outhouse. It was a way for me to escape, a mouse and student infested cabin. The outhouse was perfect. It had a rail to lean on and a window that was pointed towards 2 mountain peaks loaded with snow until August. I would go in to the outhouse with a cup of folgers and the local newspaper whenever we were there. I was an earlybird so I went there when the world was sleeping (mostly) and it was to cool for mosquitos or biting flies to be up.

I remember once when I was visited by a moose…and I remember when one od the two guys who worked for me rummaged around the outhouse pretending he was a bear…he had me going for awhile.

Memories!!!
Matt

What Do You Value?

April 24, 2010

I am now counting enjoyable things left to do in months. I wish I could still do what I enjoy doing but that is not how this world ticks and I think accepting that really is a challenge.

For example…over a twenty plus year period I trampled and saw a lot of the great North American wildlife forms, like the grizzly bear, like the Golden Eagle. I would do this again if if I had the chance.

Late in life I saw some neat African wildlife…and again this is something I would do again. I think watching my children succeed would bring me an equal amount of pleasure. I am not there yet.

I was listening to a news show on success and a news show on keeping big cats safe from death on a farm and I decided I have no desire for the person’s brand of success nor was I close to being inspired by the person who kept large cats safe behind cages, where these large cats interbreeded and were the cats were like large pets; nothing like wild cats.

Do you know the Garth Brooks song “Friends in Low Places”…well I have low aspirations about life like “Friends In Low Places.” I do not know how to explain what I am saying to you.

There is a show on now and a guy is talking about how his large, oversized bathroom makes him happy because it is a selling point for his home. I find that I enjoyed a 3 seater outhouse I once used.I was visited by a bull moose…and this guy’s selling point large bathroom was uninteresting to me but interesting to him. Our view of importance was different.

What do you value?
Matt
A

More Lomberg and Global Warming News

April 23, 2010

Bjorn Lomberg, a Danish mathemitician, wrote a book, “Cool It”, that is skeptical about global warming and it is very confusing. I have seen well meaning people not know who to believe on this intregal issue.

Lomberg is not a environmentalist and it is amazing to me that some persons in the press still call Lomberg a environmentalist and that he is given the time of day on national news shows while the likes of Bill Mckibben are not on these same shows to counter the Lombergs of the world…this is very frusterating and needs to be changed.

In the meantime I will take heart burn medication for Lombergs latest charade.
Matt

The Lasy Environmentalist, A Telivision Show

April 22, 2010

There is a show called, “The Lasy Environmentalist” that actually looks very interesting.

I have been an environmentilist for 30 plus years and I get snarky when I hear all of the new converts to envirenmentalism these days.

As an example the news anchors on regular telivision are “out of the closet” environmentlists and actors on cable’s CW network are environmentalists. My snarky side says, Oh come on…my pragmatic side says, the more the merrior…I say, the more the merrior.

The Lasy Environmentalist is seen on the Sundance Channel, on Tuesday evenings at 8:00pm.

Tonight at 11:00pm,on MSNBC is a special about the American energy addiction and solutions to this addiction.

The lasy environmentalist includes me and a lot of my friends…but the news piece about the program talked about camping and making smores (graham crackers, Hershey Bars and marshmellows.)

Smores is a part of my camping and it brings back many fond memories for me. The use of smores was put on the piece about camping…produced by, The Lasy Environmentalist. The piece on smores was right next to a piece on camping with a micro wave oven and cooking up popcorn…very funny stuff.

When my older children were children we used to laugh at people who camped and brought telivisions with them. They would plug into a generator. What was done for
T.V….but I have to admit it was very fun to watch those folks.
Matt

Relist Yellowstone Grizzlies

April 22, 2010

I think that Yellowstone Grizzlies are in real trouble and should be relisted under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and here is why.

As mountain pine beetles wipe out a major food source and covertype of the Yellowstone grizzly Bear huge problems will happen to this group of bears. Those two stresser’s alone will negatively impact this subpopulation of brown bears and the population dynamics of this bear will reach a tipping point where this subpopulation of bears can be severely impacted.

In my old study area you would walk through patches of timber where at least 3 grizzly bears were intruded upon in a major way. These bears were all large enough to tear your head off-but their docilness never led to this. My thinking was that these bears were a mother and her 2 young siblings. We watched these bears over a 3 field season period.

Directly on the other side of these bears we had a radio collared grizzly bear and she had 2 coy and she was highly excitable. She showed up with her growing cubs over a 3 field season period when we saw her each night and the calm grizzlies over in the next meadow complex.

I watched as this female took on a large black bear and another radioed grizzly from her area. She was a protective, large female grizzly with very little tolerance for having her space intruded on. I had students who watched these bears. When they hiked out in the intolerant females area to get to the trailhead where they left their cars I told each student to sing and hike out in bear proof groups.

During the 3rd summer I was up there I saw these 2 groups of bears feed on the nuts of white bark pine. This was almost exclusive feeding in the fall of that year and whoabee to any red squirrel caches of cones in the area.

We regularly saw the skiddish female feed in the white bark caches and black bears in the area climbed the whitebarks to avoid grizzlies and get at nuts. Pine bark beetle now is raveging the whitebark pines, thus major food source, of the bears.

Near this food source that is dying quickly as the pine bark beetles do their deed is the dying lodgepole pine, being killed by the same beetles. Nearby this something is killing off the subalpine fir trees (not a pine) part of the covertype sought after by grizzly bears for security.

So grizzlies are losing a major food source and covertypes as mountain pine beetles reek havoc. This will happen over a 15 to 25 year period and the Yellowstone grizzly will be negatively impacted by this travesty.

As the whitebark pine nut disappears bears will look for food sources to replace the pine nut. In my old area they built a hamburger and beer joint right in a corridor where bears travel from my old study area into Yellowstone National Park. I became familiar with this area as we used it to radio collar bears twenty years before. Now off of the back porch it was an area to grill burgers. I am going to guess that grizzly bears will show up in places like the burger joint and become management mortalities.My guess is that a number of these bears will be mature females…a tipping point will be reached by slow reproducing females eventually.

Bears, in other parts of the ecosystem, will try to replace the whitebark with shot elk in hunters camps. These same bears will either be shot by hunters defending property or they will be “controlled” by wardens defending hunters and their properties.

I have seen no discussion about bears losing huge areas of their security cover as lodgepole pines are killed by pine beetles. I see more stress in a bears life as their security cover becomes highly restricted…this also will have a major negative impact on Yellowstone grizzlies.

I am a little stand offish about wolves because overtime I see them outcompeting the grizzly bear for the elk resource. I have seen Rose-Creek wolves almost get young grizzlies 3 times…so I am guessing that occasionally young grizzlies become wolf food. Eight wolves are hunting. They come across a grizzly mother and 1 young. Four wolves preoccupy the female as three more wolves take out the young grizzly. I have not seen this happen to grizzlies but I have personally reconstructed something like this as wolves took down black bears, a white black bear included, before these black bears climbed trees.

The bottom line is that I think wolves are way more efficient predators than grizzly bears who are occasional food for wolves. As bears are forced to turn to other food sources in the fall they will turn even more to ungulate food sources. Wolves and bears will compete for the elk food resource. Wolves will win that competition.

The subpopulation of Yellowstone Grizzlies is due quickly for disastrous changes as the pine bark beetles wreak havoc on all pines and wolves become a major competitor of the bear as bears mitigate loss of the whitebark pine nut resource with even more ungulate protein.

I can only shake my head.
Matt

Invasive Species…and For A Long Time It Has Been Carp from Asia

April 20, 2010

The NRDC is on the right track.

Published : Friday, 16 Apr 2010, 8:52 AM CDT

FOX Chicago News

Friday, the Supreme Court is expected to reopen a case that involves diverting water from Lake Michigan to deal with the Asian carp problem. Tom Cmar, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, joined us.