Wednesday, May 28, 2014

San Diego Fracking Forum - County Supervisor, Dave Roberts

Billed as a "frank, honest, and balanced forum", today, in the old City Council chamber of County Administration building on San Diego Bay, County Supervisor, Dave Roberts held a Forum on Fracking in California.

Other than the few dozen gray haired environmentalists from the press and a few county employees, there were few in attendance.

Although, there were no representatives from the Fracking Industry on the panel, the forum began with a video produced by Marathon Oil Company, an industry leader. The film claimed that fracking was 'safe' and uses secure pipe casing technology, to keep groundwater from contamination.

Among other experts on the Fracking, Geology, and the Energy Industry, were;
* Damon Nagami, Senior Attorney and Director of the Southern California Ecosystems Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council, serves as lead on Fracking in California
* Ken Weinberg, Director of Water Resources for the San Diego County Water Authority
They each commented on the Fracking industry, giving their perspectives of the facts with special attention to the reality that we are a carbon-energy economy, and that of existing fuels, natural gas is both domestically abundant & cheap, and pollutes less than coal, oil, and perhaps even nuclear.
All those in attendance were in agreement that we would prefer a renewable energy economy, and the questions were one sided when it came to the Fracking industry. Although none on the panel would make claim to being carbon fuel suppliers, none would rule out the use of Fracking Technology as a mining technique, either. 

The consensus on the day was that we should be circumspect with regard to Fracking in California, as all the current information about the Fracking in other states leads us think that there are potential long-term public health and environmental costs that are beyond our current understanding. Plus, there are some unknown variables that need to be taken care of by public policy and state legal regulations before the people of our state can be secure in the use of such Fracking technologies, so that we know the potential for groundwater pollution. Among them are:
  1. What exactly are the secret proprietary fracking chemicals being injected into our environment? 
  2. What is the state of our ground water and aquifers prior to fracking mining in each local? 
  3. What the permeability of the rock just beneath our ground water-tables? 
Some Counties, like San Bonito, are now banning fracking exploration, and the National Resources Defense Council has called for a moratorium upon fracking in California until the appropriate studies can be done and regulations are in place.

Among the issues that need to be defined before fracking for hydrocarbons, include:
  • Public Human and Animal Health Risks and Costs
  • Environmental Justice effects and costs
  • Effect of using up our domestic energy stores 
  • The carbon pollution effects
  • Potential for Earth Quake effects (especially who will pay for the repairs to private property and infrastructure if a connection to fracking is proven)
  • Potential direct and indirect effects upon water supplies, groundwater, and pollution of aquifers
  • The potential effects on property values around fracking wells
  • The disposal of fracking waste products, toxins (especially in the ocean)
  • The use of injected acid into fracking wells, and it's potential environmental effects

According to the energy industries, 18% of new wells have casing failures within the first 18-months and the chemicals used in fracking have known endocrine and cancer effects. As I left the building and entered our new county building park, I was struck with all the children playing in the water fountain. 
During the discussion, it was revealed that any existing oil well has the potential to use fracking techniques, and that there are currently 30 such wells active in San Diego County. This seems insignificant compared to the literally tens-of-thousands of Fracking wells in Kern and Los Angeles Counties, but since San Diego county is dependent upon our water supplies from other areas, any potential risk to their watershed is an indirect risk to ours. With the potential for OFF SHORE DRILLING and Fracking using HORIZONTAL drilling techniques, San Diego could still be in some risk of groundwater or ocean contamination. Ever surf on a contaminated beach?

Other issues that came up included the economic effects of reducing our natural gas exploration. There is the potential for a spiraling feedback loop if our least expensive energy increases, effecting all our energy intensive industries from industry to water transportation. However, I believe that these increased costs would motivate and inspire not only new energy sources like renewables, but education and research into efficiency and conservation techniques.
California State Bill 1132, the Fracking Moratorium Bill, comes up for a vote on Friday, May 30th, so contact your state representatives.
Apparently there is also a San Diego - Science Advisory Board - and I'm trying to identify, if you have any information please use the comments section to inform us. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Michael Tellinger - UBUNTU A World Without Money

What we in America call "MONEY" is actually a set of tools: a medium of exchange that makes trade efficient (i.e. currency), a store of value that saves the wealth generated by our work over time (i.e. savings), a measure of debt based upon the credit or potential value of future work (i.e. debt/credit), and probably a few other tools depending upon which currency of which nation you are trading upon. Redistributing the power to create these tools to the people, either individually or in small groups is a good idea to democratize control, but we already have a system for that, it's called the stock market. Every corporation, weather owned by one person or a million, can print and trade in stock, which is nothing less than printing it's own money. The value of that money depends directly upon the productivity of the business and the value it creates. The owners of that stock benefit directly. 

He seems to blame the tool, instead of the concept of ownership of natural resources and the artificial scarcity that concept creates. Defining natural resources such as air, water, land, energy as 'CAPITAL' is the problem, not the concept of currency or savings or credit or debt. Wealth is a measure of the value of our work, it is infinite, but the resources of this planet are not. There is no way to create 'absolute abundance' on a finite planet. You need an infinite number of planets, and we can't get interstellar without working together. "Money" creates a just system of trade to help us work together efficiently, without ceding control, power, autonomy to dictators. Consensus of judgement and true liberty can only happen if each person has the ability to control the value of their work. The merit of your choices is defined by the benefit to others, but the choices must be made by individuals, else we are not free. 
My contribution would be to sire children to create abundance of children, 3 hrs./week. I'll create my own society by following my passion and start the domino effect. Ubuntu Vegas!

New Harvard Study targets Bayer Neonicotinoids as cause of Colony Collapse Disorder

The bee colony collapse disorder mystery has been solved.
In spite of denials that claim neonicatinoid pesticides are not lethal to bees, a new Harvard study fingers neonics as the key driver of colony collapse disorder. The experiment couldn't have been simpler. Working with nearby beekeepers, Harvard researcher Chensheng Lu and his team treated 12 colonies with tiny levels of neonics and kept six control hives free of the popular chemicals. All 18 hives made it through summer without any apparent trouble. Come winter, though, the bees in six of the treated hives vanished, leaving behind empty colonies—the classic behavior of colony collapse disorder. None of the six control hives experienced a CCD-style disappearing act, although one did succumb to a common-to-bees gut pathogen called nosema.
This year, beekeepers in Ohio, for example, reported winter losses of 50 percent to 80 percent.
Last year, Europe placed a two-year moratorium on most neonic uses, pending more research on their effect on honeybees. The US Environmental Protection Agency, for its part, is reviewing its registration of the chemicals, and won't be done until 2016 at the earliest.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Timothy Geithner Extended Interview

Timothy Geithner Extended Interview: Former Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner discusses his book "Stress Test," and suggests that the bailout was necessary to avoid a depression.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

From Bill Moyers and Company

Eight Pseudoscientific Climate Claims Debunked by Real Scientists

cave in glacier, scientist, climate change
Jonathan Tucker in a cave beneath a glacier. (Photo: Rex Features via AP Images)
Most people who deny that human activity is warming the planet just dismiss a massive body of scientific evidence as a big hoax.
But there’s a more sophisticated set of climate “skeptics” who make arguments that, at least to the lay ear, sound like they’re grounded in scientific evidence. And because most of us lack the background to evaluate their claims, they can muddy the waters around an issue that’s been settled in the scientific community.
So, as a public service, we gathered eight of the most common of these pseudoscientific arguments and asked some serious climate scientists — all working climatologists who have been widely published — to help us understand what makes these claims so misleading.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change - by Naomi Oreskes

How come, in the face of all Scientific Evidence, we have lost the battle of public opinion for the last decade?

Reprinted from Science Dec. 2004
Policy-makers and the media, particularly in the United States, frequently assert that climate science is highly uncertain. Some have used this as an argument against adopting strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, while discussing a major U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the risks of climate change, then-EPA administrator Christine Whitman argued, “As [the report] went through review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change” (1). Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (2). Such statements suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. This is not the case.
The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC's purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations” [p. 21 in (4)].
IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members' expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. For example, the National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, begins: “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise” [p. 1 in (5)]. The report explicitly asks whether the IPCC assessment is a fair summary of professional scientific thinking, and answers yes: “The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue” [p. 3 in (5)].
Others agree. The American Meteorological Society (6), the American Geophysical Union (7), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling (8).
The drafting of such reports and statements involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies' members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions. That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change” (9).
The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.
Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.
This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.
The scientific consensus might, of course, be wrong. If the history of science teaches anything, it is humility, and no one can be faulted for failing to act on what is not known. But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it.
Many details about climate interactions are not well understood, and there are ample grounds for continued research to provide a better basis for understanding climate dynamics. The question of what to do about climate change is also still open. But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen.

References and Notes

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Monday, May 5, 2014

The Yes Men Prank Homeland Security into Adopting 100% Renewable Energy

Using the very kind of Corporate Profit Paradigm and Government Bureaucracy that keeps destroying the environment and creating world wide resource wars, the "YES MEN" challenge the USA to create a 100% Renewable Energy Economy by 2030, using Native American lands, and thus employing unemployed minorities that have been traditionally repressed. If only we had such leadership in real life.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

CO2 >400ppm

Over the years, Scientists have sounded the alarm and even taken political positions about the levels of carbon-pollution we pump into our atmosphere and it's long term effects on global climate. In April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) observatory, which sits atop a 11,000-foot-tall Hawaiian volcano, released data that shows that we are now in a world where Carbon-dioxide levels are twice their historic level. (see Mashable article)

Have you ever heard of geometric feedback? You see, even though CO2 makes up a very small percentage of the total atmosphere, it is NOT the only Green House Gas (GHG). It works with methane and water vapor to keep the Earth warm at night, else we would have wild temperature swings, and freezing temperatures across the globe every day. When you add a small (25%) increase in this CO2 factor, that traps just a little more heat in the atmosphere each day, but it is accumulative.

Each day the Earth is hit by radiant energy from the Sun, equivalent to about 2.5 X 10 to the 9th Atomic Bombs (10,000 exajoules / day). Thus, keeping just a fraction of 1% of that energy / year is enough to melt the polar ice, warm the world's oceans, and evaporate enough water (including our lakes and groundwater) to add much more water vapor (a strong GHG) to the atmosphere, creating a feedback loop (I will not even mention how the melting permafrost and undersea hydrocarbons will add to the green-house effect with methane).

This "CO2 = 0.04%" is thus non-trivial. Just 2-degrees Celsius will change life on Earth as we know it, by inducing global climate change. Most of the species will not survive.