Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How China’s economy is choking on smog | Talking Numbers - Yahoo Finance

How China’s economy is choking on smog | Talking Numbers - Yahoo Finance:

Imagine your favorite city closed down because of the weather, maybe a blizzard... Many of China's cities can have the same problem, but it is because of smog pollution.

This is a country that burns more coal than the rest of the world, combined.

Nice thing is that they share this pollution with their neighbors.

Plus the burning of coal is a gigantic producer of CO2 emissions.

At what point does this pollution start to curb the 7% economic growth that the company continues to experience?  Certainly down from decades of more than 10% growth, but it is hard to grow with the traffic congestion and pollution slowing down ad periodically stopping the economy.

Things that are not sustainable, like rapid growth, have a way of producing their own remedy.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dell Wants Employees To Work From Home - Business Insider

Dell Wants Employees To Work From Home - Business Insider:

Dell is following a "Do Good" plan for 2020. Remote work, packaging and shipping. Working with supply chain and customers as well. Looks pretty GOOD!:-)

As it pertains to telecommuting... Dell seems to be saving a lot and doing "Good" as well. Telecommuting and other initiatives are outlined in Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan.

Here's a calc and additional info on Telecommuting savings: http://www.globalworkplaceanalytics.com/calculator

So Dell is saving lots of money. $14m last year, and reducing impact on the environment, including almost 7 thousands barrels of oil/gas reduction.

Sounds like a Good Plan, pun intended.:-)

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Sustainability Business Success Hinges on CEO Mindset Change · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader

Sustainability Business Success Hinges on CEO Mindset Change · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader:

"Some 67 percent of CEOs in the study believed business is not doing enough to address global sustainability challenges. . .  While 84 percent believed business should lead the way in addressing those challenges"

Sustainable Leaders... Seems like something that Hall and Knab were talking about in their 2012 article/chapter.

For businesses and business leaders (CEOs) not to take an active roll in sustainability would be, well, irresponsible (Hall & Knab, 2012).


Hall, E., & Knab, E.F. (2012, July). Social irresponsibility provides opportunity for the win-win-win of Sustainable Leadership. In C. A. Lentz (Ed.), The refractive thinker: Vol. 7. Social responsibility (pp. 197-220). Las Vegas, NV: The Refractive Thinker® Press.
(Available from www.RefractiveThinker.com, ISBN: 978-0-9840054-2-0) 

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Microsoft, Owens Corning Join Climate Declaration · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader

Microsoft, Owens Corning Join Climate Declaration · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader:  BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) calls climate change “one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.

That's right, opportunity.

Microsoft and Owens-Corning have joined the Climate Declaration (spearheaded by CERES).

This is a very nice & concise article on the more that 650 major corporations worldwide that have stepped up to the plat to take and active stance on sustainability.

Microsoft is due to be Carbon neutral by the end of 2013: http://sustainzine.blogspot.com/2012/06/social-irresponsibility-energy-and-cost.html . . . Turns out they made it with a few months to spare: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/10/03/microsoft-achieved-carbon-neutrality-nrdc-says/

So many businesses are on board, now all we need is a little help from the gov.

Keywords: CERES, zero carbon, carbon footprint, energy policy, Microsoft, Carbon Declaration

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Patent Trolls Threaten Green Innovation · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader

Patent Trolls Threaten Green Innovation · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader:

There is a lot of discussion about "patent trolls" and the impact they have on various industries.

Here is the argument about the impact they have on the innovation in "green" technology. This is really the case for all new technology and all new industries, but the argument is about the major impact the trolls have on smaller organizations in the fledgling green technologies.

Much if not most of sustainability, however, is the practice of ancient technologies like organics (manure) and energy efficiency.


Keywords: patents, Patent Troll, green business, sustainability,
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Organic. Foods to buy Organic -- The dirty dozen foods

There's a lot of discussion about foods that are really and issue to eat that are not organic.

The idea is that you can eat the cheaper stuff in many cases but definitely spend the money on some of the foods that are really likely to be very unhealthy if you don't go for the organically grown.

Look here for the annual list of the dirty and also the green foods by Environmental Working Group's annual list.

7 Best Foods to Buy Organic

  • Potatoes
  • Beef
  • Milk
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Kale / Spinach
  • Peaches

The Dirty Dozen

"But organic food can cost more, meaning many families are loathe to shell out the extra cash for organic produce on every shopping trip. That's what makes the Environmental Working Group's annual list of the dirty dozen foods so useful. The group analyzes Department of Agriculture data about pesticide residue and ranks foods based on how much or little pesticide residue they have. The group has estimated that individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 12 foods."

The Dirty Dozen PLUS (14 foods to strongly consider organics)

Eating Well will tell you that there's a couple more you should keep your eye on that are dirty(er).

Note that the USDA has not yet offered a Minimum daily recommendation for pesticides. So, if you want to reduce that wild-card in your diet, avoiding these foods unless they are organic is probably a good idea!.

But, it's your body and your diet, so you decide where and how you spend your money and gain your calories/nutrition.  

Healthy eats to you.

Non-GMO Food Market to Hit $800 Billion by 2017 (i.e. Organic) Environmental Leader

Non-GMO Food Market to Hit $800 Billion by 2017 · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader:

Notice that Non-GMO does not necessarily mean "organic"...

Should be cool to read the full report: http://www.packagedfacts.com/Non-GMO-Foods-7822141/

But that would cost about $3,000... So we'll have to read the discussion on it.

But the trends in whole foods -- as in Whole Foods, Hanes, Chipoltles, etc. -- has been more than impressive. The organic section of all grocery stores is growing like weeds, to offer a green mixed metaphor.

Looking forward to more momentum on the organic front.

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Next generation of biofuels is still years away | Hattiesburg American | hattiesburgamerican.com

Next generation of biofuels is still years away | Hattiesburg American | hattiesburgamerican.com:

Biofuel is a byline in the energy mix.

So biofuel is mandated. And because it is ordered to be true, it must be.

And because it is ordered to be true, the mandate must meet the expectations.

Thus is the problem with government subsidies... Burning food for fuel (corn to ethanol) is still a rather dumb idea, even though it is finally getting efficient enough that there is a small net gain gallon-equivalent per gallon of ethanol.

What would work perfectly well, from an economics point of view, is to raise taxes on non-renewable sources of fuel and energy. A simple carbon tax would do it. It could be progressive over time.

Then the more accurate costs of non-renewables would allow for the energy economy to shift and make its on path forward. The types of renewable fuel would decide themselves and the government would be out of the picture setting mandates in less-than-smart -- some might say foolish -- areas.

Of course the politicians who set the wheels in process for a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade (tax?) will soon find themselves out to pasture shoveling biowaste.

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Sustainability becomes a business law

Sustainability becomes a business law:

This is a straight-forward article about sustainability in the ag world.

There are business forces that are pushing toward sustainability as a "business law". Sustainability has always been a "law of nature". Break the law consistently and you should expect "unpredictable" results. (Well, probably somewhat predictable, but certainly not good results.)

With the move toward $1T in non-GMO (organic-ish) worldwide, it is certainly clear that Ag needs to take the market seriously.

The market may make the non-sustainable business models extinct, long before the non-sustainable practices exhaust the non-sustainable businesses.

Look for an upcoming article here on "Fertilizer, a broken and non-sustainable business model".

'via Blog this'

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fuel cell cars from Toyota, Honda, Hyundai set to debut at auto shows - latimes.com

Fuel cell cars from Toyota, Honda, Hyundai set to debut at auto shows - latimes.com:

We've been waiting for decades (50 years?) for a fuel cell car.

It looks like Toyota will come out fist with a Fuel Cell car next year.

The fuel cell being announced this next week are coming from Honda and Hyundai.

Unfortunately, it seems, these will be hydrogen fuel based.

Other versions of Fuel Cell generators use liquid fuels, not straight hydrogen. Without fueling stations for hydrogen the technology is stuck where LP  and LNG was 10 years ago before Clean Energy (and others) started putting up liquid natgas stations along the trucking corridors.

Let's see what the announcement(s) bring.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

As BP oil spill trial resumes, lying accusations bubble up - CBS News

As BP oil spill trial resumes, lying accusations bubble up - CBS News:

Everyone remembers the  massive Gulf oil spill starting April 20, 2010 and 87 days of spillage.

As we all watched the pictures from the surface oil slick and the underwater cameras at the well head, it was a tale of two oil spills.

BP: trickle ... => Media: deluge
BP: gallons ... => Media: barrels
BP: creek  => river

But the truth is, no one anywhere believed the BP numbers.

They really had no recovery plan. As this article said, they only had a plan to create a plan, if and when they needed a plan.

Disaster recovery plans for businesses have details that have been well thought through. One page for a wellhead breach under water is not exactly a detailed plan.

The dispersant (Corexit) works at the surface with sunlight and such. However about 45% of the Corexit was used at the well head, resulting in oil that was stuck in limbo half way to the surface. At the surface it can be removed and/or treated.

More importantly, apparently, for BP was that at the surface it can more accurately be MEASURED.

The difference between the 4.2m Barrels by Justice department experts and the 2.45mb by BP is almost half. Of course the BP numbers wrong. Is it more than 4.2mb, probably. Less, probably not.

Additionally, however, the $1,100 penalty max per barrel (~42 gal/brl) would be essentially 4 times that ($4,300/brl) if BP is found negligent.

That's the difference between $18B in fines and about $2.7B (BP's low-ball estimates and the lower fine).

There really is, however, lots of blame to go around. The regulatory agency that rubber-stamped everything oil and mining related has now be disbanded in disgrace. The "plans" were the same for all oil drillers. Everyone was doing the same types of drilling, although maybe not quite the lax monitoring/procedures.

AND the government had a limit on the exposure for drillers in a very cozy relationship with the oil companies. It was a paltry amount... with the official rationale of promoting drilling (and oil independence). Of course, that limitation was immediately revoked.

Can you imagine if BP were a smaller player that simply went bankrupt? The good thing about a BIG company with deep pockets (pun) is that you can make 'em pay, and then keep making them pay.

In the end, the oil industry is a far safer place because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Here are some lessons learned (and used).

'via Blog 

el capitan, my capitan. Yosemite hits 123rd birthday.

So it seems that Yosemite National Park is 123 years old today. Today, Google pays trubute www.Google.com.  Links to Yosemite search.

The massive rim fire has brought the Yosemite and Sequoya Parks back into full view. Even if you have only seen them once in your lifetime, it is one of the great spiritual experiences.

El Capitan, my capitan.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Social Good Summit 2013 - Social Good Summit

Social Good Summit 2013 - Social Good Summit:

Here's a video of the conference on United Nations Foundation, Gates Foundation and more. on Social Good Summit 2013... Conference runs from Sept 22 - 24, New York, NY.

Al Gore is in this too.

Hash tag I guess is #2030now

Check out the LP Recharge game, Kuuluu.com. Part of the UN movement to have affordable, renewable energy for all. 1.3B people do not have access to energy. Maybe 3B don't really have safe and affordable energy.

Very interesting.

Not quite the balance of the business and economic engine for development and wealth creation that we would like to see. But some very good stuff here.

'via Blog this'

Natural gas, the media’s failures, and you « The Cost of Energy

Natural gas, the media’s failures, and you « The Cost of Energy:


"The Cost of Energy" Lou Grinzo blogs (and reblogs) about how unclear NatGas really is. It all has to do with the Methane released from the fracking.

See the reprint of the blog at EthicsAndClimate.org from Dr. Brown.

Sadly NatGas may really not be cleaner than Coal. How dirty is that!

Here's my comments over to Lou's post.
Okay, as always, your blogs are extremely informative, with lots of facts that are well substantiated. The Dr. Brown article is a real eye opener on fracking.

Ouch! This is ugly. So we really don't gain anything from NatGas except maybe fuel independence -- and a wonderful improvement to our US trade (im)balance!:-(

The question I have for all of this NatGas is here and now. Half of the NatGas in the US is flared. So when we say that NatGas is 50% cleaner than coal, do we count the other 100% that is flared in the making? Oh, wait, we aren't saying that NatGas is actually cleaner than coal. It may not be!

Don't get me wrong, there's a safety and a transport issue here with flaring...

Good news is that much of the flaring is probably methane, right? So it could be worse, there might not be as much flaring. Simply releasing the methane would be a hefty magnitude worse?

And, of course, the point is that there should be no (short-term) plan to switch to NatGas without some follow-on plan to switch completely to sustainable fuel/power.

Much like our US energy policy, if there is one, the short-term plan is the only plan, even though it is based on exhaustible resources. That is, the plan is broken as designed.

Non-sustainability, over time, has a way of giving a wicked whiplash effect. And somehow, everyone with this broken short-term plan feel warm and cuddly about it.

Double ouch!

'via Blog this'

Climate change: Sea ice, global cooling, and other nonsense

Climate change: Sea ice, global cooling, and other nonsense:

I was rather pleased in my travels last week to get a glimpse of the news that the Arctic ice caps had been expanding again. They had been shrinking, and getting smaller at an increasing rate, so statistically, we were certainly due for a recovery. I saw a 60% recovery, however, so I was a little skeptical.

So I just now get a chance to check into it, only to find that the Global Cooling Loon David Rose was at it again, spreading (lies?) misinformation around the nation (UK). You often wonder if he is let out of the asylum, or simply makes this stuff up inside.

You wonder who, if anyone anywhere, would possibly be served by printing such blatant miss-information.

Here's a great article about the whole thing by Plait. (@BadAstronomer)

A 60% recovery of the ice caps? Look at the graphic. Last year was so horrible that ships were easily able to navigate the north pole. This could have, and should have, gotten everyone's attention everywhere.

So this year wasn't that bad. Yeah!:-)

It was bad, however. Ouch!:-( ... With more than 1 standard deviation below "normal" for the last 30 years. On a grade-point scale, I would rank this as moving from a low F to an F+. (Plait offered up a D- grade, but was probably grading on the curve.)

So DailyMail gets some traffic, from printing this garbage. The people who take the headline and run, continue to get steered down a dead-end hole of misinformation.


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Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Hidden Essentials to Losing Weight - Developing Healthy Habits | Developing Healthy Habits, LLC

The Hidden Essentials to Losing Weight - Developing Healthy Habits | Developing Healthy Habits, LLC:

This relates to sustainability because it pertains to the healthy balance of one's body.

When your body is working well (correctly) then losing weight or gaining weight should typically not be much of a problem. (And a kabillion studies show that the off-and-on fasting is rarely effective and often downright dangerous.)

This is a very readable article about covers the basics of carbs, proteins and fats (including the essential fats, EFAs). She talks about the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 (which should be about 4 to 1, not the typical 20 to 1 for highly processed foods in a typical American diet).

Good bacteria in the intestines should be about 80% with no more that 15% bad for healthy gastro tract.

Having these things in stable balance should result in very stable energy, lubricated joints, stabilized insulin and blood sugar levels.

She argues that you should do these things long before trying to take other measures to weight management (losing extra pounds).

She will also tell you more about why eating fat is good for your health.

keywords: health, wellness, intestines, fat, diet, weight loss, sustainable living

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Little history on Recessions... Lessons in Recessions.

The question recently came up as to "I still have never gotten a great description how we got into the Great Depression?"

The truth is, it wasn't easy.

But one of the best 4 minute explanations ever is on this YouTube video: Causes of the Great Depression.

John Maynard Keynes, the king of Keynesian economics, would call these expansions and contractions, not recessions. You get them free with a capitalist economic system. With the exception of China, it seems that you may only get the contractions in communist systems (like USSR, Cuba, S. Korea and Venezuela).

Read more on the Great Depression at Wikipedia. As it pertains specifically to the USA, it is pretty heavy reading, though.

You can look at the similarities of the recessions of 2000 (the DotCom bomb) and the Great Recession of 2007-200x. In all cases there were financial bubbles at work. But the Great Recession was bubble-bulging in housing and financial markets throughout the USA and beyond. It effected all US industries and and all US States. No place to run from it, and no place to hide from it.

Apply called The Great Recession, it is a generational recession. That is, economists argue that you should only see such a recession about once in your lifetime.  Note the massive overhang of shadow banking and the increase in uncertainty (including the use of derivatives).

Of course, you should only experience a hurricane about once in your lifetime or see a massive flood about every 500 years. Sometimes historical precedent does not accurately foretell the future?

You should expect markets to overshoot, maybe wildly, in the future. The overshoot will be to down side and to the up, as well.

Keep going up, but carry a parachute.

BTW. Check out this article about doing the same-old, same old, after a recession obviously suggests that a new approach is needed. Creating the same college degrees as if there would be jobs for them is, well, not smart!

Hall, E. (2010). Lessons of recessions: Sustainability education and jobs may be the answer. Journal of Sustainability and Green Management. Jacksonville, FL: Academic and Business Research Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.aabri.com/OC2010Manuscripts/OC10079.pdf  

Keywords: recession, Recovery, Great Depression, Great Recession, Keynes, Sustainable Education

Friday, September 20, 2013

EPA proposes strict emission limits on new power plants

EPA proposes strict emission limits on new power plants:

Coal power plants, especially new ones, are under fire.

As well they should be. Deaths in mining, deaths and health associated with smog and pollution, and the dirty secret of coal ash are enough to make a sane person push back from more coal power plants.

BUT, here's the kicker. What if we ship all of our coal over to China and have them burn it without any of the scrubbers and safety that we have in the Sates. ???

China now burns half of the world's coal. It's causing them some smog problems and social unrest, but ...

India, of course is increasing rapidly as well.

If we don't burn it hear, only to have it burned there, then what have we really gained? :-(

'via Blog this'

Study: Natural gas industry can cut fracking emissions

Study: Natural gas industry can cut fracking emissions:

This would be great to minimize the methane from the fracking of wells.

Since NatGas is soooo much cleaner than coal (and gasoline). It is a slam-dunk decision as a way to start moving away from coal.

Of course, it is not a sustainable solution for the looong term. NatGas could be a bridge fuel to a clean and renewable future.

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A frosty G20 puts global warming on ice - Comment - Voices - The Independent

A frosty G20 puts global warming on ice - Comment - Voices - The Independent:

Great article. Like many such meetings, the major part of the the G20 meeting gets diverted to North Korea or Egypt or Syria. Too bad, there's a lot the the G20 can do, besides putter with the politics that's taken over the news today.

Surprisingly, there was movement on making progress on the very best places to push hard related to our impact on the environment, greenhouse gases (GHGs) and global warming.

Most people who don't focus on sustainability don't realize what a wicked impact hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) have on the (atmosphere) environment. Most HFCs are released into the atmosphere from Freon, the gas that has an ugly impact on the Ozone layer in the atmosphere. But the other problem with florine-based gasses is that they last in the atmosphere for centuries, not decades. Look at the global warming potential of various gases here: GWP at INTCCC and wikipedia GHGs.

So continuing to use Freon is a gift for the future that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving.

The approach to CFCs is one of the great success stories of our time. Starting with the Montreal Protocol in 1987 the international community has banded together to address and reduce CFCs. Most countries, that is. Progress has been especially strong because of the progress in alternative refrigerants that are still cheap and efficient. Not so much so, the progress in other greenhouse gases.

As you can see, the GHGs of carbon dioxide and the noxious oxides are increasing in the atmosphere unabated. Methane seems to be slowing down a little. Remember that these increased levels are above and beyond the levels that the atmosphere has become accustom to. Longer duration graphs are equally as telling.

But as you can see, CFC emissions have plateaued, but not necessarily reduced. The problem is that several countries, apparently, have not bothered to make the leap to replacement FREON  refrigerants, namely India and Brazil. One of the best, easiest, cheapest and greatest-impact methods to address GHG issues is to pressure those rogue countries to join the rest of the world on HFC reduction.

Turns out the G20 meeting, lead by China and USA, are looking to "encourage" these rogue countries to pick up the pace on HFCs.

Making progress on the most important things first, is a great approach to sustainability. HFCs is a great place to push. Even the G20, and the UN that don't agree on much, have taking this approach.

EE is probably the greatest place to focus, however. Energy efficiency (EE) and similar types of inefficiencies are the great untapped places to save money, energy and the environment. Everybody wins, except, maybe the power companies. But that's the focus of other books and blog posts.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Wonk Gap - NYTimes.com -- its the lie not the truth that is telling.

The Wonk Gap - NYTimes.com:

Rotary International has a 4-Way test that starts with "Is it the truth?" In all we say and do ...

If the facts that are presented are not truthful, then whatever follows in the arguments are bogus. Who benefits and why can not meaningfully be determined.

Stated differently, often (usually?) based on a careful organization of the facts, the best decisions are self-evident.

So what does Dr. Paul have to say about outright denial and miss information on the right? He points out the healthcare costs have actually been tame in recent years. Current estimates of the future costs/savings are actually better the GAO had originally estimated. Until recently, healthcare costs had been increasing at about 10% per year over the last 30 some years. All evidence is that these costs are much tamer, just over inflation, for the last few years. And that is prior to Obama care really kicking in.

I know! I'm surprised too, because Obama care doesn't do nearly enough to address out-of-control healthcare costs as I would like to see. But shifting people out of the emergency room as the primary care, has got to save tons of money.

Klugman points out how obvious and untruthful some of the information is that continues to be propagated. At least on PBS, you will find a serious analysis of the issues and usually a fare representation of both sides.

Why would anyone anywhere continue to accept consistent untruths and even blatant lies?

I like to hear what I want to hear. But I need to hear what I don't want to hear. As long as it is factual.

Counter factual is, will, counterproductive, to say the least.

Good article Dr Paul. It is too bad that the right people won't read it. And the people who do read it, probably won't apply the concept of truth-in-information-sources to their own media noise.

We all need to unfriend sources who promote bogus information, and let them talk to empty space. Only then will we have meaningful solutions to replace meaningless bickering.

'via Blog this'

Monday, August 26, 2013

Smaller cities get startup-style sustainability incubator | GreenBiz.com

Smaller cities get startup-style sustainability incubator | GreenBiz.com:

Sustainable Green Incubators sounds very cool.  (July 23, 2013 article).

There area all kinds of cool things that can be done -- especially energy efficiency-wise -- that will have huge saving (and great environmental reductions as well). !:-)

Here's the incoming incubators (or accelerators).
The inaugural 2013-14 accelerator class includes these cities:
• Waco, Texas
• Wichita, Kan.
• Portland, Maine
• Louisville, Ky.
• Tucson, Ariz.
• Sacramento Council of Governments and member cities Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Ceres Monthly Newsletter - Flaring of Gas/NatGas

Ceres Monthly Newsletter:
Ceres Monthly Newsletter - Flaring of Gas/NatGas
This report starts to document the amount of gas (nat gas) that is flared in the production of oil/gas.

In the US we can't get the nat gas to market, so it is imply flared in many cases. The oil (wet particulates) are much more valuable so that is shipped by pipe if possible, but by truck or train if not.

One statement from a CEO in the oil patch has commented that half of the nat gas produces in the US is being flared. Safety, of course is critical. But this is a humongous waste of energy and environmental waste as well.

Check out the article and then look at the report here: http://www.ceres.org/resources/reports/flaring-up-north-dakota-natural-gas-flaring-more-than-doubles-in-two-years/view

Basic economics is one approach to this issue. If NatGas were more valuable, then there would be very little flaring. Right now it is about $3.50 (per ... unit) in the USA. So Nat gas is a byproduct of the production of oil unless it can be readily distributed to market (pipeline).  But for the world markets, NatGas is very valuable, let's say $10. If we can bridge the gap from domestic only to world, then the price would jump and the flaring would, well, burn out. :-)

The key is liquefied natural gas (LNG). Not coincidentally, LNG is the trading symbol of Chaniere Energy, one the the leading players in infrastructure for exporting LNG.

'via Blog this'

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rising levels of acids in seas may endanger marine life, says study | Environment | The Guardian

Rising levels of acids in seas may endanger marine life, says study | Environment | The Guardian


This has been a growing concern. The rapid increases in the CO2 levels -- blasting past 400ppm as we speak -- that has several scary consequences.

First, there's the greenhouse gas (GHG) thing and the rising temperatures of the air and land.

Second, the excess CO2, at least some of it, is absorbed into the oceans. This increases the acidity of the oceans. Higher acid levels could wipe out shell fish, coral reefs and other things/animals that are critical for the health of the oceans (and of the planet).

Here's what the article and the scientists said:
Hans Poertner, professor of marine biology at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, and co-author of a new study of the phenomenon, told the Guardian: "The current rate of change is likely to be more than 10 times faster than it has been in any of the evolutionary crises in the earth's history."
Seawater is naturally slightly alkaline, but as oceans absorb CO2 from the air, their pH level falls gradually. Under the rapid escalation of greenhouse gas emissions, ocean acidification is gathering pace and many forms of marine life – especially species that build calcium-based shells – are under threat.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It Keeps Getting Cheaper To Install Solar Panels In The U.S. | ThinkProgress

It Keeps Getting Cheaper To Install Solar Panels In The U.S. | ThinkProgress:

The cost of solar is dropping and the install capacity is quietly on the rise.

Prices are down to $.30 to $.90 per watt.

Plus the market is starting to be healthier. China is no longer allowed to dump their (artificially cheap) over capacity on the US and EU.

Even the White House is jumping onto sun power.

Very cool.

'via Blog this'

Why the World Bank Is Taking On Climate Change - NationalJournal.com

Why the World Bank Is Taking On Climate Change - NationalJournal.com: "w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m"

Caral Davenport of the National Journal spoke with Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's vice president of sustainable development, about the economic impact of climate change.

The world bank is taking some rather aggressive action. 
(Also watch the debate on global warming that follows. Hmmm?.)

Some of us would argue, that if you don't want governments to take more active roles in sustainability, then we all should start to be more sustainable ourselves. We have to eventually, right? 

Why not start now, and start with the "low lying fruit": energy efficiency, telecommuting, etc.  Those initiatives not only pay for themselves, but can be implemented immediately.

Or we can continue to debate if there really is global warming, is it primarily man-made, etc. 

For the latest info on the science and the concepts of sustainability visit: www.TinyURL.com/SharedStuffZ/
The intro document there provides the outline of the WikiBook with hyperlinks to the live pages in Wikipedia. If you think that Wikipedia is wrong, please offer corrections and provide sources and links to the proof. But, before you offer corrections, read some of the section, especially read the nexus of energy, water, and food.

Even if there were no global warming, we all should start to take aggressive action now, today, ahora. The global warming issue simply adds a level of urgency to our steps.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Holding back the oceans... The Cost of Energy... Compounding and getting worse.

Holding back the ocean (via The Cost of Energy)
The inevitability of sea level rise (emphasis added): Small numbers can imply big things. Global sea level rose by a little less than 0.2 metres during the 20th century – mainly in response to the 0.8 °C of warming humans have caused through greenhouse…

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chia... The super healthy alternative to ... The Costco Connection - July 2013 - Page 47

The Costco Connection - July 2013 - Page 47:

Really cool about Chia.

We knew about the tea and the drinks, but who knew about all the other uses of Chia.

Substitute for eggs.

Even tells a little history. Short article is jam-packed as is the little Chia seed.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

US energy use dropped in 2012 as renewables, natural gas rose | Ars Technica

US energy use dropped in 2012 as renewables, natural gas rose | Ars Technica:

Yes, the US has backed off a little with energy use during the recession, especially.

That would be a good thing if not for the emissions from China and India.

This is an AMAZING chart of the energy in and the energy out within the USofA. This has been an interesting chart to watch over the years.

~95.1 Quads

That is Quadrillion BTUs. (British Thermal Unit). If you think a Quadrillion is a LOT, you are right.

Double interesting in this picture is the the "rejected energy". That is 58.1, estimated to be the same as that used. Therefore the right side is about 116.2 (58.1 + 58.1). I guess the left side is the 95.1

It takes some time to fully understand this diag, over time it is very interesting.

Note the drop in Coal in the US. Nat gas is so clean and cheap it is likely to put coal out of business. In the USA anyway.

We'll send it to China? By now China must have exceeded half of the worlds coal consumption.

Want to look at forecasts of the future, go to US Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook 2013.

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The Keeling Curve | How Much CO2 Can The Oceans Take Up?

The Keeling Curve | How Much CO2 Can The Oceans Take Up?: "Recent estimates have calculated that 26 percent of all the carbon released as CO2 from fossil fuel burning, cement manufacture, and land-use changes over the decade 2002–2011 was absorbed by the oceans. (About 28 percent went to plants and roughly 46 percent to the atmosphere.) During this time, the average annual total release of was 9.3 billion tons of carbon per year, thus on average 2.5 billion tons went into the ocean annually."

So... of the 9.3 billion in CO2 emissions, the oceans have been absorbing about 26%. But, as in all things that reach saturation, this cannot be expected to continue.

We do know that CO2 will go into the air, since the atmosphere gets first go at fossil fuel emissions. So the Greenhouse gasses might start to rise much, much faster.

This certainly looks like a no-win.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sea levels set for a 'continuing rise' for generations...The Daily Climate ... Like baking a cake.

Sea levels set for a 'continuing rise' for generations — The Daily Climate:

So here's the story. It's already baked into the cake.

The current setting has sea levels rising for decades. Even if we all went to carbon neutral tomorrow.

The basics are that greenhouse gasses will persist in the atmosphere for decades, even centuries. The most prevalent is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which will stay in the atmosphere for 70 years, maybe 100.

So, we can expect temperatures to rise 2, 3, maybe 4 or 5 degrees C. And, as the ocean waters warm, the water expands (thermal expansion). If the oceans are about 2 miles deep, on average, the heat expansion really makes a difference. We're talking yards here, not feet.

Some estimates seem to show only the top, maybe the top 10% of the oceans heating and expanding. But that's because they are using a short planning horizon. If you wait another 50 to 100 years, you should expect far more of the oceans to warm, and expand.

That is, the heating is already "baked into the cake"... Or in our case, baked into the atmosphere, which will eventually bake into the oceans, which will eventually...

Well, you get the picture.

Make no doubt, I'm looking and hoping that this scenario is not the most likely to play forward.

We do have lower solar and volcanic activities which should serve as a cooling damper for the atmosphere.

But we appear to be overshadowing that offset. At least from all I can see.

As always, the best and first place to start is conservation and efficiency.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Companies Search For Ways To Mine Uranium Outside Grand Canyon National Park | KRWG

Companies Search For Ways To Mine Uranium Outside Grand Canyon National Park | KRWG:

Uranium and Nuclear power.

So very much cleaner than coal.

But, we have no plan, even to make a plan, to deal with the radioactive waste. Right now it is all being stored on site like the Fukushima reactor in Japan. They had an entire reactor devoted to waste storage.

The best plan that I have ever seen is to take the nuclear waste from traditional plants and feed it into advanced nuclear reactors. That means we gotta build one or more of these things and/or ship it to the plant (in France?).  We are not even able to agree that the stuff can be shipped around the USA (to Yucca Mountain), that alone around the world.

Note the half-life of some of the spent radioactive fuels is loooong. "Certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) in “spent” fuel will remain hazardous to humans and other creatures for hundreds or thousands of years."  (Radioactive waste, 2013, para 1)

Environmentalists are starting to become a lot more happy with Nuclear as we all look at the alternatives.

From my point of view, nuclear is never an option until there is some plan for waste. Even a bad plan (like Yucca Mt) is better than no plan.!:-( 

Radioactive waste. (2013, July 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:32, July 10, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Radioactive_waste&oldid=563340315

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

This Company Just Admitted Its Business Model Is Broken - AMZN, NFLX, P, SIRI - Foolish Blogging Network

This Company Just Admitted Its Business Model Is Broken - AMZN, NFLX, P, SIRI - Foolish Blogging Network:

Broken as designed. It is always fun to see a business model that is broken.

How long before the company run out of cash?

This is reminiscent of the DotCom Bomb where all these Internet companies had no income and no profits. They got lots of funding, though. So this run through of cash was referred to as "burn rate": how many months of cash did the company have before it completely runs out.

Ouch! :-( 

As the bubble burst, all funding for all of the DocCom companies evaporated. Even worse, the margin calls for all of the investors forced investors to sell everything resulting in a reinforcing downward spiral. 

Double Ouch.

One thought, of course is that the increased volume/subscribers will result in the ability to change the paradigm.

 I don't see how you fix Amazon into this mix however. Jeff Bezos makes a killing off of every book sold, even if the author doesn't.

Keywords: Amazon, AMNZ, NetFlix, Pandora, business model, broken model. burn rate

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Monday, April 22, 2013

EarthDay2013: Reflections on Sustainability: Earth Day, April 22, 2013

Reflections on Sustainability: Earth Day, April 22, 2013 (www.EarthDay.org) … (or International Mother Earth Day)

Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change

It’s not so much that people don’t care. . .

Being green, and being sustainable, is something that we all would happily do, if it wasn’t inconvenient to do so. And if it was easy to do. And if we knew the best place to start. And if it wasn’t too complicated to do so, we would all be more sustainable.

That’s a bit of a problem because there is no sense of urgency. There is, however, a sense of urgency about getting the economy going stronger and getting more people back to work. But reducing pollution and improving our water footprint and addressing our carbon footprint, not so much so.

This is something like saving for retirement. There’s no urgency to save for retirement until age 65, but it’s a whole lot easier if you started 35 years earlier. $:-)  We need to get the magic of compounding working for us, not against.

There is no question that we all have to get sustainable, sooner or later.  “Achieving sustainability will enable the Earth to continue supporting human life as we know it” (Sustainability, 2013, Blue Marble caption). That’s the definition of “sustainable”, something that can be done indefinitely and that does not have external costs or place a burden on future generations.

The American Planning Association’s four sustainability objectives are to use planning approaches that:
1. Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels, underground metals, and minerals
2. Reduce dependence upon synthetic chemicals and other unnatural substances
3. Reduce encroachment upon nature
4. Meet human needs fairly & efficiently (James & Lahti, 2003).

We all have to get started. Sustainable starts at home, at church, in business, in government and at school.

We need to take better care of God green earth. Stewardship is a responsibility, not a luxury.

See these topics below:
I. Global Warming/Climate Change
II. What BIG Feet you Have! … The Human Footprint
III.  Sustainable Solutions
IV. Global Acts of Green on Earth Day 2012
V. Become More Informed

Safety & Recycling. Carefully and correctly dispose of stuff like electronics, paints, oil, florescent light bulbs. Visit www.Earth911.com to see how to recycle stuff, and extremely local details of recycling centers. Eventually everything will be recycled; until then, let’s try to work it out together.

This is the 43rd Earth Day event since it started in 1970. And still we have yet to take significant measures to protect the earth we all so clearly need for survival. We all need to become more informed, as a great place to start. See the book outlined below, created from the best information anywhere about sustainability issues, Wikipedia. (Free book, no advertising in it.)

Sustainability is a journey that is started by us today, but continued by future generations.
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." (
Psalm 24:1)

God bless,
Elmer Hall
Strategic Business Planning Company
Planning for Sustainable Success™
954.704.9100    www.SBPlan.com    www.SustainZine.com (blog)
P Before printing this e-mail think if it is necessary.   Think Green!

I.  Global Warming & Climate Change. The statistics for climate change and global warming seem to only be getting worse, with all continents experiencing extreme weather of hot-cold, wet-dry, often in the same year. We have the hottest decade in modern history (based on land, water and air measures). April 2012 was the 5th hottest April on record, April 2010 was the hottest (CO2Now, 2012). Glacial ice is melting, and melting at an accelerating rate. There’s evidence the ice in Antarctica, which should be expanding, is shrinking, and it appears to be melting from the inside out!

What about Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs) that trap sunlight in the atmosphere and cause warming, just like a greenhouse in winter? By burning fossil fuels we are pumping gigatons of GHGs such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2)  and Methane (CH4) into the atmosphere, GHGs above and beyond what the earth systems were used to processing prior to industrialization starting more than a century ago. And carbon dioxide persists in the atmosphere for some 100 years. Many scientist had high hopes of reversing the steady climb of CO2 in the atmosphere and bringing it back down to 350 parts per million (ppm) that we blasted through in 1985. The hope was that the US, slowed by a sluggish economy, combined with a switch to cleaner natural gas would help to lower the CO2 buildup in the atmosphere. Nope. China and India with their coal-power craze, more than wiped out any slowing from the US and Euro-zone. As measured by the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii we just blasted through 397 on our way to 400 ppm. (See CO2Now.org).

This chart, and what it represents, scares the bejeebers out of me!!!!!  I don’t know about you?

In the 1990s, the IPCC came up with many projections from the best case where countries was very proactive and reduced greenhouse gases to the worst case with business as usual (BAU). The estimates then showed an increase in temperatures of 2 to 6 degrees centigrade by the end of the century. Since water expands as it warms in addition to glacial melting, this atmosphere increase would eventually result in about a 3 to 10 foot rise in sea levels. That would be devastating to coastline areas. Maybe half of the Florida Keys would be underwater, for example.  Right now, about half of the greenhouse gasses are produced by China and the USA, with the US pretty much going as BAU and China totally out of control. China now burns half of the world’s coal and adds another new coal power plant each week. In short, the problem is real, it is big, and it is getting worse. Not only that, but it is getting worse at an increasing rate.

With all that gloom and doom, what are sustainable solutions?

II. What BIG Feet You Have! … The Human Footprint
A picture is worth 1,000 words, a video must be worth millions. We humans have been having a gigantic impact on our environment. How big, you might ask? Really BIG.  A couple of the best visual representations of this are the Human Footprint series by National Geographic, which follows two humans from birth to death, as well as, The Story of Stuff and The Story of Bottled Water (Leonard, 2010a, 2010b).  There are a couple things I don’t think to be totally accurate, but you be the judge.
·         The Human Footprint, by National Geographic Special. Several 10 minute episodes. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/videos/human-footprint/ (10 minute segments; 87 minutes total, easy to find on YouTube as well). Note that it is a couple years old. They say 6+B population, but it is now >7B. Watch #1 and #8.
·         The Story of Stuff (www.StoryOfStuff.com, ~18min)
·         The Story of Bottled Water (http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-bottled-water/). 

III.  Sustainable Solutions. We all – everyone, everywhere – have to start being more sustainable. Well, dah! But that is easier said than done. We have our entire life and economy and culture built around non-sustainable practices.

To start, it is relatively easy, and profitable, to cut back on 25%-30% of utilities. Start with an energy audit from your friendly local power company.

Smarter transportation will save huge amounts. Telecommuting saves $30,000 to $50,000 per full-time equivalent employee, with more than $20,000 savings to the employer. Yes, you might want to read that sentence again. The actual savings seem to be, all things considered, are at least 10 times the savings in fuel… That is, $5,000 in fuel saved related to telecommuting really represents $50,000-$60,000 in total savings.

Or we could build more roads, buy more cars, spend more of our lives in gridlock traffic and continue to accelerate our increase in GHG emissions? I vote for taking our foot off of the GHG accelerator, and starting to tap on the brake. Just because we may have another 100 years of fossil fuels left, doesn’t mean that we have to try to burn what’s left over the next century.

IV.  A Billion Acts of Green. Earth Day commitments are entered into the earth day website under the “Billion Acts of Green” campaign. The campaign in 2012 world-wide brought in 1,021,021,112 pledges.
See http://www.earthday.org/take-action. These were the commitments last year at the university!:-)

Re-cycle- 9 people
Eat Local Food- 2
Wash clothes in cold water- 3
Use re-useable shopping bags- 3
Pick up litter- 6
Turn off the water tap when brushing teeth- 4
Turn off the computer and the x-box when not in use- 5
Turn off the lights when not in use- 10
Eat all the food on my plate – 3
Re-cycle water bottles- 3
Don’t buy anything new for a month- 3
Share rides- 4
Encourage others to pledge an act of green- 3
Plan a green event- 2
Print on both sides- 2
Use cloth napkins- 2
Write your legislature- 2
Use energy-efficient light bulbs- 1
Eat vegetarian; Plant a tree; Plant a garden; Collect plastic from the neighbors for 2 weeks;
Reduce beef consumption; Repurpose; Conserve fuel; Plant a tree; Walk or bike instead of driving; 

V. Become More Informed
It is critical to become more informed. Companies and governments have millions – trillions, really – worth of revenues to lose. Think about who wins, when you spend $.005 per gallon for water from the tap. You win. The environment wins. Coke and Pepsi (the largest producers of bottled water) lose. 

Companies can make healthy products that are sustainable, and they will. Eventually. We could try to get the government more involved; but I generally don’t like that. We all need to become informed and let our money do the voting for us.

The trick is to only accept accurate facts. The first question of the Four-Way Test from Rotary International (www.Rotary.org) is critical: 1) Is it the truth?

Of course the rest of the Four-Way test is pretty important too – it is kind of the definition of sustainability when you think about it. Of the things we think, say or do
1.      Is it the TRUTH?
2.      Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.      Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4.      Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Contact: Elmer Hall. I do consulting and coaching on Sustainability and sustainable innovation. Please feel free to contact me for help, advice, or just moral support on your sustainability issues.

References & Links

Climate Changes and Sustainability. (2013, April 22). A WikiBook created in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org and downloadable from: http://tinyurl.com/SharedStuffZ

James, S. & Lahti, T. (2003). Eco-municipalities: Sweden and the United States: A Systems approach to creating communities. Retrieved April 22, 2013 from: http://www.knowledgetemplates.com/sja/ecomunic.htm

Leonard, A. (2010, March 22). The story of bottled water: How “manufactured demand” pushes what we don’t need and destroys what we need most. Story of Stuff. Retrieved from: http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-bottled-water/

Leonard, A. (2010b). The story of stuff: How our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health – and a vision for change. New York, NY: Free Press. 

www.Earth911.com (Info about recycling, including local drop-off.)
http://www.un.org/en/events/motherearthday/   (International Mother Earth Day)
http://www.earthday.org/take-action (Actions you can take to make a difference.)
http://tinyurl.com/SharedStuffZ  (WikiBook: Climate Changes and Sustainability)
www.CO2Now.org (Monitors GHG emissions.)
www.WaterFootPrint.org (Calculate how much water you use.)
www.CarbonFootPrint.com (Calculate how much CO2 you use.)
www.WaterMatters.org  (Great, including Florida specific info.)
www.UNWater.org (All about water and economic development.)
www.savewaterfl.com  (For details & water-saving tips.)

WikiBook: Climate Changes and Sustainability. Following is the outline of a WikiBook created from 38 Wikipedia articles on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.  Because of all the graphics, the book is 60MB as PDF (or 8MB as ePUB). Note that the ePub has Earth Day and World Water Day included. Please downloading it, but you can get the most recent version of each article by going to www.Wikipedia.com and enter the article title in blue below.

Each article has high ratings for accuracy and reliability. The entire WikiBook is downloadable from: http://tinyurl.com/SustBook (63MB).

Climate Changes and Sustainability
Table of Contents
Introduction to Sustainability Issues 1
Sustainability 1
Population density 22
Ecological footprint 24
Earth Systems and Climate Change 31
History of climate change science 31
Atmosphere of Earth 36
Global warming 45
Climate change 64
Scientific opinion on climate change 75
The Carbon Cycle 101
Organic compound 101
Carbon 104
Carbon dioxide 120
Carbon cycle 134
Greenhouse gas 139
Photosynthesis 156
Hydrocarbon/Fossil Fuels 169
Fossil fuel 169
Redox 174
Coal 181
Petroleum 197
Gasoline 218
Natural gas 230
Power and the Nexus of Energy, Water, Paper, Plastic, etc. 241
Electricity generation 241
Water 248
Water-energy nexus 266
Plastic 267
Carbon Emissions and Sinks 280
Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere 280
List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions 286
Carbon sink 293
Sustainable Solutions 304
Education for Sustainable Development 304
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy 308
Recycling 313
Recycling by product 325
Paper recycling 330
Plastic recycling 334
Sustainable development 340
Glossary of climate change 350
Index of climate change articles 356
Article Sources and Contributors 360
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 375
Article Licenses
License 385

This entire WikiBook is retrievable from: http://tinyurl.com/SharedStuffZ (~60MB PDF or ~8MB ePUB)