Kim Stanley Robinson & Michael Mann on doom; 33 green transition myths zapped

When Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss introduced the word “disinformation” to readers of their 1980 roman à clef spy novel “The Spike”—deriving the term from the Russian dezinformatsiya, the title of a KGB black propaganda department—it didn’t make a big splash in people’s personal lexicons, though It did make it into dictionaries starting in 1985. Disinformation, of course, has existed for millennia. Deception via disinformation has been the province of military leaders since there have been military leaders. Spies and double-agents, kings and corporations, scammers and other seducers disinformed not for casual amusement but to mislead and to militarily, economically, or politically cripple their target, be that an individual or a society of millions.

These days we’re practically marinated in disinformation, a daily deluge of fabrications and concoctions, delivered crudely or with nuanced sophistication, but lies either way. I can hear the chorus, “Meteor, are you talking about advertising?” No. Much of it certainly qualifies as disinformation, but it’s political not economic manipulation I’m talking about, though they are both accomplished from perches of marketing power. You can read hundreds of scientific papers exploring modern political disinformation from scores of angles. Here’s one. 

Over the past four decades, in an example with seriously malign consequences, some rich and powerful agents of disinformation have brought us to the precipice on climate with ominous potential for our species and millions of others, all for profit. And now that the cruder denial elements of that scheme have collided with climate reality on the ground, there’s been a shift from outright denial to an aggressive fight against the transition to a greener, decarbonized future.  Disinformation now rife will soon be made worse by robot propagandists, one of AI’s inconveniences. 

Some of the lies are old, some new, but all are designed to delay the day when fossil fuels are actually left in the ground where scientists say they must remain if we’re to have any chance of keeping at least parts of the planet humanly habitable. 

To help combat anti-green disinformation, Jacob Elkin, Matthew Eisenson and other researchers at the Climate Law blog of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center have put together a helpful aid for when you’re arguing with somebody who’s been stuffed with what President Joe Biden might charitably call “malarkey.” It’s a data-rich report Rebutting 33 False Claims About Solar, Wind, and Electric Vehicles.

In a prefatory note the authors write:

Many of these false claims center on three categories of impacts commonly attributed to renewable energy development: impacts to the environment, impacts to human health, and impacts to the economy. For example, our report examines the common misconceptions that electric vehicles have a net harmful effect on climate change (they do not); that electromagnetic radiation from wind turbines poses a threat to human health (it does not); and that solar energy development negatively impacts U.S. jobs (it does not). Some of the misconceptions examined in the report, such as the notion that whale deaths stem from noise related to wind farm surveys, are entirely unsubstantiated. Others have some factual basis but are commonly repeated without necessary context: for instance, the notion that solar panels produce significant waste, without the context that fossil fuel energy generates far more.

To identify the most common false claims regarding wind, solar, and electric vehicles, the authors of the Sabin Center’s new report first reviewed social-media groups and websites created to oppose renewable energy projects or policies, as well as existing coverage about misinformation. The authors then developed transparent, fact-based responses to these false claims, relying to the greatest extent possible on peer reviewed academic literature and government publications. The authors designed the report so that members of the public can cultivate balanced and informed opinions on frequently-contested topics related to renewable energy and electric vehicle deployment.

Facts. Not falsehoods. Now it’s no doubt true that many people cannot be persuaded by facts, whatever the subject. Anyone who believes vaccines, much less decarbonization, are tools of Lucifer will be hard cases. For them, it’s all about ideology and emotion. 

But open-minded people have been swamped with the same disinformation as the rest of the country. And it takes its toll. The purpose, as we know, is to create FUD, fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Thus do even people who count themselves very much in favor of the green transition wind up wondering if maybe some items in the flood of disinformation has it right. Since the transition is having and will continue to have burps, hiccups, and farts as it unfolds, giving aid, comfort, and fodder to the disinformer brigade, the potential for buying into the lies will also continue. So then must updating reports like the Sabin Center’s. Here’s just one example from it:

False Claim #3: Solar panels generate too much waste and will overwhelm our landfills. “Solar panels pose a huge risk for overfilling the landfills.” The amount of waste that solar panels are expected to generate over the next few decades is trivial compared to theamount of waste that will be generated by fossil fuels. A study published in Nature Physics in October 2023 found that “35 years of cumulative PV module waste (2016-2050) is dwarfed by the waste generated by fossil fuel energy and othercommon waste streams.” Specifically, the study found that “if we do not decarbonize and transition to renewable energy sources, coal ash and oily sludge waste generated by fossil fuel energy would be 300-800 times and 2-5 times larger [in mass], respectively, than PV module waste.” 

In addition, although only about 10% to 15% of solar panels are recycled in the United States, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded funding under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for additional research and development for solar technology recycling. A 2024 study on solar PV recycling concluded that “PV recycling will reduce waste, and CO2 emissions, while contributing to a sustainable environment,” and that “[i]t is expected that the research for efficient PV recycling strategies will accelerate as the PV industry grows and as many more organizations and government work towards a sustainable future.”

Already, some companies have been able to recover 90% of solar panels’ mass in their recycling processes. 

Missing from this well-researched and helpful report are the bumpersticker versions of its fact-checks. And the Tik-Tok and Facebook versions. Succinct stuff with emotion as well as facts. We desperately need people tasked with that.  






Renowned Sci-Fi author Kim Stanley Robinson discusses urgency of climate crisis

Kim Stanley Robinson is a national treasure. He’s written more than 20 books, many of which focus on environmental themes. For these he has received several of the top science fiction awards, including the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Heinlein Award for lifetime achievement in the field. His much-praised 2020 book, “The Ministry for the Future,” was selected as one of Barack Obama’s favorites that year. It’s considered “hard” science fiction for paying attention to scientific accuracy. In 2008, Time magazine named Robinson a “hero of the environment.” His most recent work is the non-fiction “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” which explores his years spent hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains. His book “2312” was nominated for all seven of the major science fiction awards—a first for any book.

Kim Stanley Robinson
Kim Stanley Robinson

At New York’s Stony Brook University April 1, Robinson gave the year’s second presidential lecture, “Answering the Call: A Special Series on Climate Change,” which was delivered virtually.

He said, “We have made much more rapid the natural processes of geology, the human release of CO2 in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, much of it in the last 30 years as part of the great acceleration, and this is really new in geological history. This has never happened before. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We do know that it’s dangerous and unstable.”

“The Ministry of the Future” starts out with a wet-bulb heat wave, that combination of humidity and heat that can threaten lives because it makes it hard for to shed heat through perspiration. Such events are not the author’s fantasy speculation of some far-off occurrence. There have been at least a dozen of these wet-bulb events in the past four decades in the Persian Gulf, India, Pakistan, Australia, and Mexico, with somewhat lower temperature instances in South Asia and the U.S. Gulf Coast. So while the book is fiction, the impacts it describes as it follows its characters are definitely not.

As reported by Beth Squire, Robinson said that coming to grips with this and other climate change impacts will require huge investments and a coordinated global approach.

“If we could have gotten a 9% rate of return for destroying the world and 6% for saving the world, we’re going to go for the 9% because we don’t care about the world. We like capital, so we go to the highest rate of return. And so do governments. If you want us to invest in good things like saving the Earth, you need to indemnify us, we need to be insured by the government.”


“The pandemic slapped us in the face with the realization that the biosphere could kill us and change your life drastically on a turning of a dime. I think that gaveThe Ministry for the Future” more force in people’s minds when they read it. It comes down to this: we really are paying attention and trying to do things and I’ve seen huge commitments by people all across the board, governments, diplomats, business people, academics, all of them focused on can we deal with this problem, and that is a powerful combination of social forces. I didn’t think that was true when I wrote the book, but now I think it is true.”

Robinson counseled students in his audience to put a focus on climate in whatever field they choose to work. “Well, now we have climate despair. This is a shift in the structure of feeling, but the notion that life is meaningless can quickly be changed with meaningful work to get into a balance with the biosphere. Whatever you are interested in, you can find the green angle in it.”

Robinson isn’t a pessimist, “I want you to think of your Governors Island Project as being an exercise in utopian science fiction. You’re going to be looking out 50 years and saying, ‘it could be like this.’ The dystopias are too obvious and they’re painfully boring and repetitive. Instead, look to what could be if we work together to mitigate the climate crisis.”


RELATED STORY: The Weird, Wonderful World of Kim Stanley Robinson

Forget ‘doomers.’ Warming can be stopped, says climatologist Michael Mann

Climatologist Michael Mann recently won a million-dollar defamation case against a pair of professional climate science deniers. Mann is famous—infamous in some quarters—for the 1999 “hockey stick” graph that shows CO2 accumulation soaring from human-caused climate change. On Thursday, he spoke at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, as reported by the Alvin Powell at the Harvard Gazette. There he took on “doomism,” a subject he has raised the alarm about in earnest since publication of his 2022 book The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet.

Climatologist Michael Mann
Michael Mann

In his speech titled “Can Lessons from Earth’s Past Help Us Survive Our Current Climate Crisis?,” Mann told the audience, “I push back on doomism because I don’t think it’s justified by the science, and I think it potentially leads us down a path of inaction. And there are bad actors today who are fanning the flames of climate doomism because they understand that it takes those who are most likely to be on the front lines, advocating for change, and pushes them to the sidelines, which is where polluters and petrostates want them.”

Mann, whose latest book, “Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis,” was published in September, said one of those lessons comes from the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Their demise, he said, may not have been the strike of the Chicxulub comet or asteroid itself but rather the fall in temperature because of dust from the impact, which blotted out the sun for a period. In other words, it was a time of global cooling not unlike the “nuclear winter” posited in 1983 by Richard Turco regarding a U.S.S.R.-U.S. exchange of thermonuclear weapons. How long this ancient cooling lasted is subject to dispute. What’s not is that 75% of all plant and animal species on Earth went missing as a result. 

Mann also referenced the “Great Dying” of the Permian-Triassic extinction, which killed 90% of species 251 million years ago. This happened during a temperature rise that he said probably resulted from massive amount of CO2 being released by intense, widespread volcanism that lasted thousands of years. Said Mann, “Warming today is hundreds of times faster than any warming in geological history,” and it doesn’t matter whether the change is warmer or cooler. “Anything that takes you from the climate you’re adapted to is a threat.” 

Powell writes:

[…] Mann said the “Great Dying” era offers other lessons because it has been theorized that the warming was due to a major release of methane from the ocean, and some climate pessimists, whom he called “doomers,” believe a similar dynamic is already at work today, at least partly due to thawing of the arctic permafrost. In fact, he said they believe that enough methane has been released that it is already too late to avoid extinction-level warming.

Mann rebuts this view, noting it is inconsistent with the latest scientific understanding of the ancient event as well as evidence about today’s situation. And it serves as a distraction at a time when urgent action is needed.

Mann has never suggested there isn’t a steep road ahead to keep the global average temperature from exceeding a rise above the preindustrial era of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) that scientists think would prevent or mitigate at least some of the worst impacts of the changing climate. However, a growing number of scientists think that 1.5 degrees is already a lost cause. Mann said, however,  “It’s not too late for us to take the actions to keep warming below 1.5 Celsius. The obstacles at this point aren’t physical, they are not technological, they are entirely political. And political obstacles can be overcome.”


GAO warns that climate change presents risk to nuclear reactors 


A new report from the Government Accountability Office on the resilience of nuclear power plants says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs to consider climate risks as part of its safety appraisals going forward, not just for the 94 existing reactors in the United States, but also for any new ones being proposed. The report was requested by two retiring Democratic senators—Tom Carper of Delaware and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, both of whom are vigorous proponents of nuclear power expansion. 

The researchers found that heat, drought, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, and sea-level rise all can mean hazards to safe nuclear power operation, including loss of offsite power that could reduce cooling capacity, meaning potential shutdowns, or worse.

The report states:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) addresses risks to the safety of nuclear power plants, including risks from natural hazards, in its licensing and oversight processes. Following the tsunami that led to the 2011 accident atJapan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, NRC took additional actions to address risks from natural hazards. These include requiring safety margins in reactor designs, measures to prevent radioactive releases should a natural hazard event exceed what a plant was designed to withstand, and maintenance of backup equipment related to safety functions.

However, NRC’s actions to address risks from natural hazards do not fully consider potential climate change effects. For example, NRC primarily uses historical data in its licensing and oversight processes rather than climate projections data. NRC officials GAO interviewed said they believe their current processes provide an adequate margin of safety to address climate risks. However, NRC has not conducted an assessment to demonstrate that this is the case. Assessing its processes to determine whether they adequately address the potential for increased risks from climate change would help ensure NRC fully considers risks to existing and proposed plants. Specifically, identifying any gaps in its processes and developing a plan to address them, including by using climate projections data, would help ensure that NRC adopts a more comprehensive approach for assessing risks and is better able to fulfill its mission to protect public health and safety.

In a statement, Beyond Nuclear—which advocates against both nuclear power and weapons—said the GAO’s thorough examination and recommendations bolster ongoing litigation against the NRC by the group and the Sierra Club. It noted that “the agency cannot continue to ignore the safety impacts on nuclear power plants from the worsening climate crisis. […] These risks could seriously jeopardize the safe operation of the nation’s current fleet that is going through extreme license renewals—and any future new nuclear reactors if not properly safeguarded,” the group said.






US Shale Drillers Seek to Power Oil Patch With Small Nuclear Reactors by Will Wade and Mitchell Ferman at Bloomberg Green. Nuclear power has been getting a thumbs-up in some quarters, including some climate hawks, a few billionaires like Bill Gates, and the Biden administration, which has allocated $6 billion to the Civil Nuclear Credit Program that aims to keep the 93 U.S. reactors in 28 states going. Those reactors now generate 52% of the nation’s clean electricity and 20% of its total generation. Critics point to the years-long delay and massive cost overruns that attended the most recent new U.S. reactors to come on line in Georgia. And plans for America’s first small modular reactor slated for switching on in 2029 were canned earlier this year when the original cost estimates tripled and developer NuScale couldn’t find any customers willing to sign a contract for the electricity. Now some oil companies are thinking that evern small modular reactors—15 megawatts of power capacity vs. the 1,000+ MW of most U.S. nuclear power plants and the 300 MW of proposed SMRs. Diamondback, an independent oil producer, has signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Oklo Inc. to deploy small reactors for some of its future power needs. Oklo CEO Jacob DeWitte said it’s going to take a long time to curb the demand for oil. “These fossil fuels are going to be produced. Do we want to burn carbon to produce them, or do we want to not burn carbon to produce them?” DeWitte said. “There’s a pretty obvious answer.” 

Survey finds 30% of Americans say they’ll never buy an EV from the Boston Consulting Group. A narrative has emerged lately that U.S. demand for electric vehicles has hit a wall. But EV sales grew 50% in 2023; the problem was that the industry had forecast 70% growth. Legacy automakers have since slashed production targets and delayed product launches. BCG surveyed 3,000 consumers to understand the demographic profiles, attitudes, and barriers to EV adoption of those looking to purchase a new vehicle. BCG also estimated the potential scale of demand if OEMs and other stakeholders meet their expectations. They found that 6% already own an EV, 38% said they intend to buy an EV as their next vehicle, another 27% are considering buying one in the future, and 30% say they’ll never buy an EV. (Rounding means values do not total 100%.) What those surveyed said they wanted from an EV: a 20-minute charging time, a 350-mile driving range, and a price of $50,000 or less. Based on the survey, BCG estimated that EV sales could reach 30% of new U.S. car sales within “the next few years” but more likely 20%, with another 15% to 20% for hybrid electrics. The Biden administration has a goal of 50% of new car sales being electric by 2030. 

The Black Mambas are an all female anti-poaching unit in South Africa.
The Black Mambas are an all female anti-poaching unit in South Africa.

All-women anti-poaching team in Zambia defies gender imbalance in wildlife conservation: ‘Now I’m not afraid of anything’ by Erin Feiger at The Cooldown. A group in Zambia is sending women to do what has typically been a man’s job—and the women and the wildlife in the area are benefiting from it. As detailed by the Guardian, propelled by the drastic gender imbalance in wildlife conservation in the country, Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) formed Kufadza in 2021. Kufadza means “inspire,” and it is the country’s first all-female conservation team. “We saw that law enforcement in conservation was dominated by men. There were very few women, even though women are interacting [more] with wildlife every day just getting water from the river,” Peter Longwe, a monitoring and evaluation officer for CLZ, told the outlet. In addition to fighting poaching, the NGO  also works with communities to manage human-wildlife conflict. The Zambians aren’t the only anti-poaching women in Africa. The Black Mambas operate in South Africa. A striking example of gender-skewness in fighting illicit wildlife trafficking is the observation that women represent only an estimated 3-11% of the global ranger workforce despite evidence strongly suggesting that greater gender equality would bring improved relationships with communities, de-escalate violence, reduce the risks of gender-based violence, and result in better community engagement and nature conservation all round. When Kufadza was founded, 500 women applied, excited by the opportunity to help and eventually join the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, where they would have the security of a government salary and pension. 

Most of Colorado River’s Annual Flow Is Being Used for Agriculture, Study Finds by Cristen Hemingway Jaynes at Ecowatch. New research at Nature Communication Earth & Environment has found that more than half of the mighty river’s total annual water flow is being used to irrigate crops. “Persistent overuse of water supplies from the Colorado River during recent decades has substantially depleted large storage reservoirs and triggered mandatory cutbacks in water use,” the study said. Despite the river’s importance to more than 40 million people and more than two million hectares (>5 million acres) of cropland… a full sectoral and crop-specific accounting of where all that water goes en route to its delta has never been attempted, until now.” From the study abstract: Overall water consumption includes both direct human uses in the municipal, commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors, as well as indirect water losses to reservoir evaporation and water consumed through riparian/wetland evapotranspiration. Irrigated agriculture is responsible for 74% of direct human uses and 52% of overall water consumption. Water consumed for agriculture amounts to three times all other direct uses combined. Cattle feed crops including alfalfa and other grass hays account for 46% of all direct water consumption.

Related Story: Cattle are drinking the Colorado River dry

File - A person stands outside of a damaged home after a tornado hit May 13, 2023, in the unincorporated community of Laguna Heights, Texas near South Padre Island. A series of severe thunderstorms in the U.S. resulted in $34 billion in insured losses during the first half of the year, the highest amount ever for insured losses in the period, according to Swiss Re Group. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
A person stands outside of a damaged home after a tornado hit May 13, 2023, in the unincorporated community of Laguna Heights, Texas, near South Padre Island.

Property insurers see escalating losses from climate disasters by Avery Ellfeldt at ClimateWire. Natural disasters cost property insurers $65 billion in 2023, according to new estimates that shed light on how extreme weather threatens U.S. insurance markets. “Insured losses from weather-related events continue to take a toll on [property and casualty] insurers and to trend above the long-term averages, as the frequency and intensity levels of storms worsen,” AM Best analysts wrote. “What has been particularly troublesome for insurers in the past three years is the degree to which losses from so-called secondary perils are growing.”The U.S. experienced more billion-dollar natural disasters — also known as secondary perils — in 2023 than any other year on record. Among them: the deadly wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii; drought in the South and Midwest; heavy flooding in northern California; and a winter freeze in the Northeast. As a consequence, insurance rates are soaring. An average 6% spike in insurance rates is expected this year, with the most disaster-prone states poised for double-digit increases. Analysts with Insurify, an insurance cost comparison website, projected that annual costs could rise to $2,522 on average in 2024, up from $1,984 in 2021. Six of the 10 most expensive cities for buying insurance are in South Florida, where the average annual rate is nearly $11,000, according to Insurify, which also scrutinized where rates could increase the most this year. In Louisiana, where rates are almost three times the national average already, the price of insurance was forecast to see the largest jump—up 23%, or $7,809 on average. Maine, Michigan, Utah, and Montana could also see large increases of between 12% and 19%. 

Eden Green Technology vertical greenhouse in Dallas.
Eden Green Technology greenhouse in Dallas.

Indoor farms are remaking the produce market — at a cost to the planet by Anna Phillips at The Washington Post. As the effects of climate change intensify, bringing more severe droughts, flooding and pest infestations, some growers are wresting control of their crops away from nature. Huge high-tech greenhouses and smaller vertical farms — windowless warehouses that typically grow plants stacked in trays — hold the promise of letting farmers grow almost anywhere. But all that control comes with an environmental cost. Inside these facilities, farmers are creating the perfect growing conditions with power generated mostly by burning fossil fuels, and lots of it. “It’s a lot of the same technologies you’d see in a building for human comfort, but being put to use for plants,” said Jennifer Amann, senior fellow in the buildings program at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit focused on reducing energy waste. “There’s extraordinary water efficiency in these facilities, but energy is really the Achilles’ heel.” In colder climes, indoor farm operators heat their greenhouses with natural gas or propane, since these fossil fuels are often the cheapest option. Vertical farms are a smaller slice of the market, but they typically consume much more electricity than greenhouses to replace natural sunlight and to power cooling and dehumidifier systems.


“Even in the pages of the New York Times and The New Yorker, it seems the epithet ‘virtuous,’ when applied to an act of personal environmental responsibility, may be used only ironically. Tell me: How did it come to pass that virtue – a quality that for most of history has generally been deemed, well, a virtue—become a mark of liberal softheadedness? How peculiar, that doing the right thing by the environment—buying the hybrid, eating like a locavore—should now set you up for the Ed Begley Jr. treatment.”Michael Pollan


A Detroit Electric charging at home in 1919. Anderson Electric Car Company built 13,000 electric cars from 1907 to 1939.
A Detroit Electric charging at home in 1919. The car and 13,000 like it were built by the Anderson Electric Car Company between 1907 and 1939. 

A guide to electric car misinformation (part 2) The truth is, when it comes to the environment, there really is no such thing as a “good” car. By Emily Atkins at Heated. Last week, we talked about the recent uptick in politically-motivated electric vehicle misinformation, and went through some of the most prevalent myths and misleading claims about EV policy. This week, we’ll be going through some of the most prevalent myths and misleading claims that power-seekers and profit-seekers are spreading about EVs in general. Financially-motivated EV misinformation comes from both sides of the aisle (the lane?). Industries that see EVs as a threat exaggerate their harms in a bid to get you to hate EVs. And industries that profit from EVs greenwash their benefits in a bid to get you to love EVs. Most often, you can recognize EV misinformation by its attempts to promote black and white thinking. It’ll either be “Electric cars are bad and gas cars are good” or “Electric cars are good and gas cars are bad.”But the truth is, when it comes to the environment, there really is no such thing as a “good” car. The real question is: how bad are these cars in relation to one another? This is where most EV misinformation lies.

Carbon Capture Could Be a New Way to Greenwash Fossil Fuels in Louisiana by Ned Randolph at Common Dreams. Billions of federal tax dollars will soon be pouring into Louisiana to fight climate change, yet the projects they’re supporting may actually boost fossil fuels—the very products warming the planet. At issue are plans to build dozens of federally subsidized projects to capture and bury carbon dioxide from industries. On the surface, these projects seem beneficial. Keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere prevents the greenhouse gas from fueling climate change. In practice, however, this may lead to a net increase in fossil fuel production and more emissions. Carbon capture has similarly turned the oil and gas industry into a critical component of mitigating climate change while the industry continues producing products that are heating the planet. That’s because many of these carbon capture projects will be handling emissions from facilities that rely on oil and natural gas—in fact, many of the projects are tied to major oil and gas companies through subsidiaries. Under new federal rules, the projects can receive generous tax subsidies. The more carbon dioxide the factories produce and capture, the more federal money the projects can receive.

Big Auto is begging governments to let them go bankrupt as Chinese EVs loom by Jameson Dow at Electrek. Automakers are fiercely lobbying governments to water down already-compromised emissions rules, but doing so will only lead to their doom as market entrants that are serious about EVs will continue ramping them anyway. The auto industry is electrifying, and all new cars will be electric in the relatively near future. This is not in dispute by any serious person – and any alternative scenario, where humans continue to pollute as much as we do today, will result in worse and worse results for humanity the longer we pollute as climate change becomes progressively worse. It is necessary that we stop burning fossil fuels, and fast. This is not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of physics, and physics does not care about your arguments to the contrary. And yet, the auto industry – which is responsible for more pollution than any other sector, at least in rich countries – still lobbies to worsen emissions reduction targets, even when those targets were already pushed back to begin with.

hydrogen economy in China

Don’t give up on green hydrogen by Clay Norris at Utility Dive. The reality is that we will never achieve a carbon-free economy without green hydrogen and green hydrogen carriers like ammonia, ethanol and formic acid. It is true that the transition to green hydrogen faces significant challenges, including one that the author did not directly cite — government regulations and purity tests that other electricity-consuming industries don’t face. However, we shouldn’t let the fact that it will be hard to make the transition dissuade us from moving as rapidly as possible in that direction. Production costs for green hydrogen are indeed a big challenge and the Inflation Reduction Act provided incentives to assist with the cost differential between grey and green hydrogen. Even so, in most cases it is true that if there is no cost to emit carbon, fossil fuels will be a cheaper way to produce hydrogen. It is also true that sourcing renewable energy at all hours will be difficult, if not impossible, in the near future.

Octopuses Are Highly Intelligent. Should They Be Farmed for Food? by at Yale e360. In a farm planned for construction off Spain’s Gran Canaria island, octopuses would be kept in small, narrow cages stacked atop each other in a multistory industrial building. To kill them, they would be placed in ice water at minus 3 degrees Celsius (27 degrees F). The farm was designed to produce 3,000 metric tons of protein-rich meat from 1 million animals per year. […] For centuries, humans have eaten octopods. But apart from their food value, the animals were considered so alien that they received only scant attention, even from science. In Europe, they were mainly regarded as monsters, rumored to sink ships. In the 19th century, Victor Hugo wrote, “If there are no limits to the imagination when it comes to creating something hideous, the octopus can be considered a masterpiece.” But the more people observed and learned about these creatures in aquariums, the more their disgust turned to sympathy, even affection. […] Recent research has revealed that octopods can plan ahead, identify and remember humans individually, and solve complex tasks. Last year, scientists from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology showed that, just like humans, octopods have two very different sleep phases, one deep and one with increased bodily activity. Researchers even posit that they can dream. All of that is quite remarkable for a creature that lacks a spine and is more closely related to ants, slugs, and worms than to vertebrates.

Inky the octopus before he escaped the National Aquarium in New Zealand.
In 2016, Inky the octopus climbed out of his tank one night at New Zealand’s National Aquarium, moved several meters across the floor, and vanished into the sea through a long and thin pipe. He didn’t leave a note.

 Environmentalism could stop the clean-energy transition from the editorial board of The Washington Post. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, have joined a roughly six-year effort to stop transmission lines that would bring hydropower from Quebec to New England. They have opposed the development of solar energy facilities in the Mojave Desert. Opposition to offshore wind power facilities off the Northeast coast involves a peculiar assortment of bedfellows, including local environmental groups, fisheries and seafood producers, a hotel association and former president Donald Trump. Opposition is largely local, usually not from large nonprofits such as the Natural Resources Defense Council or the Environmental Defense Fund, which focus on climate change mitigation, but from groups vested in preserving local ecosystems. Others, motivated by less high-minded causes, exploit the environmental review process to preserve views, prevent bothersome construction or stop the character of their areas from changing. Their main tool is NEPA, which not only requires environmental impact studies but also allows pretty much anybody to challenge in court a federal agency’s decision to greenlight projects on a virtually limitless set of environmental grounds.


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