Climate change increases drought and conflict in Syria

The military has been warning that climate change would be increase conflict around the world.

Syria appears to be a case in point. A prolonged drought has reduced rainfall over the past five years and caused massive crop failures. As farmers and herders have become unable to feed their families, millions have moved into urban areas.  Joining refugees from Palestine and Iraq, the displaced rural dwellers have created a situation that has not been reported until recently because the Assad regime kept journalists away.


Living building home

Check out this gorgeous Oregon ‘living building’ home. Huge windows look out on green meadows and forests, but its 3500 square feet of indoor space is expected to use only $50 a year in energy bills.  It uses solar panels, of course, but also has super insulation, heat-recovery ventilation, a roof overhang and window shades to control heating and cooling.  Eric Lemelson consulted with Green Hammer and worked with construction company, Hammer and Hand to create his home.


Cars that burn up the roads

Two articles appeared next to each other on the front page of the WSJ on August 18: ‘US Car Plants Shift to Top Gear,’ and ‘Decade of Drought Threatens West.’

We need to connect the dots.

The manufacture of 60 million new passenger vehicles in 2012 worldwide, 99% of them burning gasoline or diesel, guarantees us more extreme weather disasters.

With rising carbon emissions making the atmosphere warmer, increasing storm surges, floods, droughts and wildfires will destroy infrastructure, water resources, homes, and jobs.

The federal government gives tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and installation of solar panels that can be used to charge them, and also requires automakers to increase energy efficiency.  This is great, but we should do more.  A carbon fee should be imposed to make purchasers of fossil fuels to pay more of the actual costs of using those products.  Taxpayers now pick up the tab for spill clean-up, disaster aid, flood insurance, crop insurance and military protection of oil shipments.

A tax on oil, coal and natural gas at the wellhead, mine or point of entry, increasing each year, up to $100 per ton, with revenue returned to households would help level the playing field and allow more profitable production of clean energy alternatives.   With a tariff on goods from other countries not imposing a carbon fee, we could also encourage worldwide adoption of clean energy.

Streamline permits for solar

Citizens can promote sustainability by making sure that communities and states have updated their codes and standards for installation of solar panels. States, cities and even planning commissions can choose to encourage or to block homeowners and businesses from adopting cost saving solar power. There are wide differences in waiting time and cost for permits to install photovoltaics. As the cost of solar panels drops, old and costly permitting requirements can double to price of solar installation.The US Department of Energy studied and reported on major gaps in 2010 and helped fund the Solar ABCs, recommending standards and codes for installation. In half a dozen states, solar panels provide cheaper electricity even without subsidies. With current federal tax credits, solar rooftop electricity is competitive with local electric costs in all but a few states.

Global Warming and Cancer

Among the many harmful impacts of climate change on human health is an increased risk of cancer. Hotter temperatures make toxic chemicals more toxic.  Warmer temperatures cause chemicals to vaporize into the air, increasing pollution. Heavier rains increase leakage from storage facilities and runoff of toxic pollutants into waterways. 

Greenhouse gases that cause global warming slow the speed at which ozone holes can close, let in more UV radiation and thereby contribute to skin cancer.

Steps to reduce warming gases by using less fossil fuels, oil, coal and natural gas, also helps to decrease air and water pollution.

We should ask Congress to pass a carbon fee and dividend law to help us stay healthy.

Rigging the outcome, not

A comment on Huff Post: “Climate modelling [sic] is better than a roulette wheel because you can rig the outcome.”


   Of course climate scientists rig the facts, how else would they pay for their lab coats and tweed jackets on $100 thousand  salaries? They must be getting money under the lab table from the solar and wind industries or the pollution clean-up companies.

Someone should tell the oil, coal and natural gas industries that this is happening; surely they could offer bigger bribes.  They  spent $674 billion looking for new sources of fuel last year and pay their CEOs $20 million a year. They ought to be able to get the scientists to toe the line and stop them from badmouthing fossil fuels.

We need to stop the scientists from measuring everything, and from using computers, and certainly from using the internet to spread their doom and gloom.  It would be such a drag to have to convert the yacht to electric, the mountain house to solar and ground the private jet.

So, all those reports listing trillions of measurements of temperature,  water, ice & air chemistry, insect hatching, plant blooming, wind patterns,  and melting ice   the reports that hundreds of thousands of people died last year from injuries or lack of food and water related to extreme weather, the reports that  the US suffered $120 billion in climate related losses last year, tear up those reports. Fire the scientists at NASA, NOAA, American Meteorological Society, and the analysts at the World Bank.

Less ‘modelling’ [sic] and more yodeling!

Tea Party support for clean energy

Tea Party supporters in Georgia are calling for more consumer choice in energy. Debbie Dooley, a national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots argued for a vote by the Public Service Commission of Georgia to require Georgia Power to add solar generation to its portfolio. In an interview with Chris Hayes in ‘All In’ she said, “We care about our environment.  We believe things should be done in a conservative way. ..This solar plan will not have to be subsidized.  We believe this giant utility monopoly deserves some competition and that consumers deserve a choice. …Show us in constitution where a government can pick winners & losers and set up a monopoly and be an impediment to the free market. We believe it is wrong.  In the next legislative session we will be asking the legislators to overturn the Territorial Right Act of 1973 that actually allowed these monopolies to take place.”

Byron Dorgon, a former Senator from North Dakota agreed and went further. “If we want more clean and renewable energy in this country, we have to do something about it. Thirty states have renewable energy standards, good for them, they are the heros. States need to make choices about what kind of future they want.  …. There should be renewable standards in every state should have them. We ought to have a national energy standard.”

Encouraged by public support by both the Atlanta Tea Party and the Georgia Sierra Club, members of the Public Service Commission voted on July 11, 2013 to require Georgia Power to generate more power from solar, adding 525 megawatts by  2016.  Although the power company had argued for months that such a move would raise rates, after the vote, the company’s attorney said that the addition of more solar probably would not affect power bills. – cmComments