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California goes carbon negative

California goes carbon negative

Last week Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to cut California’s electricity sector emissions , which account for about 16% of the state’s total emissions, to zero by 2045. But an Executive Order he signed on the same day calls for 100% of California’s totalemissions not only to go to zero in 2045, but to go negative after that. This target is so absurdly ambitious that Euan Mearns e-mailed me asking whether the Executive Order wasn’t a hoax. But it isn’t. It reflects Gov. Brown’s  determination to save the Earth from climate change whether it needs saving or not. (Inset; jubilation as Gov. Brown signs the Executive Order).

The Executive Order is linked to here. It’s in a graphical format that doesn’t allow it to be downloaded as text, so all of the excerpts presented here are screenshots.

The Order is divided into two sections – the “Whereases” and the “Now Therefores”. For those not familiar with English legal jargon the “Whereases” list the facts, or at least the facts as Gov. Brown sees them, and the “Now Therefores” list the actions that the Whereases call for. It’s important to note that the Executive Order is not legally binding and can be rescinded by a future governor, but as Vox points out it may not be as toothless as it appears:

Executive orders are often the trigger for California climate progress. That process often begins with an executive order, as it did in 2005, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an order establishing carbon-reduction targets through 2050. The following year, the legislature passed a version of it as AB 32, which established the machinery of emission reductions that operates in the state to this day. In 2015, Gov. Brown issued an EO establishing a new target of 40 percent reductions by 2030.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Assembly Bill 100 and a 100% renewable California

Assembly Bill 100 and a 100% renewable California

The California legislature just passed Assembly Bill 100 (AB100), which according to the inset calls for “100% clean energy by 2045”. The brief review presented in this post shows that AB100, which targets electricity, not energy, will cut California’s greenhouse gas emissions by only about 16% even in the unlikely event its target is met. Its main impact will be to add to the regulatory overload from which California’s electricity providers already suffer. The fact that the bill was passed at all indicates that California legislators, as well as being unable to tell the difference between megawatts and megawatt-hours, are also unable to tell the difference between electricity and energy.


AB100 (Senate version SB100) is California’s latest attempt to convert its dream of a 100% clean, renewable and sustainable energy future into reality. Media outlets were near-unanimous in concluding that it finally commits California to 100% renewable energy:

Los Angeles Times: The bill …. would require California to obtain 100% of its power from clean sources by 2045

Forbes: California has approved a measure requiring all energy used in the sunshine state to be from renewable sources by 2045

ZME Science: Last week, California’s legislators passed Senate Bill 100, a bill to power the state exclusively on clean energy

Even Senator Kevin de León, who introduced the bill, claims on his website that AB100 will power the state on “100% clean, renewable energy”. California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) on Tuesday introduced Senate Bill 100, The California Clean Energy Act of 2017, which puts the state on the path to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2045. If the politician responsible for drafting AB100 believes this we can assume that the 42 other California legislators who voted for it don’t understand the difference between electricity and energy either.

Here is what AB100 actually says. The text from which the following extracts are taken is here:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Stunning News from the Memesphere: Forest Fires had no Effect on the Public’s Interest in Climate Change

Stunning News from the Memesphere: Forest Fires had no Effect on the Public’s Interest in Climate Change

In 2018, the fires in California and in other parts of the world have been especially devastating. But they had little or no effect on people’s perception of global warming and climate change. It seems that we are operating on the basis of a wrong model of governance: the bottom-up mechanism is simply not working.

This year, we had the largest forest fires ever seen in history in California. And we had terrible forest fires in Greece, Portugal, and Scandinavia. Climate scientists were quick in stating that these fires were made more likely and more severe by global warming, but you don’t need to be a climate scientist to understand that higher temperatures mean drier conditions and that favors fires.

Then, if you live, as I do, in a bubble in the memesphere where climate change is regarded as a serious and imminent problem, you surely had the impression that the tsunami of fires of this summer was an important factor in affecting the perception of the general public. All that sound and fury couldn’t signify nothing, right? I saw several self-congratulatory messages in the meme bubble stating something like, “now they will start understanding the problem of climate change!

Alas, that’s not true. The results are stark clear: there is NO evidence of an increased public interest in global warming as a result of the fires. Here are the results of a search on Google Trends for the United States, these data record the number of times that a certain term was searched on the Google Search Engine.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Over Half The U.S. Has Now Been Hit By Drought As Lake Powell And Lake Mead Drop To “Dangerous” Low Levels

Over Half The U.S. Has Now Been Hit By Drought As Lake Powell And Lake Mead Drop To “Dangerous” Low Levels

The worst drought in years in the western half of the United States has sparked hundreds of wildfires, has crippled thousands of farms, and has produced what could ultimately be the worst water crisis in modern American history.  As you will see below, Lake Powell and Lake Mead have both dropped to dangerously low levels, and officials are warning that we may soon be looking at a substantial shortfall which would require rationing.  Unfortunately, many in the eastern half of the country don’t even realize that this is happening.  The mighty Colorado River once seemed to be virtually invulnerable, but now it doesn’t even run all the way to the ocean any longer.  Demand for water is continually increasing as major cities in the Southwest continue to grow, and this is happening at a time when that entire region just keeps getting drier and drier.  To say that we are facing a “water crisis” would be a major understatement.

I have written quite a bit about the drought in the Southwest in recent months, and it just keeps getting worse.  According to Forbes, more than half the nation is now experiencing some level of drought…

Drought conditions across the United States have worsened throughout the summer, culminating in more than half the country experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions by the end of August.

The latest update of the United States Drought Monitor shows that more than half of the country—nearly 56 percent—is abnormally dry or mired in a full-on drought. More than a third of the country is experiencing drought conditions, and almost eight percent is in an extreme or exceptional drought.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Over The Last 7 Days Our Planet Has Been Violently Shaken By 144 Major Earthquakes

Over The Last 7 Days Our Planet Has Been Violently Shaken By 144 Major Earthquakes

Within the past few days, we have seen an enormous magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Venezuela and a giant magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit Fiji.  Where will the next one strike?  To many of us, it is becoming exceedingly clear that something very unusual is happening to our planet.  I went and looked it up, and I was astounded to learn that the crust of the Earth has been shaken by 144 major earthquakes over the last 7 days, and that includes more than 50 on Sunday alone.  And remember, these are not small earthquakes.  The USGS considers any earthquake that is at least magnitude 4.5 to be “significant”, and they are happening so rapidly right now that it is difficult to keep up with them.

Usually, only earthquakes that cause death and destruction get attention from the mainstream media, and that was definitely the case with the huge quake that hit the northern coast of Venezuela on Tuesday

A major earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck the northern coast of Venezuela on Tuesday and shook buildings as far away as the capital, Caracas, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was centered near the town of Carupano, an area of poor fishing communities and was felt as far away as neighboring Colombia to the east and nearby island nations like Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Lucia, to the west and north.

This is certainly the last thing that the people of Venezuela need at the moment.  Their currency was just devalued again, and at this point it is so worthless that people are literally throwing it into dumpsters.

According to media reports, the quake lasted for approximately two minutes, and it really shook people up.  The following comes from Reuters

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Watch Out California! 53 Major Earthquakes (Including A Magnitude 8.2) Just Hit The Ring Of Fire In A 24 Hour Period

Watch Out California! 53 Major Earthquakes (Including A Magnitude 8.2) Just Hit The Ring Of Fire In A 24 Hour Period

Is something unusual starting to happen to the crust of our planet?  The USGS defines any earthquake of at least magnitude 4.5 as “significant”, and there were 53 earthquakes that met that criteria along the Ring of Fire on Sunday alone.  If you would like to verify that information for yourself, you can so do right here.  Not too long ago, I wrote about how “Earth changes” seem to be accelerating all over the world, but even I was stunned by the ferocity of the seismic activity that we witnessed over the weekend.  Because none of the earthquakes happened in the United States, the mainstream media almost entirely ignored this story, but that is a huge mistake.  The entire west coast of the U.S. falls along the “Ring of Fire”, and experts assure us that it is only a matter of time before the seismic tension that is building up along the tectonic plates in that area is released.

Much of the seismic activity on Sunday was near the small island nation of Fiji, and it is true that Fiji often experiences earthquakes because it sits directly inside the Ring of Fire

Fiji falls in the Pacific Ring Of Fire – a massive horseshoe-shaped area in the Pacific basin.

The ring is formed of a string of 452 volcanoes and sites of seismic activity (earthquakes), which encircle the Pacific Ocean.

Roughly 90 percent of all earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and 75 percent of the world’s active volcanoes are dotted along the expansive ring.

It certainly is not unusual to see earthquakes happen along the Ring of Fire, but what was unusual about the activity on Sunday was the size of the earthquakes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

10 Haunting Photos As California’s Largest Wildfire Ever Spirals Out Of Control

On Monday, the twin fires being treated as one incident north of San Francisco became the largest wildfire in state history, destroying 443 square miles (1,148 square kilometers), nearly the size of the city of Los Angeles and 45% greater than New York City.

The Mendocino Complex grew to span 283,000 acres (114,526 hectares) on Monday when two wildfires merged at the southern tip of the Mendocino National Forest, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The size of the fire has surpassed the previous record set by the Thomas Fire which burned 281,893 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties when it destroyed more than 1,000 structures. It is now the largest of eight major fires burning out of control across California, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” in the state.

The wildfire about 225 miles (360 kilometers) north of San Francisco started more than two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer’s flat tire. It killed two firefighters and four residents and displaced more than 38,000 people.

And as the record-breaking wildfire continued to grow amid hot and windy conditions, it challenged thousands of fire crews battling eight major blazes burning out of control across the state.

The Mendocino Complex, which is 30% contained, has been less destructive to property than some of the other wildfires in the state – it has so far burned down 75 homes – because it is mostly raging in remote areas. But as AP notes, officials say it threatens 11,300 buildings and some new evacuations were ordered over the weekend as the flames spread.

More than 14,000 firefighters are battling more than a dozen major blazes throughout California, state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean told AP. “I can remember a couple of years ago when we saw 10 to 12,000 firefighters in the states of California, Oregon and Washington and never the 14,000 we see now.”

Unfortunately, there is no respite in sight as temperatures could reach 110 degrees (43 Celsius) in Northern California over the next few days with gusty winds fanning the flames of the complex, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.

The 3,900 crews battling the Mendocino Complex on Monday were focusing on keeping flames from breaking through fire lines on a ridge above the foothill communities of Nice, Lucerne, Glen Haven, and Clearlake Oaks, said Tricia Austin, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire.

Elsewhere, the Carr Fire – which has torched 164,413 acres in the scenic Shasta-Trinity region north of Sacramento since breaking out on July 23 – was 47% contained according to Reuters. The Carr Fire has been blamed for seven deaths, including a 21-year-old Pacific Gas and Electric Company lineman Jay Ayeta, whom the company said on Sunday was killed in a vehicle crash as he worked with crews in dangerous terrain.

Even Trump commented on Twitter on the California conflagrations: “California wildfires are being magnified and made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.”

The Northern California fires have created such a haze of smoke in the Central Valley that Sacramento County health officials advised residents to avoid outdoor activities for the entire week.

Below we shows 10 haunting photos from the wildfire, courtesy of Bloomberg:

In defense of using ‘the new normal’ to describe climate change

WHAT IS NORMAL ANYWAY?

In defense of using ‘the new normal’ to describe climate change

It’s been an unusual summer, to say the least. Heat maps keep taking on a red-orange glow, with some veering into rare magenta territory. The Carr Fire, one of the most severe in California history, has burned down 1,000 homes and spun a fire tornado through the air.

“Over a decade or so, we’re going to have more fire, more destructive fire, more billions that will have to be spent on it,” California Governor Jerry Brown said last week. “All that is the ‘new normal’ that we will have to face.”

Why on earth is the word normal being thrown around to describe such extraordinary times?

The new normal is a catchy phrase, and one you’ve probably heard before — if not from Brown, then perhaps from the New York Times. In recent years, the cliche has shown up after disastrous wildfires, hurricanes, heatwaves, and drought.

While government officials and the media like to throw the phrase around, scientists kind of hate it.

“It sounds like we left the old normal, the old conditions, and arrived at a new normal, a new stasis,” Crystal Kolden, a fire scientist at the University of Idaho, tells me. “Unfortunately, that’s not what our climate projections are telling us. They’re telling us that this is one step on a very long staircase that’s heading toward extreme conditions.”

In climate science, “normal” is a well-defined word: an average over a 30-year period. Thus, the use of normal does not describe our current period, in which we’re going to continue seeing things we’ve never seen, Kolden says.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Massive “Fire Tornado” Blaze Started By A Flat Tire; White House Declares “Major Disaster” In California

One the most destructive wildfires in California history, the Carr fire, is still raging with only about 40% of it contained while elsewhere in the state, especially in the north, fires continue to expand.

Overnight a seventh person was reported killed by the Carr fire as another in the north of the state expanded by 25% overnight, leading the White House to declare a “major disaster” in California in a statement on Sunday morning. President Donald Trump has ordered the release of federal funding for recovery efforts.

The deadly Carr fire has scorched more than 145,000 acres as of Sunday morning; and as CNN reports, the wildfire which began on July 23rd was actually caused by a flat tire.

Photo taken Saturday morning. Via Antionio Paris/Twitter

The CNN report details the Carr fire’s origins in late July — but one of the 17 currently burning across the state:

It happens countless times on roads across America: a vehicle gets a flat tire, usually just a temporary inconvenience.

But on one road near Redding, California, when a tire failed last month on a trailer and its rim scraped the asphalt, the result was catastrophic for an entire region.

The sparks that shot out July 23 from that minor incident, California fire officials said, ignited what is now the sixth-most destructive wildfire in state history.

The Carr Fire blazed a fiery path along Highway 299, lighting up mile after mile of dry brush as it crept up on residential areas.

One man, Ed Bledsoe, lost his wife and two great-grandchildren, ages 4 and 5, within only a 15 minute time frame.

The man’s family were victims of the previously reported “fire tornado,” or what some are calling a “firenado” that ripped through Redding, which produced whirling winds of fire in excess of 143 mph.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

CA Wildfire Surges 25% Overnight As Exhausted Firefighters Battle On

A rapidly growing wildfire that has forced thousands to evacuate in Northern California surged overnight into Saturday – growing over 25% in size according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). The “Mendocino Complex Fire” which consists of two fires had reached 201,471 acres and 34% containment as of the agency’s last report.

The Mendocino Complex Fire is now the state’s largest fire at more than two-thirds the size of sprawling Los Angeles, and has forced the evacuation of nearly 16,000 residents and destroyed more than 100 structures. –Reuters



The Mendocino Complex has grown larger than the deadly Carr fire which is still raging around 100 miles to the northeast, and has killed six people while destroying over 1,500 structures.

Firefighters have managed to bring that blaze to 41% contained, while some evacuees have been allowed to return. Both areas remain under a “red flag warning,” however, as strong winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures topping 90 degrees are perfect conditions for further spread.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California’s progress, or lack thereof, in cutting its emissions

California’s progress, or lack thereof, in cutting its emissions

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently published its 2018 inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to which the state achieved its goal of cutting GHG emissions below 1990 levels in 2016, four years in advance of the 2020 target date*. Gov. Jerry Brown claims that this proves that the state’s anti-carbon laws and regulations are “succeeding”, but are they really? Here we take a brief look at CARB’s data, concluding a) that success has not yet been achieved and b) that California’s long-term emissions targets remain as elusive as ever.

* There is no certainty that California’s 2016 emissions (429 million tons) were in fact lower than its 1990 emissions. (431 million tons). With estimation errors in the 2-5% range a 0.5% difference is not diagnostic.

A few points to note before proceeding:

The graphics and data used in this post are from CARB’s 2018 inventory report unless otherwise specified.

CARB’s emissions include all greenhouse gases from all sources, not just CO2 from fossil-fuel burning. Gases such as methane, Nox, fluorocarbons etc. are converted into CO2 equivalents on the basis of their “global warming potential”.

CARB’s electricity sector emissions cover the entire state. Previous posts on California have used only data from the three major utilities that make up the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which between them account for about 75% of California’s electricity transmission.

First a brief history of California’s GHG emissions-reduction legislation. The bill that established the 1990-by-2020 GHG target (AB 32) was passed in 2006. Then in 2017 AB 398 set a new target of a GHG reduction of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and in April of this year an executive order established a longer-term target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. (California is now considering another bill – SB100 – that reportedly calls for 100% renewable electricity by 2045, but more about this later).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Radioactive Cesium-137 From Fukushima Found In California Wine

Following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan – which left Japanese residents contending with toxic water and radioactive wild boars, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said that particles of radioactive fallout which made its way to the Western United States and elsewhere was no biggie and didn’t pose a health risk.

California wine lovers will get to test that theory, after researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) discovered cesium-137 in several golden-state vintages. The researchers tested 18 bottles of California rosé and cabernet sauvignon from 2009 onward – finding increased levels of the radioactive isotope in bottles produced after the Fukushima disaster. The cabernets had double the radiation of the other wine, according to the study.

“We can measure some radioactive level that is much higher than the usual level,” said Michael Pravikoff, a physicist at a French research center who worked on the study.

The French research team has in recent years examined wines from around the world, trying to correlate the level of radioactive material with the date the wine grapes were picked.

Wines made around major nuclear events, including American and Soviet nuclear tests during the Cold War and the Chernobyl accident, should show higher levels of radioactive isotopes, called cesium-137, according to the researchers. The man-made isotope cannot be found in nature and would be present only at certain levels after the nuclear events. –NYT

While ingesting cesium-137 elevates one’s risk of cancer, the radioactive particles found in California wine “are not seen as a health hazard” according to Pravikoff, who said: “These levels are so low, way below the natural radioactivity that’s everywhere in the world.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We Are Seeing Heat And Drought In The Southwest United States Like We Haven’t Seen Since The Dust Bowl Of The 1930s

We Are Seeing Heat And Drought In The Southwest United States Like We Haven’t Seen Since The Dust Bowl Of The 1930s

Despite all of the other crazy news that is happening all around the world, the top headlines on Drudge on Monday evening were all about the record heatwave that is currently pummeling the Southwest.  Of course it is always hot during the summer, but the strange weather that we have been witnessing in recent months is unlike anything that we have seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.  At this moment, almost the entire Southwest is in some stage of drought.  Agricultural production has been absolutely devastated, major lakes, rivers and streams are rapidly becoming bone dry, and wild horses are dropping dead because they don’t have any water to drink.  In addition, we are starting to see enormous dust storms strike major cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the extremely dry conditions have already made this one of the worst years for wildfires in U.S. history.  What we are facing is not “apocalyptic” quite yet, but it will be soon if the rain doesn’t start falling.

Large portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah are already at the highest level of drought on the scale.  In Arizona, things are so bad that wild horses have been dropping dead by the dozens, and now authorities are trying to save those that are left

For what they say is the first time, volunteer groups in Arizona and Colorado are hauling thousands of gallons of water and truckloads of food to remote grazing grounds where springs have run dry and vegetation has disappeared.

Federal land managers also have begun emergency roundups in desert areas of Utah and Nevada.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Google and Facebook Are Quietly Fighting California’s Privacy Rights Initiative, Emails Reveal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018. - Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced the world's largest social network will soon include a new dating feature -- while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK ARE QUIETLY FIGHTING CALIFORNIA’S PRIVACY RIGHTS INITIATIVE, EMAILS REVEAL

LOBBYISTS FOR THE largest technology and telecommunications firms have only three days to prevent the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, a ballot initiative that would usher in the strongest consumer privacy standards in the country, from going before state voters this November.

The initiative allows consumers to opt out of the sale and collection of their personal data, and vastly expands the definition of personal information to include geolocation, biometrics, and browsing history. The initiative also allows consumers to pursue legal action for violations of the law.

The idea that Californians might gain sweeping new privacy rights has spooked Silicon Valley, internet service providers, and other industries that increasingly rely on data collection, leading to a lobbying push to defeat the initiative before it gains traction. Their best hope may be to convince the sponsors of the initiative, including San Francisco real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, to pull the proposal in exchange for compromise privacy legislation, AB 375, which would achieve some of the same goals of the initiative. Lawmakers behind the legislation, led by state Assembly Member Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, and state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, have promised to swiftly pass their bill this week if sponsors withdraw the CCPA.

Emails obtained by The Intercept reveal that tech giants are fighting behind the scenes to water down the privacy legislation, hoping to prevent an expensive and potentially losing ballot fight this year.

Andrea Deveau, a lobbyist for TechNet, a trade group for Google, Facebook, and other tech companies, has continually updated an ad-hoc business lobbying coalition formed to defeat the CCPA. In an update sent on Sunday evening, Deveau provided a “compilation of feedback re: the most problematic aspects of AB 375.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters

California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters

One of the big news stories neglected by both the mainstream and “alternative” media is the capture of California politics and the regulatory apparatus by Big Oil and other corporate interests in recent years – and the massive expansion of offshore drilling that has occurred in state waters under the helm of Governor Jerry Brown as a consequence of this regulatory capture.

The enormous power that Big Oil exerts over California regulators was inadvertently revealed in a March 10, 2012 article in the Santa Barbara Independent that discussed a so-called “marine protected area” created under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that went into effect on January 2 of that year.

The official language for the marine protected area in the Isla Vista area of Santa Barbara County, the Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area, reads, “Take of all living marine resources is prohibited, except for take pursuant to operation and maintenance of artificial structures inside the conservation area … ”

“The caveat, allowing marine resources to be taken near artificial structures, exists to allow oil production representatives the ability to maintain equipment, including pipelines, located in this area,” the article by Cat Heushul stated.

Unfortunately, the reporter failed to mention the even bigger story — that Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, actually served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to create this “marine protected area” and others like it in Southern California.

She also served on the task forces to create “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. If that is not a huge, glaring conflict of interest, I do not know what is.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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