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Confronting “Alternative Facts”

Confronting “Alternative Facts”

They are unending. There’s no way to keep up, much less respond effectively, and it almost goes without saying that they are never to be taken back, corrected, or amended in any way. Call them false claims, lies, untruths, misstatements, whatever you want, but they are what comes out of his mouth just about anytime he opens it. Take, for instance, that moment as 2018 ended when, in a blacked-out plane, he landed at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq for a three-hour presidential visit with the troops. It was there that he swore (as he had before) that he had won those troops a 10% pay raise for 2019 and that, to do so, he had fought it out in the trenches with unnamed military officials. (“They said, you know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3%. We could make it 2%. We could make it 4%.’ I said, ‘No. Make it 10%. Make it more than 10%.’”) He insisted as well that they hadn’t had a raise, not just of such a monumental sort but of any kind, in “more than 10 years.” As it happens, what were once known as the facts went like this: those troops last received a pay raise — of 2.4% — in 2018 (and every year before that for three decades); the 2019 pay raise is for 2.6%, not 10%; and those unnamed military officials evidently won!

For any half-normal president that would have been the trifecta: three outlandish falsehoods in a single try, but for Donald Trump it was just the modest, everyday demonstration of his remarkable ability to adjust reality to his needs, desires, and fantasies, and (as Jean-Luc Picard would once have said) “Make it so”! After all, for the man who, according to Washington Post fact-checkers, managed to make almost 6,000 “false and misleading claims” in 2018 alone, more than 15 a day and almost triple his record-setting pace of the previous year, that was nothing.

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

Apple, Google, and how not to go 100% renewable

Apple, Google, and how not to go 100% renewable

Earlier this year I described how the Dutch Railwayswere using “alternative logic” to claim that their trains were running on 100% wind power while in reality they were running about 90% on coal and gas-fired electricity from the Dutch grid. But Nederlandse Spoorwegen aren’t the only ones doing it. Other companies use the same alternative logic to show how they too are now 100% renewable even though they aren’t. In this post we review the claims of two of the most prominent ones – Apple and Google, who are making points with the public and the media by declaring themselves to be 96% and 100% renewables-powered even though Apple still obtains well over half of its electricity from non-renewable sources and Google probably over 80%. (Inset: solar array at Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina data center).

 

Introduction:

First on my use of the term “alternative logic”. The term “alternative facts” has recently come into vogue to describe facts that aren’t factual, and I use “alternative logic” to describe logic that isn’t logical (although there are other less polite terms I could have used). We will see how illogical shortly.

The path a company has to follow to go 100% renewable is now well-established. What it doesn’t do, except in rare instances, is build renewables plants itself. Instead it negotiates long-term purchase contracts with renewable energy providers and/or purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (in the US) or Guarantees of Origin (in Europe) that transfer ownership of the renewable energy generated by a third party to the company. And as soon as the company has purchased enough generation to cover its in-house consumption it can a) declare itself to be 100% renewable and b) claim zero CO2 emissions.

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

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