Great Article on New Fish Freeway

It is posted on Susan Maxwell Skinner’s Facebook page.

An excerpt.

“FREEWAY FOR FISH AIMS FOR 2021 COMPLETION:

“A two-year, $9.7 million project extending Nimbus Hatchery’s famous fish ladder into Nimbus Basin is half complete. The hatchery’s 65-year-old ladder will soon serve for a final season and the new passage will open next summer.

“Existing hatchery steps rise for a fraction of the 1,900ft channel currently under construction. Via a circuitous route, the new piscine freeway will conduct Chinook salmon and steelhead to hatchery processes that began after Nimbus and Folsom Dam were built. In the Department of Fish and Wildlife facility, eggs and milt are harvested for artificial fertilization. Edible fish meat is saved for food closet distribution and in spring, millions of fry are released. Once endangered, Chinook adults now return in reliable numbers for fall breeding.

“The current ladder system employs connected pickets to divert fish to hatchery steps. Though many adults spawn and die before reaching this weir, the altered American River provides insufficient breeding sites. In mitigation, many thousands of salmonids are annually processed at Nimbus. Hell-bent on reproduction, their end-of-life journey through Carmichael, Fair Oaks and Gold River provides an autumn spectacle for nature lovers. In preparation for the 2020 run, weir pickets were recently lowered. When water temperatures reach November frigidity, ladder gates will open and the hatchery’s vital work will resume.

“Upstream, the new ladder entrance has already been built. Engineered by the Bureau of Reclamation, the massive extension project begins near the south side of Nimbus Dam. Migratory fish will next year gain an extra quarter-mile of river for natural spawning; those that reach the dam unfulfilled will be lured by churning water to a rock-lined flume. Swimming gradually uphill, they’ll encounter a pond and steps. Lookouts (including an underwater window) will enhance visitor views. “We’ve wanted a submerged window for ages,” approves Nimbus interpretive specialist Laura Draft. “Fish anatomy and adaptations are more visible underwater. This makes for more exciting visitor experiences.”

Retrieved August 31, 2020 from https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Maxwell-Skinner-1543823865927571/

Be well everyone!

Posted in Environmentalism, Hatcheries

Oldest Redwoods Survive Fires

Which is very good news, from Associated Press.

An excerpt

“BOULDER CREEK, Calif. (AP) — When a massive wildfire swept through California’s oldest state park last week it was feared many trees in a grove of old-growth redwoods, some of them 2,000 years old and among the tallest living things on Earth, may finally have succumbed.

“But an Associated Press reporter and photographer hiked the renowned Redwood Trail at Big Basin Redwoods State Park on Monday and confirmed most of the ancient redwoods had withstood the blaze. Among the survivors is one dubbed Mother of the Forest.

“That is such good news, I can’t tell you how much that gives me peace of mind,” said Laura McLendon, conservation director for the Sempervirens Fund, an environmental group dedicated to the protection of redwoods and their habitats.

“Redwood forests are meant to burn, she said, so reports earlier this week that the state park was “gone” were misleading.

“The historic park headquarters is gone, as are many small buildings and campground infrastructure that went up in flames as fire swept through the park about 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of San Francisco.

“But the forest is not gone,” McLendon said. “It will regrow. Every old growth redwood I’ve ever seen, in Big Basin and other parks, has fire scars on them. They’ve been through multiple fires, possibly worse than this.”

“When forest fires, windstorms and lightning hit redwood trees, those that don’t topple can resprout. Mother of the Forest, for example, used to be 329 feet tall (100 meters), the tallest tree in the park. After the top broke off in a storm, a new trunk sprouted where the old growth had been.

“Trees that fall feed the forest floor, and become nurse trees from which new redwoods grow. Forest critters, from banana slugs to insects, thrive under logs.

“On Monday, Steller’s jays searched for insects around the park’s partially burned outdoor amphitheater and woodpeckers could be heard hammering on trees. Occasionally a thundering crash echoed through the valley as large branches or burning trees fell.

“When Big Basin opened in 1902 it marked the genesis of redwood conservation. The park now receives about 250,000 visitors a year from around the world, and millions have walked the Redwood Trail.”

Retrieved August 25, 2020 from https://apnews.com/efa48694b12c74a9700b03dbe3ffde30

Be well everyone!

Posted in Environmentalism

Natural Gas-Powered Plants

They provide needed and reliable energy—as the rolling black-outs recently attest—and need to stay open.

This article from California Globe discusses current meetings to ensure they do.

An excerpt.

“This week, environmental organizations, officials from numerous cities, and energy company officials are mounting eleventh hour fights before the State Water Resources Control Board meets next week to decide if several natural gas plants in Southern California will get an extension to stay open.

“One to three year extension possible for four gas power plants in Southern California

“The upcoming decision focuses on four natural gas plants along California’s coast in Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Oxnard, and Redondo Beach. The plants, which rely on seawater cooling, have all been deemed inefficient and not environmentally sound. All four are slated for closure in the early 2020’s, with the largest, the AES plant in Redondo Beach, slated to close in 2023.

In their place, green energy such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power plants are to be built, along with any future environmentally friendly sources of power. This is all part of California’s initiative to have 60% green power by 2030 and be 100% green by 2045.

“However, the rush to close plants and install green energy at that fast pace has seen many bumps in the road. Battery capacity for green energy sources has proven a challenge, as wind and sunlight for wind power and solar power can only be generated at specific times. With power storage issues in California, nighttime usage, thanks to the gap from solar energy only generating power during the day, became an issue.

“But this also caused issues in the power grid. Without a steady supply during hotter months, when air-conditioning and other high-power use items are used en masse, rolling blackouts begin to happen, as evidenced during the last few weeks across California due to high temperatures.

“Planned closures, failed power grids

“Despite having a decade to figure out how to make up the power without seawater cooled gas plants due to a Water Board ruling in 2010, California has not kept up. Energy officials have begged for extensions of the 4 gas plants in questions for years due to the drastic shortfall. The companies who own the plants say they need an extension to help California to avoid any power gaps and see through to its 100% green energy promise.

“The Water Board vote on keeping the Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Oxnard plants open for an additional three years and the Redondo Beach plant open for another year was seen as more unlikely than likely only a few weeks ago. But with the California power grid nearing collapse and green power not taking up enough of the slack of fossil fuel plants right now, state officials have now been signaling that an extension is likely.

Environmentalists and city leaders where the contested power plants lie have been against the extensions. Environmentalists want the plants closed to fight climate change sooner rather than later, with city leaders wanting the plants out of their cities due to pollution, the plant facilities taking up prime seaside real estate, and those plants only generating a small amount of energy.”

Retrieved August 24, 2020 from https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/four-gas-power-plants-may-see-operation-extensions-due-to-blackouts-grid-issues/

Be well everyone!

Posted in Environmentalism, Technology

Finally, Clearing the Forests

Knowledgeable folks have been calling for this for years, so this is good news from the San Jose Mercury.

An excerpt.

“The two dozen major fires burning across Northern California were sparked by more than 12,000 lightning strikes, a freak weather occurrence that turned what had been a relatively mild fire season into a devastating catastrophe.

“Yet what’s driving these enormous fires is not sparks, but millions of acres of fuel: bone-dry trees and brush that haven’t burned in many years.

“Before the Gold Rush in 1849, large parts of California burned every few decades. Lightning fires burned for months, and native tribes burned the land, clearing out dead vegetation. But for much of the past century, as the state’s population has built homes, towns and parks in rural areas, firefighters have extinguished the flames to save property and lives, allowing forests and other landscapes to become unnaturally dense.

“As a result, fires now burn hotter and with more intensity. Climate change is increasing temperatures and drying out vegetation earlier. And the reckoning is here.

“We have put out fires for 100 years. Now we are paying the price,” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “It will take a while to make these forests healthy again. But it’s absolutely possible.”

“California has been increasing its efforts. Last week, in a little-noticed milestone, state officials signed a major agreement with the federal government that aims to reshape how forests are managed for years to come.

“Under the plan, California agencies and the U.S. Forest Service will use brush clearing, logging and prescribed fires to thin out 1 million acres a year by 2025 — an area larger than Yosemite National Park every 12 months, and roughly double the current rate of thinning, which already is double rates from a few years ago.

“The Forest Service and the state Natural Resources Agency also committed to drawing up a 20-year plan by next year to identify which areas of the state will get priority for thinning projects. They will update it every five years and share it with the public.

“What we’re seeing is a real partnership. There is a coming together,” said Jessica Morse, deputy secretary for forest resource management at the California Natural Resources Agency.

“The legacy of fire suppression has contributed to the overstocked forests that we have today,” Morse said. “It’s leading to catastrophic wildfires that are compounded by climate change.”

“Morse said the goal is to treat at least 15 million acres, roughly 15% of all the land in California, including conifer forests like the ones that are burning near the coast, along with oak woodlands and other landscapes.

“It’s part of a three-step strategy she said the state is expanding. First is urging residents to clear “defensible space” around their homes. Second is creating thinned-out areas, known as “shaded fuel breaks,” between wild areas and communities, like a project the state completed along Highway 17 between Los Gatos and Summit Road in Santa Cruz County last year. And, finally, finishing larger restoration projects to thin trees and brush back to more historic levels, first with chain saws, and then in several years, with controlled burns.

“But the plan is not without complications.

“Environmental regulations will need to be streamlined, particularly permits for landowners with small parcels to thin trees and brush on their properties. Roughly 40% of the 33 million acres of forest in California are owned by private landowners, and 99% own less than 500 acres. Many are retirees living in rural areas without much money.

“Some residents complain about controlled burns because they put smoke in the air and spike hospital visits from people with asthma.

“Also, more uses will need to be found for millions of tons of dead brush and small trees that will be removed from forests, much of which has little lumber value. Some can be used to make chipboard and other forest products. There are hopes some can be made into biofuels. The material also can be burned at biomass plants to make electricity, but those are polluting and controversial in many communities. Otherwise, crews pile up dead brush in the forest during spring and winter months and burn it when wildfire risk is low.”

Retrieved August 24, 2020 from https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/23/california-fires-state-feds-agree-to-thin-millions-of-acres-of-forests/

And an excellent article here about how the Indians always did this, see https://www.kvpr.org/post/manage-wildfire-california-looks-what-tribes-have-known-all-along

Be well everyone!

Posted in Environmentalism, History

Wildfires

An excellent article about controlling them better (and improving our water quality) than we have been under an environmentalist driven policy, from Western Farmer.

An excerpt.

“Today’s wildfires are often larger and more catastrophic than in the past. Decades of fire suppression and an inability to manage forests through controlled burns, thinning, and pest and insect control play a big role in this. Today, on average 7 million to 8 million acres of forests and grasslands burn annually, double the figure from three decades ago.

“We know there are ways to actively manage our Western forests to improve water quality, provide for jobs, reduce the cost of firefighting and increase forest resiliency. Now we have new tools to assess how proper management of watershed vegetation can increase water yield.

“Research conducted by the U.S. Forest Service on the Upper North Platte River in Wyoming shows that restricting timber harvest had already severely impacted the watershed and reduced water yield to the tune of a minimum of 160,000 acre-feet (AF) per year. The literature and research show that implementing a 100-year rotation on all eligible timberlands would sustain an increase of 50,000 to 55,000 AF of water per year — for just one part of one forest in Wyoming.

“There is a significant gain in water supply to streams, because the consumptive use of water is reduced when the number of trees growing as forests is managed to avoid the conditions that result in catastrophic wildfires.

“Expanding the idea

“Applying these findings across upland forested areas within the Colorado River system suggests that active forest management could potentially increase water yield by several hundred thousand acre-feet per year, provide for hundreds of jobs, and reduce the cost of firefighting while increasing forest resiliency.

“New research in California further suggests that actions such as mechanical thinning and prescribed burns also contribute to significant increases in downstream water availability.

“The University of California Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute recently published a study titled “Evapotranspiration Mapping for Forest Management in California’s Sierra Nevada”. The researchers sought to estimate the change in evapotranspiration (ET, or water primarily used by vegetation) after wildfires. Looking specifically at two watersheds in the Sierra Nevada mountains between 1985 and 2015, the research team found that ET in these forested areas decreased for at least five years after wildfire events during the study period. In some cases, reductions in ET lasted more than 20 years.

“This means more water is available to flow downstream as runoff to meet other needs. The study suggests that forest-management strategies could enhance runoff in the two watersheds by 4% to 10%, significantly bolstering California’s water supply

“Targeted approach

“A responsible level of continuous reduction in fuels includes a combination of robust mechanical thinning and prescribed fire. This can be employed to significantly reduce ET, tree stress, disease and pest infestation; preserve health forest conditions; and protect species and habitats.

“Failure to employ this approach will continue the downward, accelerating spiral of fuel accumulation, drought, disease and invasive insects. This will lead, inevitably, to additional high-intensity fire events in the future.”

Retrieved August 20, 2020 from https://www.farmprogress.com/commentary/forest-thinning-fire-can-boost-western-watersheds

Be well everyone!

Posted in Environmentalism, Water

Driving is Preferred

Very much so now, and, according to this article from New Geography, that will only increase.

An excerpt.

“The mayor of San Diego wants to spend $177 billion expanding the region’s transit system in order to make San Diego like “Barcelona, Madrid, Paris.” Meanwhile, Barcelona, Madrid, and Paris are becoming more like U.S. cities, at least in terms of the transportation habits of their residents. Driving is the dominant form of travel in all European cities and is rebounding fast after pandemic lock-downs.

“Of course, driving is rebounding even faster in the United States, according to INRIX estimates. Total driving at the end of June, the entire month of July, and the first week of August was more than it had been in the weeks before the pandemic. Of course, it was the middle of winter before the virus, but that’s still an impressive comeback.

“Interestingly, that driving hasn’t brought congestion back to its pre-COVID levels. Morning rush-hour driving in most urban areas was only only around 70 to 80 percent of pre-shutdown levels while afternoon rush-hour driving was 80 to 90 percent, with afternoon levels exceeding 100 percent in just a couple of urban areas. As a result, rush-hour speeds are significantly higher than they were before the pandemic.

“My interpretation of this is that a lot of people are working at home, so they aren’t driving at rush hour, but they are still driving at other times of the day. As I wrote last week, “people who work at home don’t necessarily drive less than people who commute by car — they just drive at other times of the day.”

“Meanwhile, as I noted Monday, June transit ridership down nearly 70 percent. Transit advocates are telling themselves that riders will come back after the virus. A survey of San Francisco commuter-train riders found that 43 percent say they will ride transit after the pandemic is over as much as they did before. A survey of Philadelphia transit riders say they will come back to transit if they are allowed to socially distance themselves.

“These numbers are presented as good news for transit. Get real: if only 43 percent to 55 percent of riders return, the results will be catastrophic for transit agencies. Meanwhile, other transit experts claim people will return to transit “because it’s cheap.” But it’s not: driving a used car or even an inexpensive new car can cost less than riding transit, especially if you have a passenger most of the time.

“So now seems to be a bad time to be talking about spending billions on transit. Yet San Diego is not the only place that is considering such nonsense. This November, Austin voters will be asked to approve a huge property tax increase to pay for a $7 billion light-rail system. San Antonio voters will be asked to dedicate an existing sales tax that is now being spent on the city’s water supply on transit instead. I wonder how many San Antonians drink water vs. how many ride transit?

“Both sales taxes and property taxes are regressive, yet they are the main ways transit agencies pay for their operations. In this age of social justice, it seems odd that people would support regressive taxes to subsidize transit.”

Retrieved August 19, 2020 from http://www.newgeography.com/content/006750-driving-bounces-back

Be well everyone!

Posted in Transportation

Technology & the Virus

Excellent article from New Geography.

An excerpt.

“While it’s helped a lot of Americans who are displaced from their offices get their work done, it’s fallen short in areas like education and disease tracking and has once again highlighted the digital divide.

“With smart cities and the need for digital transformation of government already top of mind for state and local leaders, the coronavirus pandemic’s disruptions have provided a sort of field test of how technology is really able to respond to key civic and societal challenges. So far, at least, it’s a mixed picture.

“One of the most dramatic initial changes had an immediate impact on Main Street business activity as consumers shifted their purchasing heavily to online, adding to the disruption from the waves of business shutdowns that began spreading in March. This shift caused some challenges for companies in scaling up. Amazon, for example, temporarily halted inbound warehouse shipments of third-party sellers’ goods. It also de-prioritized shipments of non-essential items, including, ironically, its original category of books. But these companies quickly adjusted, and there may well be a permanent uptick in e-commerce market share as a result of the crisis, particularly in sectors like grocery.

“Meanwhile, in the white-collar office world, almost overnight both corporate America and the public sector shifted the bulk of employees to work from home. This led to a dramatic upsurge in the usage of video collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Demand above normal can easily overwhelm capacity in a system, as America’s toilet-paper shortage in the first weeks of the pandemic showed. But while there were a few bumps in the video systems, these providers were able to rapidly scale up operations, allowing surprising degrees of effective collaboration despite the sudden dislocation of work. Corporate IT and consultancies also were able to successfully ramp up, deploying additional infrastructure where needed. Accenture, for example, provisioned 80,000 laptops within a week to its workers who were normally based in its offices.

“America’s broadband internet providers have not been as successful. While most of the country’s households have high-bandwidth internet service, hours spent on Zoom calls have revealed just how many intermittent problems these connections can have, regardless of carrier. People planning important webinars are now arranging fallback plans in case a speaker’s Internet connection freezes. I’ve begun using a cellular data connection for important interviews or presentations because inevitably my wired connection would have problems. I know from the grumblings I hear from others that I’m far from the only one in this situation.

“These sorts of technology deployments are basically traditional consumer and business applications extended to the next level. But what about the use of technology for transforming the civic realm? Here, the results are less encouraging.

“Education switched to many of the same remote technologies as business, but not as successfully. Especially at the high-school level, absenteeism from online courses has been a problem. Many minority and lower-income students are likely to be left permanently behind if virtual schools are ineffective in remote teaching this fall. Meanwhile, well-to-do parents are creating multi-family home-schooling “pods,” either directly managing their children’s online learning or hiring a teacher to home-school them.”

Retrieved August 18, 2020 from http://www.newgeography.com/content/006749-technologys-mixed-record-responding-a-pandemic

Be well everyone!

Posted in Technology

Shasta Dam Raise, With Graphic

This project might be getting closer to realization, according to this article from California Globe, with a great graphic after the jump.

An excerpt.

“In 1933, California was financially broke and unable to issue municipal bonds to complete its ambitious water system plans.  The state asked the Federal government to take over the project and the rest was history:  The statewide Central Valley Project (CVP) was built including Shasta Dam, the northernmost water storage reservoir in the federal water system.

“During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Democrat Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt was deporting massive numbers of migrant laborers back to Mexico so that they could not be part of the New Deal.  Roosevelt made way for 400,000 of those displaced by the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and Arkansas during the Depression to migrate to California’s Central Valley, where agricultural and construction jobs were needed. And to facilitate jobs imported water was needed from the north part of the state by the Sacramento River and from the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains through the San Joaquin River.  Tuberculosis and paralysis from polio due to bad water and the toils of migration were the plagues of the era.

“Fast forward to 2020, without incurring massive debts, California is again effectively bankrupt to fill the budget hole it created by ordering a shut-down of the economy as part of a declared virus epidemic emergency.  Progressive policies are driving small businesspersons and the industrial working class out of California while the state is attempting to incentivize foreign in-migration with failed promises of “Medicare for all.”   Water for farmers in California has become a political football, as it is used by the Democrat majority to obtain political concessions.  Moreover, the main way the majority Democrat Party has been able to keep its environmentalist base is to deny imported water to farmers.  Saving fish is a symbol for environmentalist jobs, patronage and political clout and denying the same to Republican and independent voters.

“Since 1959, California added only five new dams, three of them flood control dams and one a downstream storage dam (Diamond Valley Lake) that added no new water.  The Los Vaqueros Dam and Reservoir was built in 1998 but serves only Contra Costa County.

“The Auburn Dam (2.3 million acre-feet of water) was initially proposed in the 1950’s, bounced around the legislature for decades, but was defeated by environmentalists in the 1980’s.

“Since 1979, California voters have authorized 21 waterless water bonds totaling $32 billion and not one new source water reservoir has been built.

“In 2014, California pulled off a fake play with its Proposition 1 Water Bond, which promised $2.7 billion for new dams.  Even the so-called impartial Ballotpedia stated Proposition 1 allocated $2.7 billion for “water storage projects, dams and reservoirs.”

“But Proposition 1 was a “bait and switch” scheme that only really funded public recreation, fishing improvements at new dams. Moreover, the bond financing of dams by local water districts would have to allocate 50 percent its “public improvements” to “ecosystem improvements” to qualify for state funding.  So, 75 percent of state funds would have to go to pay off special interests of the Democrat Party to get 25 percent funding.

President Donald Trump is presently calling an old play of reviving a decades old proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam. The dam was supposed to be built at a height of about 800 feet when built in the 1930s but ended up 602-feet high due to the Great Depression. Raising the dam 18-feet would increase the capacity of the reservoir by 14 percent or 630,000 acre-feet of water. That is enough water for 328-square miles of crop land but the annual yield would irrigate 26 square-miles per year.  That is about the same land area as the cities of Huntington Beach or Livermore.

“California contends the proposal violates the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. But as can be seen in the map above, the enlargement of the banks of the lake behind the dam would be minimal.  Ron Stork of Friends of the River stated, “Any bean counter would say this is crazy.  But this is a political dam.”

Retrieved August 17, 2020 from https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/shasta-dam-enlargement-might-be-in-play-if-california-expects-federal-help/

Be well everyone!

Posted in Shasta Auburn Dam

Future of Driving After the Pandemic

From New Geography.

An excerpt.

“A new study from accounting firm KPMG predicts that auto travel in the United States will be 9 to 10 percent less after the pandemic than it was before. Telecommuting, says the report, will lead to a 10 to 20 percent reduction in commuting by car while on-line shopping will lead to a 10 to 30 percent reduction in shopping trips.

“This is good news to the transit-loving, auto-hating folks at Streetsblog, who celebrate “14 million cars off the road forever” but warn that “if we don’t act fast, they’ll come back” (which makes “forever” somewhat dubious). The “actions” they advocate call for giving the transit industry another $32 billion right away so it can keep its empty transit vehicles clean and even more money after that so it can increase the frequencies of those empty buses and trains.

“If you believe the KPMG report, however, that’s not going to work. The report also found that 43 percent of former transit riders don’t plan to go back to riding transit after the pandemic, and most of them will substitute autos for transit. If true, that will increase driving by about 5 billion vehicle miles. KPMG admitted that transit’s loss would somewhat offset the decrease in auto travel, but did not include that in its calculations.

“Indeed, KPMG’s overly simplistic study failed to account for many possible interactions in the transportation sector. It asked transit users if they planned to switch to single-occupancy vehicles, carpools, or ride hailing, but didn’t ask how many expected to end up telecommuting. It asked how many cars would be taken off the road because of telecommuting, but it didn’t ask how many more would be added to the road as people take advantage of lower congestion.

Randall Crane, an urban planner now at UCLA (but formerly at UC Irvine), once did a study of telecommuting that found that people who work at home don’t necessarily drive less than people who commute by car — they just drive at other times of the day, since working at home gives them flexibility to set their own hours. On-line shopping may reduce driving for shopping, but what if people take the extra time they save from not shopping and use it to travel for recreation or social reasons? KPMG is silent about such questions.

“The headline-grabbing numbers in the KPMG report are the maximums of its estimates. “We estimate that total U.S. VMT could drop by 140 billion to 270 billion miles per year,” says the report, which is 5 to 9 percent, not 9 to 10 percent. That drop in driving, the report continues, could reduce auto ownership “from 1.97 to as little as 1.87 vehicles per household” which is 7 to 14 million vehicles.

“Yet driving has proven to be far more resilient than transit ridership. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (click on table 2.2.5), Americans have consistently spent about 9 percent of their personal incomes on driving for the last 70 years. As the cost of driving has declined relative to personal incomes, people drive more.

“Most of that increase in driving hasn’t been commuting and shopping, which represent less than half the driving Americans do. If future Americans don’t have to spend so much time shopping or commuting to work, they will spend more time driving for family, social, and recreational activities.

“Nor do auto makers need to worry much that the American auto fleet is going to shrink by 14 million vehicles. According to Global Workplace Analytics, most post-COVID telecommuters will work at home only part time, continuing to go to another workplace one or more days a week. They’ll still need cars for that.

“In addition, experience indicates that, when gas prices fall, people use the savings to buy bigger, more luxurious automobiles. This suggests any households that decide to have one less car because one of the income-earners is working at home will, the next time they buy a car, use the savings to buy one that is more luxurious than they previously owned. Auto companies probably earn more profits from the sale of one luxury car than two commuter cars.

“Transit, on the other hand, is far less resilient than driving. Citing Streetlight Data, the KPMG report says that driving fell by 64 percent in April, 2020. According to the Federal Highway Administration, it was only 42 percent compared with the previous April. Since gasoline consumption was down only 37 percent, the FHwA number sounds closer to reality. Transit ridership, meanwhile, fell by 84 percent.”

Retrieved August 11, 2020 from http://www.newgeography.com/content/006738-the-future-driving

Be well everyone!

Posted in Transportation

Global Warming Alarmism

An antidote for those who need one, a new book reviewed at American Greatness.

An excerpt.

“An important new book by Michael Shellenberger, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us Allattempts to counter the common belief that climate change poses an imminent and existential threat to humanity and the planet. At 285 pages, this is a relatively short and very readable book, but it covers a lot of ground. “And with an additional 125 pages containing over 1,000 footnotes, Shellenberger’s arguments are well documented.

“The book should be required reading for politicians. It should also be required reading for Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and the handful of other online communications titans who exercise almost total control over what facts and opinions make their way into public discourse. This book also belongs in the hands of climate activist journalists, for whom a 16-year-old truant is an oracle with unassailable credibility, while contrarian scientists and economists are only targets for smear campaigns.

“Needless to say, Shellenberger’s book has attracted furious rebuttals—this one in the Yale Climate Review is typical—but it is unlikely many of these critics read the book all the way through or approached it with an open mind. One of Shellenberger’s primary points is that while climate change is occurring, it is not the biggest global environmental threat and that policies to “fight climate change” are causing some of the most harm to the environment. So-called “renewable energy” is a prime example of this. 

“Renewable Energy Renews the Power of Special Interests

“To debunk the supposed environmental benefits of renewable energy, Shellenberger makes frequent reference to the concept of power density. In this analysis, nuclear energy comes out on top, generating the most power while consuming the least amount of space. Power density takes into account the footprint of the generating plant, as well as the area required for extraction of construction material and fuel, the distribution grid, and the subsequent waste storage. Following nuclear is hydroelectricity, then fossil fuels. Renewable energy sources bring up the distant rear. In order, they are solar, wind, and biofuel/biomass.

“The extreme amount of land consumed by renewables is only part of the problem. Because renewables supply intermittent power, backup has to be provided either in the form of grid-scale batteries or natural gas power plants. Shellenberger exposes the links between fossil fuel interests and the pro-renewable-but-anti-nuclear lobby and makes a convincing case that there is a synergy between the two. By blocking nuclear power, which offers a continuous supply of electricity, expansion of quick-start natural gas power plants become necessary to fill in when the sun is down and the wind falters.

“In a section that constitutes a goldmine for political foes of California’s aristocratic families headed by the Brown, Getty, Newsom, and Pelosi clans, Shellenberger spells out exactly how this clique used its influence to protect their oil and gas interests at the same time as they have steadily worked to eliminate nuclear power. This is a scandal ripe for further investigation.”

Retrieved August 10, 2020 from https://amgreatness.com/2020/08/09/apocalypse-never-takes-direct-aim-at-consensus-climate-alarmism/

Be well everyone!

Posted in Environmentalism, History, Politics