Is #COP21 #ParisAgreement a Great Advance, or a Huge Flop?

We’ll know, I think, by 2025 when it’s too late to do anything about the past 10 years.
I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s an agreement that will provide a better push than Kyoto or Copenhagen ever had a chance to do.
It’s probably aiming somewhere beneath a complete success (which we obviously need to preserve civilization and species at risk of extinction), and above the total failure to move lagging countries like Canada and India off their fossil fueled paths.

Saskatchewan is showing signs of improvement, with even conservative (Conservative leader hopeful?) Brad Wall loosening the chains on progress toward renewable energy. But expect the Premier to re-pitch nuclear power.

American cities are showing bolder targets. 100% is Possible. Saskatchewan should have a plan this bold too [PDF].
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Can Postmedia Be Trusted?

Newspapers have a duty to publish public concerns. However such concerns, when unsubstantiated, poorly researched and ill-expressed should be confined to the letters page.

The editorial boards of both the Star Phoenix and Leader Post have made it abundantly clear that they support coal with carbon capture. However that ship has sailed and renewables now represents a $5-
billion industry that could generate thousands of jobs across Saskatchewan. Isn’t it about time for our Province’s two largest newspapers to get on board with this new reality?

The Leader Post’s legacy assets like Mandryk and Johnstone have fondness for Wall’s Carbon Capture and Storage boondoggle, and a distaste for those speaking out against it like David Suzuki. What shows up in the paper today, after the dreadful anti-wind op-ed yesterday?
Boundary Dam carbon capture project is better than many think” -Frank Proto

If it weren’t for Greg Fingas appearing in the columns section, the LP would be a near total wasteland when it comes to critical thought and expression.

Suzuki’s No Slave To The Economy

I hope we see meaningful changes in our economy, in time. There’s not a great understanding in our society that the economy is a system of resource distribution. We’ve enshrined it, even creating a phony holiday today when our retail gods go into the black.

It’s not that Canadian oil patches use slavery (don’t seem to, and they pay workers well), but an economy shouldn’t thrive on creation of injustice. An economy is supposed to create the conditions for prolonged success of people participating in it. When it’s found to be causing harm, it must change to adapt, or the harm grows and creates threats to societal success.

Yet Suzuki did offend people.

“People caught … working for the fossil-fuel industry will have to make a transition, they are not the target of my ire,” he reportedly said.

“But who would say today that the economy should’ve come before slavery?” Suzuki said.”
He could have said the same about child labour, or the factory disaster in Bhopal, India that killed tens of thousands of people. It was 50 years ago that #Nader held an industry to account for a product that was unsafe when used. Today, it’s fossil fuels.
“People dare to say it’s more important to make money?!” – Suzuki
Yes, people dare say it, just as they did when justifying child labour too.

Is seeking an analogy with which to compare an industry presently essential to our economy, yet undeniably harming our atmosphere, destined to cause offense? There are fainting couches ready all over the Saskatchewan Legislature, lest someone mention a reduction in fossil fuel output in the presence of Brad Wall. Some of those couches are staffed by the media with great big feather fans at the ready while asking if people want to “nuance” their message opposing a growing fossil industry. Does that mean we should never bring up the subject about how he’s going to meet the increase in renewable energy by 2030, if he doesn’t reduce fossil fuel dependency?

Suzuki also understands the urgent importance in reducing pollution.

About having Suzuki on his show, “Because I’m a shit disturber” – Suzuki
“The twerp in me loves it!” – Solomon
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SaskPower’s Plan Isn’t Ambitious

SaskPower’s new target, announced by the Premier last week, is out.

Saskpower mix by 2030 vs 2015

That’s more wind power than we produce with coal or with natural gas today. Sounds impressive, until you realize that North Dakota did this already:
As of the end of 2014, 1,886 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity had been installed for wind power in North Dakota.

SaskWind also says this is “unambitious”.

1) As noted: Wind energy is cost competitive with natural gas, half the price of coal with carbon capture and significantly cheaper than nuclear. It is the cheapest form of new renewables on the market today.

2) Saskatchewan has a world class wind resource – which is substantially better than the average in both the US and Europe.

3) The European Union and the US expect 23 percent and 20 percent respectively of ALL their electricity to be generated by wind in 2030.

Alberta is heavily dependent upon coal electricity. By 2030, according to their #ABclimate plan, there will be no coal burning for electricity in 15 years. In Saskatchewan, SaskPower promises up to HALF of our electricity will STILL come from fossil sources like lignite coal. That’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop using, and subsidizing fossil fuels now.

Solar All Over California

Train station

Pawn shop

On our Amtrak trip through southern and central California, I watched the dry and irrigated fields fly by me at 133km/h. We stopped for the night in Bakersfield (the most conservative city in America, some figures show), and it was 41 degrees even with the sun down. The cement around the pool at night warmed my feet as if the hot sun was beating down on it only a moment earlier.

Large #solar farm north of Wasco CA
This large solar farm appears to be the one mentioned in this story about a Hanford Dairy.

Bridge and plane

"PALM BARF" in L.A.

Oil in L.A.
Los Angeles oil production. You can see how dry it is there.

2015-08-21_07-05-25

Hills covered with wind turbines north of Oakland.
Hills filled with wind turbines in California

Metal tends to rust near the ocean:
Rusty beach cruiser

The Baseload Mistake

One of the hangups some of my friends have about converting the electrical grid to renewable energy, has been the difficulty in storing electricity generated for use when energy input is reduced. Tesla Energy should help with that logistical problem.

In the meantime, we’re dealing with homes, power grids, and even an economy that cannot easily survive even short interruptions of constant energy input. That has to change to make our way of life even close to sustainable.

Is “baseload” power from coal even that important in grids of the near future?

“We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day,” he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”

Arnie Gunderson is right that it shouldn’t sit right with people.

Forbes wonders if nuclear power is now going to die. Not anytime soon, there’s too many billions of dollars already sunk into the technology and that industry is not going to go peacefully into the night as it runs out of money to manage security for all of the nuclear and industrial wastes it’s created.

Saskatoon Riding the Coattails of History

Acknowledging that an important feature in Saskatoon was constructed by the government, then bragging that construction of a future valued feature (a wind turbine) was avoided by the government instead of an opportunity seized upon, is a repugnant attitude. People like Sandra are not leaving a better world for our children, and Stephen Harper’s grand-daughter.