#53: We Have Top Men Working On It

Lots of stuff to cover this week as we make up a little bit for last week's bummer news and also look forward to a world where states and cities take the lead. That means your voice has even more of an impact than it's ever had before. 

On to the news!

1. How GOP leaders came to view climate science as fake science - NYTimes

"The Republican Party’s fast journey from debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist is a story of big political money, Democratic hubris in the Obama years and a partisan chasm that grew over nine years like a crack in the Antarctic shelf, favoring extreme positions and uncompromising rhetoric over cooperation and conciliation.

“Most Republicans still do not regard climate change as a hoax,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican strategist who worked for Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. “But the entire climate change debate has now been caught up in the broader polarization of American politics.”

“In some ways,” he added, “it’s become yet another of the long list of litmus test issues that determine whether or not you’re a good Republican.”"

+ MY NOTES: Great news! You can vote them out of office. 5calls.org. And remember, because states and city leadership is more vital than ever, state and local elections are, obviously, equally critical. Get involved. Run for office. Change the world!

2. Buuuuuut, as we've noted before, the ball's already rolling. - NYTimes

"Two years ago, Kansas repealed a law requiring that 20 percent of the state’s electric power come from renewable sources by 2020, seemingly a step backward on energy in a deeply conservative state.

Yet by the time the law was scrapped, it had become largely irrelevant. Kansas blew past that 20 percent target in 2014, and last year generated more than 30 percent of its power from wind. The state may be the first in the country to hit 50 percent wind generation in a year or two, unless Iowa gets there first.

Some of the fastest progress on clean energy is occurring in states led by Republican governors and legislators, and states carried by Donald J. Trump in the presidential election."

+ MY NOTES: See Jones Jr., Indiana, above.

3. And now we're starting to figure out how to pull carbon out of the air, too. Artificially, that is. And still not super efficiently. Or cheaply. But it's a start! - Futurism

"Yesterday, the world’s first commercial carbon capture plant began sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air around it. Perched atop a Zurich waste incineration facility, the Climeworks carbon capture plant comprises three stacked shipping containers that hold six CO2 collectors each. Spongey filters absorb CO2 as fans pull air through the collectors until they are fully saturated, a process that takes about two or three hours.

The container then closes, and the process reverses. The collector is heated to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), and the pure CO2 is released in a form that can be buried underground, made into other products, or sold."

+ MY NOTES: Great stuff. Of course, as noted in the headline above, the kicker:

"According to Climeworks, the startup that created this carbon capture facility, hundreds of thousands more like it will be needed by midcentury if we want to remain below the limits set by the Paris Agreement. However, to keep the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), we’ll need to do something more than simply lowering global emissions."

4. Here's a nice little tidbit about the Chinese company that's offering FREE training to US COAL MINERS to become WIND FARMERS. - Quartz

"If you want to truly understand what’s happening in the energy industry, the best thing to do is to travel deep into the heart of American coal country, to Carbon County, Wyoming (yes, that’s a real place).

The state produces most coal in the US, and Carbon County has long been known (and was named) for its extensive coal deposits. But the state’s mines have been shuttering over the past few years, causing hundreds of people to lose their jobs in 2016 alone. Now, these coal miners are finding hope, offered from an unlikely place: a Chinese wind-turbine maker wants to retrain these American workers to become wind-farm technicians. It’s the perfect metaphor for the massive shift happening in the global energy markets."


5. Here's three stories about India going green AF

India cancels mega-plans to build coal plants


More on India being awesome


India will be first power its ports with clean energy

"Just a few years ago, the world watched nervously as India went on a building spree of coal-fired power plants, more than doubling its capacity and claiming that more were needed. Coal output, officials said, would almost triple, to 1.5 billion tons, by 2020.

India’s plans were cited by American critics of the Paris climate accord as proof of the futility of advanced nations trying to limit their carbon output. But now, even as President Trump pulls the United States out of the pact, India has undergone an astonishing turnaround, driven in great part by a steep fall in the cost of solar power.

Experts now say that India not only has no need of any new coal-fired plants for at least a decade, given that existing plants are running below 60 percent of capacity, but that after that it could rely on renewable sources for all its additional power needs.

Rather than building coal-fired plants, it is now canceling many in the early planning stages. And last month, the government lowered its annual production target for coal to 600 million tons from 660 million."

+ MY NOTES: Weird how it just takes a little leadership up top to turn around the breathable air of 1.3 BILLION people.

6. Are you surrounded by parents who don't teach their kids about climate change? Does that drive you crazy? Read on. - Washington Post

"Jakob Namson peered up at the towering ponderosa pine before him. He looked at his notebook, which was full of calculations scribbled in pencil. Then he looked back at the pine. If his math was right — and it nearly always is — he would need to plant 36 trees just like this one to offset the 831 pounds of carbon dioxide that his drive to school emits each year. 

Namson, 17, gazed around at his classmates, who were all examining their own pines in northern Idaho’s Farragut State Park. He considered the 76 people in this grove, the 49,000 people in his home town of Coeur d’Alene, the millions of people in the United States driving billions of miles a year — and approached his teacher, Jamie Esler, with a solemn look on his face.

“I think I’m beginning to understand the enormity of the problem,” the teenager said — a revelation that Esler later described as “one of the most inspirational moments of my entire career.”"

+ MY NOTES: Love it.


Here's some fun earthquake scenarios to make sure you never sleep again

Tools to help ecologists that are drowning in data, that, to be honest, is mostly not great

Shell shareholders vote for the survival of our species

Counterpoint: driverless cars are really hard and will continue to be so

Our microbots need to get smarter, meanwhile it's the future

Scientists take big step towards custom organisms, also the End Times

Silicon-laced diamonds could lead to practical quantum computers, WarGames sequel but in real life

Counterpoint: tough week for CRISPR

Hawaii would like to tell you how climate change is already here, thanks

The POPE gave Trump a letter about climate change and also compared him to a flat-Earther

Counterpoint: how far away is general AI, really?

On bringing people back to life - again

What YOU can do about climate change...

Podcast: Brian Deese, a negotiator of the Paris accord, believes we're more fucked than we think. Goooood.

These self-replicating 3D printers could build moon bases and fight climate change but really which one are we more pumped about, folks

Why are we so technologically powerful, and yet more fragile than ever? Is this the Great Filter? Is this bad?


Fix your diet: replacing meat with beans could save the planet because your farts are less bad than cow farts