Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The water-energy nexus and the looming specter of climate change are forcing southern California to start thinking about ways to reduce wasteful water and energy use:
No one expects Southern California to stop importing water. But energy pressures, combined with environmental problems that are undermining the long-term reliability of imports, are reshaping policies.

The California Energy Commission is promoting water conservation and more efficient appliances to save electricity and cut the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

"If you save water, especially in certain parts of California where you're really dependent on imported water resources, that actually has a benefit to the energy sector as well," said Lorraine White, a senior specialist with the commission.

While the political winds seem to be aligned against carbon trading, it appears that the northeast's foray into a regional climate market was generally successful:
“We tracked the dollars spent, and RGGI generates greater economic growth in every one of the 10 states that participate in RGGI than would occur without a carbon price,” said Susan Tierney, one of the authors of the study, which will be published in The Electricity Journal.

Oil and gas drillers needn't worry if they break the rules; enforcement isn't happening:
In Texas, 96 percent of the 80,000 violations by oil and gas drillers in 2009 resulted in no enforcement action. West Virginia, a state with 56,000 wells, issued 19 penalties last year. And Wyoming, the center of Rocky Mountain energy, collected $15,500 in fines in 2010.

Pennsylvania, the most aggressive about fining violators, sought penalties for more than a quarter of the violations found last year. It levied fines for 4 percent of the violations, with the penalties totaling $3.7 million. The largest of those was a $900,000 fine against a drilling company that contaminated the water of 16 homes.

That was less than the profits the company makes in three hours.

To follow-up on the chimp-torture article from yesterday, Wesleyan philosophy professor Lori Gruen (a former student of the wonderful Dale Jamieson) is compiling an online biographic database of chimps used for research. (h/t Sourav)

Since the bulllshit excuse Bloomberg used for under-cover-of-darkness-OWS-eviction was  that “health and safety conditions became intolerable,” could someone please explain to me why the 5,000+ book library needed to be dismantled?

New York City's public advocate is not impressed with the mayor's actions:
Mayor Bloomberg made a needlessly provocative and legally questionable decision to clear Zuccotti Park in the dead of night. That some media and observers were prevented from monitoring the action is deeply troubling.

This point has been made by plenty of others before, but how the hell is it that an economic calamity caused by massive deregulation and capitalism run amok has led the GOP to strengthen its embrace of the crackpot ideas of Ayn Rand? No, really, she was nuts:
Mike Wallace: And you believe that there should be no right, by the government, to tax. You believe that there should be no such thing as unemployment compensation, regulation during times of stress. 
Ayn Rand: That's right. I am opposed to all forms of control. I am for an absolute, laissez-faire, free, unregulated economy.

Industry leaves, a local economy crumbles, and infant mortality rises. A story that's probably true throughout the Rust Belt, I imagine.

What foods are being threatened by climate change?

Microbial conservation.

Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire on Jeopardy!: going all-in on a Daily Double, and then doing it again. (You know you're a bad-ass when your performance on that game show impresses Ken Jennings.)

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