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Green Energy Times January Issue

The January, 2019 issue of Green Energy Times is now available online. You can download it HERE.

Individual articles will be posted over the next few days.

January 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “World’s Coffee Under Threat, Say Experts” • The first full assessment of risks to the world’s coffee plants shows that 60% of 124 known species are on the edge of extinction. Though only two species are used for the coffee we drink, scientists say the figure is “worrying”, because wild coffee is critical for sustaining the global coffee crop. [CNN]

Coffee harvest (Getty Images)

  • “New York Governor Cuomo Announces Mammoth Offshore Wind And Distributed Solar Increases” • In his annual State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to significantly upgrade the state’s renewable energy targets, including quadrupling its offshore wind target to 9 GW by 2035. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Climate Is The Biggest Risk To Business (And The World)” • Companies and investors are waking up to the dangers of climate change. Business leaders and experts surveyed by the World Economic Forum said extreme weather, migration caused by climate change, and natural disasters are the three risks they are most likely to face in 2019. [CNN]
  • “Renewables Now Most Competitive Form Of Power Generation In GCC Countries” • The most competitive forms of power generation in Gulf Cooperation Council countries (all Arab countries on the Persian Gulf except Iraq) are renewable, according to a report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency. [Windpower Engineering]
  • “EPA Nominee Calls Climate Change ‘A Huge Issue,’ But Not ‘The Greatest Crisis'” • Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the EPA and nominee to lead it, said he gives climate change an “eight or nine” on a one-to-ten scale of concern but thinks it is not the greatest crisis. He is still reviewing the EPA’s climate change report of two months ago. [CNN]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum: Winter’s Coolest Tradition

Ice Harvest Festival
February 2, 2019 10 am – 3 pm
Hanford Mills Museum
51 County Hwy 12, East Meredith, NY
607/278-5744
Take part in a traditional ice harvest, just as communities did a century ago. Festival also features ice carving, ice fishing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowman village, hot soup buffet, food trucks, blacksmithing and cooking demonstrations, and exhibits by local businesses and farmers. Kids 12 and under get in free; Adults and Teens, $9; Seniors, $7
Hanford Mills Museum in the Catskills’ East Meredith will hold the 30th anniversary Ice Harvest Festival on Saturday, February 2, 2019. Visitors can take part in a traditional ice harvest using historic tools and techniques. Each year seven to eight tons of ice are harvested.
“We call Ice Harvest the region’s coolest tradition; it’s a day of winter fun and hands-on history,” says Hanford Mills executive director Liz Callahan. “There were 75 people at the first Ice Harvest in 1989, and now we regularly welcome 1,200 or more to the Ice Harvest Festival. It’s an opportunity to embrace winter, enjoy the outdoors, and learn about the past in a unique way.”The popular winter event celebrates an activity that was essential before mechanical refrigeration. People would cut ice from frozen ponds and rivers and then store it in ice houses. In the warmer months, the ice would be used to keep food and agricultural products cold. “Ice was viewed as a winter crop by area farmers,” explains Callahan. The ice harvested at the festival will be used to make ice cream at Hanford Mills Museum’s Independence Day Celebration on July 4.

Festival features a range of activities

The SUNY Delhi Hospitality Center Ice Team will be transforming blocks of ice into works of art. The Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited will offer children the chance to ice fish. Visitors can enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh rides around the Museum site. The Hot Soup Buffet features soup and chili made by area restaurants. There will be blacksmith and historic cooking demonstrations. The Catskill Interpretive Center will have art supplies for visitors to sketch on site, and information on the new Catskill Art Club. Local vendors include Byebrook Farm Farmstead Gouda, Catharina’s Hats and Mittens, Cabana Coffee, and the Cooperstown Distillery.  Heat Smart Otsego will offer tours of the Museum’s advanced pellet boiler and district heating system and provide information on clean heating and cooling technologies.

The hot soup buffet will feature chili and soup from Alfresco’s Italian Bistro, the Autumn Café, Brooks House of BBQ, Cross Roads Café, Fiesta Mexican Grill & Cantina, the Green Earth Café, Mel’s at 22, Morey’s Family Restaurant, Oneonta Bagel Company, the Otesaga, Signatures Restaurant, Simply Thai, and the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Program. The College Association of Delhi, Inc. will make rolls, and Junkyard Bakehaus provides cookies. Sales from soup and cookies benefit the Museum’s educational programs.

See hanfordmills.org for more information and updates. If the ice is 8 or more inches deep, the public can fully participate in the ice harvest. Because snow acts as an insulator, during the weeks leading up to the Ice Harvest Festival, Museum staff members shovel the pond. “Our staff works hard to ensure a good crop of strong clear ice,” says Callahan. “With the recent single digit temperatures, it’s certainly good ice-making weather.” In recent years, the depth of the ice has ranged from 7 inches to more than 18 inches.

Admission and Information

Children 12 and under receive free admission. Admission for adults and teens is $9; senior admission is $7. Discounts available for teachers, first responders, veterans, members of the military, EBT cardholders, and AAA members. Hanford Mills Museum members receive free admission.

January 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “New York Gov Launches ‘Green New Deal’ with Accelerated Clean Energy Targets” • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a “Green New Deal” initiative. Cuomo’s 2019 Justice Agenda calls for a ramp-up in renewable energy deployments as New York seeks to have 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. [Greentech Media]

New York City

  • “One Simple – But Really Hard – Solution to Stop Climate Change” • The time to act on climate change and limit its human causes is now, as many studies have shown. A report in the journal Nature Communications maps out what it may take to get there. It is to phase out its “carbon-intensive infrastructure” at the end of its design lifetime. [CNN]
  • “US Coal Retirements in 2018 Could Be as High as 15.4 GW” • A total of 16.9 GW of US power capacity was retired in 2018, including 11.8 GW worth of coal-fired power capacity, figures from S&P Global Market Intelligence say. But data from other analyst figures suggest US coal retirements in 2018 could have been as high as 15.4 GW. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Green Energy Could Be a Casualty as PG&E Enters Bankruptcy” • Gas and electricity consumers will see no changes right away when PG&E files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the face of liability problems from two historic fires. But both consumers and environmentalists might be in for rocky rides as PG&E tries to weather the storm. [UC Berkeley]
  • “EDF Powers Up in New York” • EDF Renewables North America has commissioned the 80-MW Copenhagen Wind project in Lewis County and Jefferson County, New York. The wind farm will supply electricity to National Grid subsidiary Narragansett Electric Company. Vestas supplied the 40 turbines for the project. [reNEWS]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Is the shutdown an impeachable offense? Time for McConnell to call Trump’s bluff

From Carl Pope

A version of this article appeared earlier in Salon

Is the shutdown an impeachable offense? Time for McConnell to call Trump’s bluff
One of Washington’s favorite parlor games of late has been debating what constitutes an “impeachable” offense, and whether President Trump has committed one. An obvious candidate has gone unnoticed: the government shutdown itself.

Unlike previous presidents during shutdowns, Trump is not vetoing bills he objects to — an action clearly within his purview. He is promising to veto bills he does not object to because Congress has not given him an appropriation he seeks — $5.7 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He wants to shut down parts of the government — for “months or years” — until he gets his wall money.

Under the Constitution, he has no right to demand such an appropriation — much less to hold vital government functions hostage to obtain it. The president is not coequal with Congress when it comes to appropriations — the power of the purse belongs to the legislative branch, not the executive.

James Madison makes this clear in Federalist 58: “the legislative department alone has access to the pockets of the people.” Trump’s claim that he can build the wall anyway is even more flagrantly unconstitutional. Article I of the Constitution is clear that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

Trump’s demand for an appropriation from Congress because of a security crisis on the border was anticipated by the drafters of the Constitution; they specifically refused to combine the power of the purse with the role of commander in chief. (This after all, was the specific grievance against the king of England that sparked the American Revolution itself.)

Worse, in shutting down the government to extort an appropriation he is not entitled to, Trump is violating his oath of office and breaching one of his core fiduciary duties: to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” (Emphasis added.) Obviously, a shutdown of one-third of the government for “months or even years” will make the execution of many laws utterly impossible – particularly since the Department of Justice is one of the shuttered agencies. Trump cannot assert that he must shut down the DOJ. The Democrats have passed an appropriation for that department, to which he concedes he has no objection. He is merely trying to use the shutdown as blackmail to force Congress to fund the wall (or at least however much of it can be built for $5 billion).

Taking as our source the very Federalist Society from which Trump gets his judicial appointee punch list, breach of fiduciary duty is the key standard for the “misdemeanors” the Constitution cites, along with criminal acts, as grounds for impeachment.

Nor does the alleged national security crisis on the border offer a justification – even an extraconstitutional one – for Trump’s hostage-taking. In fact, it makes his fiduciary breach even broader, given his willingness to shut down the Department of Homeland Security. The administration says the border, in its present state, is an unacceptable risk, because immigration officials have apprehended 3,000 “special interest” immigrants at that border. (Note – apprehended. The system apparently works.)

None of these people, let’s note, were terrorists. In fact no terrorist is ever known to have sought to cross the Mexican border.  On the other hand the Department of Homeland Security did apprehend 3,700 terrorist suspects at airports and other legal points of entry not on the Mexican  border. Refusing to fund the Department of Homeland Security for months or years, as the president has threatened to do, in order to stop a nonexistent threat on the border would thus greatly increase the risk of terrorists crossing into the U.S. in the way they have historically done so – that is, through other ports of entry.

So we are faced with a president who is seeking to overturn the congressional power of the purse. To achieve this unconstitutional end, he says he is ready to shut down the Justice Department — perhaps even for years. He is also willing to shut down the very agency that, since 9/11, has successfully protected the United States from terrorists entering the country – the Department of Homeland Security. This is abuse of power and fiduciary breach at its most definitive — with one important caveat.

Were the House to move articles of impeachment against Trump based on a prolonged shutdown, the president has, as of today, one powerful defense. He has not actually vetoed any bill to reopen the government, because the Senate has failed to place one before him. Since government can be funded only by legislation passed by both Houses and then signed by the president (or passed over his veto) Trump actually lacks the power to reopen the government – as long as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell persists in not allowing the Senate to vote on any bill Trump says he won’t sign.

This collusion by the Senate majority with Trump is fundamental, since the heart of Trump’s fiduciary breach lies in his usurpation of the congressional power of the purse. McConnell, the leader of one chamber of Congress, is thus far fully complicit in this effort.

So solving the shutdown – without having to impeach the president – is quite simple. Enough senators – of both parties – must compel McConnell to bring bills to reopen the government before the Senate for a vote. Then, if President Trump holds the government hostage by vetoing those bills after they pass, those who wish to impeach him will have their ironclad impeachable offense. Meanwhile Congress can override the veto and restore law enforcement and other vital federal funding.

If McConnell calls Trump’s bluff, he could not only end the shutdown but also make a prolonged impeachment crisis much less likely.

Continue reading Is the shutdown an impeachable offense? Time for McConnell to call Trump’s bluff

January 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “As the World’s Oceans Warm, Their Waves Are Becoming More Powerful” • Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz have revealed that as the surface of the world’s oceans continues to warm, there is a direct association with increased wave energy globally. Their study was published in the journal Nature Communications. [IFLScience]

Wave (irabel8 | Shutterstock)

  • “Antarctica Ice Melt Has Accelerated by 280% in the Last Four Decades” • A pair of studies, one published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the other in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience, share a same ominous message: Our planet’s ice is melting at an alarming rate, which is bad news for global sea levels. [CNN]
  • “What Warmer Oceans Mean for the Planet” • Our oceans are much warmer and are heating up faster than we previously thought, driven by climate change caused by humans, according to a study published in the journal Science. Its authors said 2018 would be the warmest year on record for oceans. So what does that mean? [CNN]
  • “How Low Cost Wind and Solar Push the Market for Renewable Hydrogen” • Wind and solar already beat natural gas on price in some parts of the US, a trend that is likely to spread. And renewable hydrogen could quickly replace natural gas in two other major markets, fuel and fertilizer production, with help from wind and solar power. [CleanTechnica]
  • “President Trump Can’t Stop US Coal Plants from Retiring” • Coal plants are still closing, despite Trump’s efforts. Generators said they plan to shut around 8,422 MW of coal-fired power and 1,500 MW of nuclear in 2019, while adding 10,900 MW of wind, 8,200 MW of solar and 7,500 MW of gas, according to Reuters and EIA data. [CNBC]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

January 14 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “ScottishPower: the Journey to Renewables” • ScottishPower, one of the UK’s biggest utilities, announced it will switch to 100% renewable energy. The move is hailed as touchstone moment and a good example for any big utility seeking to shed its fossil fuel legacy, but does the move make economic sense, and if so will more utilities follow? [Power Technology]

Ardrossan, Scotland (Courtesy of Vincent van Zeijst)

  • “Solar + Storage Half the Cost of Gas Peaker Plants” • Prices for electricity from solar-plus-storage plants have had a precipitous fall. As prices continue to drop, Wood Mackenzie has forecast that as the market for solar plus storage matures, it could put over 6,400 MW of new natural gas-fired peaking capacity in the US at risk by 2027. [CleanTechnica]
  • “All the Good News About Renewable Energy – From the US Department Of Energy” • Trump pledged to revive the US coal industry, but during his tenure its growth prospects flatlined. The latest outlook on electricity generation from the DOE has bad news for coal, good news about renewable energy, and some so-so news for natural gas. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Australia Could Hit 100% Renewables Sooner than Most People Think” • Not since the invention of the steam engine have we seen such fast change in energy systems around the world. In Australia our electricity system is changing rapidly, from new technologies and business models to changes in policy and perhaps even regulation. [The Guardian]
  • “Wind Energy Companies Move to Protect Wildlife” • In a biannual meeting at Saint Paul, Minnesota in December, leading American wind energy companies announced a new Wind Wildlife Research Fund for research that will accelerate the development and deployment of innovative solutions to protect wildlife at wind sites. [Market Business News]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

January 13 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Oceans Are Warming 40% Faster than Predicted” • News Flash! The oceans are warming 40% faster than predicted just a few years ago. That finding is contained in a new study published January 11 in the journal Science. As the oceans warm, they will absorb heat less efficiently, and that means that with time, the land will get hotter faster. [CleanTechnica]

Ocean waves

  • “‘Green New Deal’ Isn’t Radical. It’s a Natural for Texas’ Wind, Solar Energy” • A Green New Deal could expedite more solar and wind power usage, but first people need to know what a Green New Deal means. No state will be more impacted than Texas, with its rich oil and gas resources, and no city more than Houston. [Houston Chronicle]
  • “Democrats Looking to Finally Tackle Climate Impacts to Gulf of Maine” • After years of inaction under the old administration, Maine may finally deal with the impacts of climate change along the coast, including ocean acidification, a byproduct of the use of fossil fuels that represents a potentially catastrophic threat to Maine’s marine harvesters. [Press Herald]
  • “Will China Be the Superpower in a World Transformed by Renewable Energy?” • Nimble players have already seized the opportunity not only to secure their own future energy supplies but to become new energy leaders. Among the leaders, China has put itself in pole position to be the world’s renewable energy superpower. [Newsweek]
  • “Renewable Energy to Remodel World Dominance Patterns” • At its ninth annual General Assembly session, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released a report, A New World: The Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation. It says the patterns of world leadership are changing rapidly, with new winners and losers. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

 

January 12 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Wind and Solar Are the Final Nails in Coal’s Coffin” • During the 2016 campaign and in various rallies since, President Trump promised to save America’s coal industry and put the nation’s coal miners “back to work.” Trump continues to labor under the delusion that he can accomplish that, but fortunately, that is just delusion. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Coal plant demolition (Nicki Kohl | Telegraph Herald | Associated Press)

  • “Trump Threatens Those Hurt by His Failure on Climate Change” • As the federal government shutdown and the rancorous border wall dispute consumes much of our attention, President Trump reiterated his threat to withhold essential wildfire response funds from California. He may try to divert the funds to pay for the wall. [The Hill]
  • “Vermont Yankee Sale to NorthStar Completed” • Entergy Nuclear completed the sale of the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to NorthStar Group Services, an industrial demolition company, after a two-year review. Demolition of the nuclear plant will be undertaken decades ahead of Entergy’s original time frame. [Bennington Banner]
  • “US Energy Will Come from Renewable Sources in 2019” • The majority of America’s new energy capacity additions in 2019 will come from renewable energy sources, according to figures from the US Energy Information Administration. The EIA expects 23.7 GW of capacity to be added, with 64% of that from wind and solar power. [Power Technology]
  • “In Massachusetts, Momentum Builds for Carbon Pricing for Transportation” • As Massachusetts legislators start their new year, bills calling for carbon fees for transportation are gaining momentum, with many lawmakers and advocates optimistic that a measure could make it to the governor’s desk during the current session. [Energy News Network]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

January 11 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Oslo Booting Cars from City Center” • Oslo is one of the top cities in the world for electric vehicles. That already makes it a clear leader in clean transport and more enjoyable, healthier air for citizens, but the city is taking things a step further. Oslo is moving to restrict car use altogether within certain areas of the city. [CleanTechnica]

Walkway in Oslo

  • “‘As World Teeters on Brink of Climate Catastrophe,’ 600+ Groups Demand Congress Back Visionary Green New Deal” • On behalf of their millions of members and supporters, 626 environmental organizations demanded that US policymakers “pursue visionary and affirmative legislative action” such as a Green New Deal. [Common Dreams]
  • “DSM Holds Grand Opening for Largest Net-Metered Solar Installation in New Jersey” • DSM North America opened its newly expanded solar field in Belvidere, New Jersey. The 20.2-MW solar project, located on 66 acres, is now the largest net-metered solar installation in New Jersey and the second largest on the East Coast. [Solar Power World]
  • “Hitachi to Halt Work on UK Nuclear Project” • Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd will halt work on a nuclear power project in the UK and take a one-time charge of up to ¥300 billion ($2.8 billion), as negotiations with the British government over funding have stalled. On the news, Hitachi stock had its best rally in over two years. [Energy Voice]
  • “Florida’s New Republican Governor Softly Nudges the State Forward on Climate Change” • Florida’s new Republican governor is making good on campaign promises, announcing plans to open a new resiliency office as part of an environmental rollout that includes an extra $1 billion for Everglades restoration and water cleanup. [Miami Herald]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.