When the Texas of Canada elects a government committed to the environment…


The starting line for the tar sands boondoggle

Alberta is sometimes called the Texas of Canada. It’s home to one of the largest rodeos in the world, a respectable number of annual tornadoes, and a plethora of oil and gas reserves. Falling in the not-quite-so-Texas category: blankets of winter snow, the way they pronounce their vowels, and most recently, a tax on carbon emissions.

The tax, which goes into effect January 2017, will add a few cents onto every dollar spent on coal, oil, and gas. When formerly cheap fossil fuels are forced to compete on even economic playing field with renewables, the thinking goes, people will choose sustainable energy…

A US Energy Information Administration study shows that a carbon tax like Alberta’s could reduce CO2 emissions by as much as half by 2040 (bearing in mind that comparing Alberta to the entire US is not quite apples to apples). You might recognize this strategy—using money to shape your behavior—from taxes on cigarettes, booze, and Keno. Pretty simple, pretty darn effective.

Cap and trade, the other economic climate strategy, is kind of like an inverted carbon tax. Instead of using taxes to reach a certain emissions goal, economists begin by deciding the maximum amount of carbon emissions they’ll allow. That’s the cap. But let’s think of it more like a pie, because then the regulators slice it up and auction the pieces off to energy companies.

“Some people look at tax like it’s a dirty word,” says Yoram Bauman, the economist who crafted British Columbia’s carbon tax. But taxes have their benefit, too. Many investors prefer a carbon tax because it doesn’t fluctuate along with external market factors. That stability lets them make long term plans. It’s also good for smaller economies, which is why Finland chose to implement the first in 1990.

Of course, given the choice most energy companies would choose neither tax nor cap—they’d just keep thrashing the commons. But the Paris climate talks are looming, and most world governments have already committed to some sort of emissions cuts. Heck, even Texas might come around.

But, uh, don’t hold your breath. The Democrats in Texas ain’t winning much and they don’t come close to the New Democrats in Canada.

Photo essay – World’s largest solar farm


Click to enlargeMarcelo del Pozo/Reuters

Spain has made renewable energy a top priority. The government has paid over $76 billion in subsidies for clean energy projects since 1998.

And the investment has paid off: 42% of Spain’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2013, according to the country’s grid operator. The majority comes from wind power, but solar provided 13% of the country’s energy and is increasingly becoming a bigger part of the pie…

❝Spain is also home to the largest solar farm in the world, Andasol.

Here’s how Spain’s largest solar farm works — and why it could be a model for the future of energy around the world.

Click through to the article here. Lovely photos of the world’s largest solar farm.

A Muslim Marine’s retort to Donald Trump

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❝A former US Marine who inspired an online campaign by Muslim-Americans who oppose the idea of a religion-specific identification card says he’s had hundreds of messages of support from serving members of the US armed forces.

Tayyib Rashid’s post was prompted by remarks by Donald Trump, the presidential candidate who’s leading his Republican opposition. In a recent interview, Trump said that he’s open to the possibility of special security and surveillance measures targeting Muslims.

❝Rashid took a photo of his military ID and put it on Twitter along with a barb directed at Trump: “I’m an American Muslim and I already carry a special ID badge. Where’s yours?” Others soon began posting their own identification cards under the hashtag #MuslimID, which been used more than 10,000 times in the last three day

RTFA for many more responses.

I expect little or no truth-telling from these so-called debates from so-called Republicans.  The real shame is the cowardice of the journalists too candyass to challenge what they often know to be bald-faced lies.  I know they’re usually under orders from editors, network flunkies, to be polite at all costs.  That’s not what journalism is about, folks.

Backbone is part of the job description unless you think you signed-on to be a public relations flunky.