Cubans are 15 TIMES LESS LIKELY TO DIE from Hurricanes Than Americans


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One of the Caribbean islands hardest hit by Hurricane Irma was Cuba, where 10 people died. Irma hit Cuba’s northern coast as a Category 5 storm. It was the deadliest hurricane in Cuba since 2005, when 16 people died in Hurricane Dennis.

Cuba has long been viewed as a world leader in hurricane preparedness and recovery. According to the Center for International Policy, a person is 15 times as likely to be killed by a hurricane in the United States as in Cuba. Meanwhile, Cuba has already sent more than 750 health workers to Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti.

Read the transcript of a discussion with Elizabeth Newhouse, director of the Center for International Policy’s Cuba Project. She has taken numerous delegations from the U.S. to Cuba to see how the Cubans manage disaster preparedness.

China plans for an end to gasoline and diesel-powered cars


Volvo plans on selling a million electrified cars by 2025

China, the world’s biggest car market, plans to ban the production and sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans….The country’s vice minister of industry said it had started “relevant research” but that it had not yet decided when the ban would come into force…

China made 28 million cars last year, almost a third of the global total

Chinese-owned carmaker Volvo said in July that all its new car models would have an electric motor from 2019…Geely, Volvo’s Chinese owner, aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025…and has announced plans to go electric across the board.

Other global car firms including Renault-Nissan, Ford and General Motors are all working to develop electric cars in China.

Automakers are jostling for a slice of the growing Chinese market ahead of the introduction of new rules designed to fight pollution.

China wants electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids to account for at least one-fifth of its vehicle sales by 2025.

The proposals would require 8% of automakers’ sales to be battery electric or plug-in hybrids by next year, rising to 12% in 2020.

Trump and the Republican Party are debating whether or not they want cars sold in the USA to be all fossil fuel-burners or coal-burners.

A 143-Ton Fatberg is Clogging a London Sewer

❝ An 820 foot long fatberg has been found blocking a sewer in East London, and it is taking a lot of man power to get it out of the way.

The fatberg, a solid mass of congealed fat, wet wipes, diapers, oil, and condoms was found in a Victorian-era tunnel in Whitechapel. The Thames Water company said it was the largest they had ever seen and estimated the removal time at three weeks.

The fatberg weighs about 143 tons and is 820 feet long. For reference, that’s 20 feet longer than London’s Tower Bridge. It’s also about the same weight as a blue whale, earth’s largest animal.

❝ Matt Rimmel, the head of the Thames Water’s waste network, expressed his shock at the fatberg and reminded everyone of how easily-avoided they are. Most fatbergs are caused by people putting things down their sinks and toilets that should be thrown in the garbage.

“It’s frustrating, as these situations are totally avoidable and caused by fat, oil, and grease being washed down sinks and wipes flushed down the loo,” he said.

This is not how you keep Britain tidy!

Barnard College Replaces Manager of $286 Million Endowment — Moving to a socially responsible firm

❝ Barnard College is replacing its money manager, Investure LLC, with another firm that’s able to invest its $286 million endowment in more socially responsible companies.

Strategic Investment Group, based in Arlington, Virginia, will become the fund’s manager at the end of September, Barnard said Wednesday in a statement. Investure, run by Alice Handy in Charlottesville, Virginia, had overseen the school’s investment office since 2006. Barnard is at least the third client to depart Investure in the past three years.

❝ In March, Barnard’s board of trustees voted to divest from energy companies that deny climate change, saying the women’s college, which is affiliated with Columbia University in New York, will “distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy.”…

❝ In 2014, Investure lost Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which decided to divest from fossil fuel companies. Rockefeller Brothers, which has an $816 million fund, hired a unit of Perella Weinberg that customizes portfolios.

Nice to see University admins with sufficient backbone to stand up for principle and science. Anyone think Congress might follow their lead?

Lessons from Germany’s Transition from Coal to Renewables

❝ Seventy-seven-year-old Heinz Spahn—whose blue eyes are both twinkling and stern — vividly recalls his younger days. The Zollverein coal mine, where he worked in the area of Essen, Germany, was so clogged with coal dust, he remembers, that people would stir up a black cloud whenever they moved. “It was no pony farm,” he says — using the sardonic German phrase to describe the harsh conditions: The roar of machines was at a constant 110 decibels, and the men were nicknamed waschbar, or “raccoons,” for the black smudges that permanently adorned their faces.

Today, the scene at Zollverein is very different. Inside the coal washery where Spahn once worked—the largest building in the Zollverein mining complex — the air is clean, and its up to 8,000 miners have been replaced by one-and-a-half million tourists annually. The whole complex is now a UNESCO world heritage site: Spahn, who worked here as a fusion welder until the mine shut down on December 23, 1986, is employed as a guide to teach tourists about its history. “I know this building in and out. I know every screw,” he says fondly.

Zollverein is a symbol of Germany’s transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy — a program called the Energiewende that aims to have 80 percent of the country’s energy generated from renewables by 2050. That program has transformed Germany into a global poster child for green energy. But what does the transition mean for residents of Essen and the rest of the Ruhr region — the former industrial coal belt—whose lives and livelihoods have been dramatically altered by the reduced demand for coal? The answer to that could hold some useful lessons for those undergoing similar transitions elsewhere…

The trade unions are stronger in Germany than in the United States. Progressive politicians are often voted into office – locally and nationally – in Germany. There has been legitimate, strong pressure exerted upon government and corporations alike in Germany. RTFA and see what a difference that has made in the transition away from the most polluting energy sources.

The Light from Coal begins to Flicker and Die in Colorado


Valmont Power PlantPaul Aiken/Daily Camera

❝ Xcel Energy Colorado has closed several coal plants over the past decade, usually to address air quality concerns in metro Denver. Those early closures have typically resulted in higher electricity rates for its customers.

But last week, the state’s largest utility made an economic argument for shuttering two of its coal-burning units in Pueblo a decade ahead of schedule, saying the move would address public demands for cleaner energy, significantly reduce air pollution, and lower electricity costs.

❝ Xcel Energy submitted its Colorado Energy Plan to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, including a request to shut down two units at the Comanche Generation Station in Pueblo with a capacity of 660 megawatts.

Bids will go out to replace that generation later this year, part of a much larger request for up to 1,000 megawatts of wind, 700 megawatts of solar and 700 megawatts of natural gas generation.

“We expect the Colorado Energy Plan portfolio will come in lower than current costs. It will significantly reduce customer bills,” said Erin Overturf, chief energy counsel at Western Resource Advocates, one of 14 groups involved in working out the agreement with Xcel.

As as the cost of producing electricity becomes cheaper and cheaper, the arguments for switching away from internal combustion engines to drive private transport and commerce will die along with the ideology of fools who advocate for suffocation and stillbirth. Profits rooted in unsound technology will drive profit only for fools and those who think they need fools to govern.

While the South is drowning, the West is burning


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As of last week, 77 large fires are burning across 1.4 million acres in eight western U.S. states. That’s an area more than three times the size of Houston.

The burning is part of a long-term trend of increasing wildfire in the West, brought on by a variety of factors, none more significant, according to recent research, than human-caused climate change.

RTFA. If your Congress-critter is still in denial about climate change, kick their sorry butt out of office. You can work to put someone useful into office and the dullard can try to find an honest job.

After 113 years of cranking out engines, Mercedes plant to make batteries, electric motors

❝ The first vehicle in history considered to be an automobile was the Benz Motorwagen of 1885…It was also the first vehicle from an automaker that has been around for the duration of the industry: we know it today as Mercedes-Benz.

In other words, the company has been building cars for 132 years…

And engines for those cars have come from its the German luxury car maker’s Untertürkheim production facility for 113 years.

❝ Now, after more than a century of internal-combustion engines, that historic plant is undergoing a seismic change: it will now build batteries for electric cars as well as engines…

❝ …The Untertürkheim facility will eventually be a major supplier to the Sindelfingen passenger-car plant…There, the brand’s EQ line of electric cars will be built, for which Untertürkheim will supply the battery packs.

The luxury marque has said it will launch 10 electric cars under the EQ badge by the year 2025.

Yes, of course, the market for conventional fossil fuel-fired internal combustion engines will continue for a spell. Even with a diminishing market share it will take some years for consumers to change. Cripes, we still have enclaves of flat-earthers AROUND the globe.

Future Hurricanes Likely To Be Worse Than Harvey

How powerful would Hurricane Harvey have been in 1880? How much stronger might it be in 2100?

❝ A single Hurricane Harvey has been more than anyone can bear. But to better prepare cities for future storms, researchers are preparing to re-watch Harvey thousands of times. They’ve already been studying earlier storms, and their conclusions don’t bode well for the decades to come.

❝ In the months and years after Superstorm Sandy’s 2012 assault on New Jersey and New York, Gary Lackmann, an atmospheric science professor at North Carolina State University, was asked how the event might be understood in light of human-driven global warming. He knew that the question everyone wants answered—did climate change cause the storm—wasn’t the right one. Hurricanes were around long before the industrial revolution. Two questions did, however, resonate:

How does climate change affect the frequency or intensity of huge storms?…

What would the weather pattern that sustained Sandy have spawned in a cooler past or a hotter future?…

RTFA for conclusions.

The body of Lackmann’s study ran before Hurricane Harvey. He’s adding that info to an ongoing evaluation. The more empirical data you have, the better. Especially in the political climate of crap “alternative facts” so loved by today’s conservatives.