Nearly three-quarters of Florida voters approve solar tax relief


AP/Alan Diaz

❝ Solar advocates finally got a win in the Sunshine State on Tuesday, as voters approved a measure to get rid of property taxes on solar equipment.

With more than 1,970,000 Floridians checking ‘yes,’ the measure, known as Amendment 4, received more support than the state’s two U.S. Senate primary winners, Marco Rubio (R) and Patrick Murphy (D), combined.

❝ It’s not surprising that the measure passed, although the overwhelming support was a morale boost for the industry, which has faced hurdles in Florida. Amendment 4 received 72 percent approval overall — and needed only 60 percent to pass…

Supporters are hoping the tax break will spur companies such as Walmart, IKEA, and Costco, which have made massive investments in solar elsewhere in the country, to install solar panels on their Florida stores. It will also allow solar leasing companies such as SolarCity to improve their margins.

❝ According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a Washington, D.C.-based industry group, Florida has the third-most potential for solar in the country, but it is only 14th in amount of installed solar — even while installing 90 percent more solar in the past year. Massachusetts, Colorado, and North Carolina all have more installed solar.

Not that Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats and other fossil fuel pimps have given up. They still have Amendment 1 on the horizon for November.

❝ If Amendment 1 passes, it will prohibit Floridians from selling their electricity to third parties. In effect, it would do away with Floridians’ rights to lease solar panels, since, in that situation, the owner of the panels generally sells the electricity to the homeowner. Leasing solar systems has been an effective and popular way to allow homeowners to go solar without paying for the system up front…

Amendment 1 will also face a 60 percent threshold for approval, but there is expected to be a significant media campaign encouraging people to vote yes on 1.

What? You actually believe the Trumpkin crap that the owners of mass media are all lefties and liberals. Don’t kid yourself. They believe wholeheartedly in kissing the butt of corporate advertisers.

New Mexico’s methane hot spot

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a new study…examining what caused a methane “hot spot” to form in New Mexico. This new study of methane emissions generated by the oil and gas industry in the state’s San Juan Basin is a major step forward in understanding the causes of New Mexico’s methane “hot spot.” It follows up on a 2014 satellite-based study that initially found the “hot spot” and sought to identify its specific causes.

The NASA study found that roughly 50 percent of basin-wide methane emissions come from more than 250 very large polluters that were detected by intensive NASA aerial surveys and ground crews. According to the authors, this finding confirms researchers’ earlier speculation that most of the basin’s methane emissions are related to natural gas extraction and coal mining.

But this is only half of the story as the study did not determine the source of the remaining 50 percent of emissions. Given the more than 20,000 (mainly older) gas wells, myriad storage tanks, thousands of miles of pipelines and several gas processing plants in the area, NASA’s finding that the oil and gas industry is primarily responsible for the “hot spot” is not surprising. In fact, the researchers found only one large source of methane not related to oil and gas operations: venting from the San Juan coal mine. This discovery renders attempts to point the finger at other potential emissions sources, like coal outcrops and landfills, definitively refuted.

Today’s Republicans do nothing by definition. Most of the state’s leading Democrats worry about meeting budget requirements defined almost solely by reliance on fossil fuel extraction. There is nothing approaching a Green Party and hasn’t been for 22 years.

The few activist enviro organizations fight the good fight — like the Wild Earth Guardians. There are more. Just not enough.

Only one Republican from New England may be left in Congress after the November elections


“I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president” – Senator Susan Collins

New England’s shrinking Republican delegation in Congress is moving toward the brink of political extinction in November with Donald Trump at the top of the party’s ticket…Only four Republicans remain in New England’s 33-member congressional delegation, and three are in competitive races this fall. The other, four-term Senator Susan Collins of Maine, doesn’t face re-election this year.

Republican moderates who once represented the region became a dying breed in the past few decades as the party moved to the right. Trump, with his controversies and bombastic demeanor, has complicated what was already a difficult task of getting re-elected for the region’s party members.

Losses by Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Frank Guinta, both of New Hampshire, and Representative Bruce Poliquin of Maine could leave Collins as the only member of her party in Congress from the six New England states: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts…

Democrats, even before Trump was nominated, were banking on Clinton’s coattails to help them win the Senate and make gains in House seats. Trump’s antics and cratering poll numbers have some Republicans increasingly worried about a rout in November.

Princeton’s Julian Zelizer said there’s a “cushion” of Republican congressional seats in the South to guarantee continued strong presence, even with a loss of some members. But there’s no such cushion in New England for Republican lawmakers.

The Pew Research Center says the combined House delegation of six New England states went from 15 Democrats and 10 Republicans in 1973-74 to 20 Democrats and two Republicans in 2011-2012.

The cradle of the American Revolution was also an important center for every generation’s fight against bigotry, for civil rights. Whether you were an Abolitionist, fighting for Women’s Suffrage, involved with the LGBT struggle for equal opportunity, New England could be counted on for national support.

As one of the centers for education in the nation, contempt for populism and Trump makes rote Republican politics a liability.

Milestone: July was the warmest month ever recorded — think any politicians on the payroll of Big Oil noticed?

July 2016 was the warmest month ever recorded, the latest in a slew of new temperature records set in the past several years, according to two new reports.

Scientists have recorded month after month of record-breaking temperatures this year, but July shattered all those records to become the hottest of any month in any year since record keeping began. The data was confirmed separately by NASA and the Japanese Meteorological Agency and provides near certainty that 2016 will be the hottest year in recorded history.

July was 0.78°C (1.4°F) warmer than the 20th century average, according to the JMA. Locations across the globe experienced extreme heat in July, including a so-called heat dome that hit across the U.S. and record temperatures of 54°C (129.2°F) in Kuwait…

Climate scientists attribute the spike in temperatures to man-made global warming along with a number of shorter-term climate patterns. In particular, El Niño — a phenomenon characterized by unusually high temperatures along the equatorial Pacific — drove up temperatures late last year and early this year…

Mail me a penny postcard if you heard anything from the Republican Party about this. Please include Blue Dog Democrats from coal, oil or natural gas-producing states.

TIME tried to include a cop-out at the end of the article, e.g., hopes that La Niña might make a difference. I’m on NOAA’s mailing list for weather events. La Niña is barely 50/50 at the moment to happen and the best description is for extra-normal. Whatever that might mean in your neck of the prairie.

No, the embargo on science, evidence-based reality, by conservative politicians has reached the same high as Earth’s greenhouse temperatures. The latter is a product of natural processes even when reacting to man-made causes. The former is a declaration of war on truth by lying politicians. That especially includes opportunists like Trump and his trumpkins – the usual scum who show up seeking fame and fortune from populist ignorance and stupidity.

Better off than your kids will ever be? A new look at income inequality

Poorer-than-parents

The real incomes of about two-thirds of households in 25 advanced economies were flat or fell between 2005 and 2014. Without action, this phenomenon could have corrosive economic and social consequences.

Most people growing up in advanced economies since World War II have been able to assume they will be better off than their parents. For much of the time, that assumption has proved correct: except for a brief hiatus in the 1970s, buoyant global economic and employment growth over the past 70 years saw all households experience rising incomes, both before and after taxes and transfers. As recently as between 1993 and 2005, all but 2 percent of households in 25 advanced economies saw real incomes rise.

Yet this overwhelmingly positive income trend has ended. A new McKinsey Global Institute report, Poorer than their parents? Flat or falling incomes in advanced economies, finds that between 2005 and 2014, real incomes in those same advanced economies were flat or fell for 65 to 70 percent of households, or more than 540 million people. And while government transfers and lower tax rates mitigated some of the impact, up to a quarter of all households still saw disposable income stall or fall in that decade.

These findings provide a new perspective on the growing debate in advanced economies about income inequality, which until now has largely focused on income and wealth gains going disproportionately to top earners. Our analysis details the sharp increase in the proportion of households in income groups that are simply not advancing — a phenomenon affecting people across the income distribution. And the hardest hit are young, less-educated workers, raising the spectre of a generation growing up poorer than their parents.

The important part of the analysis is that, of course, this can be changed. The disturbing part is that in many educated, industrialized Western nations we must rely upon politicians in one or another form of republican society who pay little attention to those who put them into office. They refuse to lead, they cower before the economic power of those who pay for election – and re-election – campaigns and, cowards that most are, refuse to bend to democratic reformation that might end their position as the real welfare kings and queens of society.

Limited for decades by the 2-party farce that passes for choice in many lands – not just the United States – we are brainwashed by 99% of media mouthpieces that this is the best of all possible worlds. Just look at us! We are all better off than we ever were in the history of nations. But, the groundwork is solidly in place. Choice and liberty had better be allowed to become opportunity or the next couple of decades will move populism beyond fear, racism and bigotry.

UPDATE: Here’s an interview with Richard Dobbs, this morning. Not as dynamic as the report, itself; but, you get the flavor in a careful, scholarly way.

31 leading scientific societies speak as one on climate change

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies…reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

I believe there are volunteers available to spell out the big words for Congressional know-nothings who have a problem with concepts requiring an understanding greater than a second-rate 6th-grade education.

Click through to the article to see a complete listing of organizations and brief notes from leadership.