Moving Beyond the Original Industrial Age, Britain Goes a Day Without Coal-Generated Electricity


Oli Scarff/Agence France-Presse

❝ Last Friday was the first full day since the height of the Industrial Revolution that Britain did not burn coal to generate electricity, a development that officials and climate change activists celebrated as a watershed moment.

The accomplishment became official just before 11 p.m., when the 24-hour period ended…

❝ For many living in the mining towns up and down the country, it was not just the backbone of the economy but a way of life. But the industry has been in decline for some time. The last deep coal mine closed in December 2015, though open cast mining has continued.

❝ Coal-fired power generation contributes heavily to climate change; burning coal produces twice as much carbon dioxide as burning natural gas. Reducing the world’s reliance on coal and increasing the use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power have long been part of proposals to prevent the worst consequences of climate change.

Now on a path to phase out coal-fired power generation altogether by 2025, Britain, also the home of the first steam engine, is currently closing coal plants and stepping up generation from cleaner natural gas and renewables, like wind and solar.

Some countries have already left coal behind in power generation. In Switzerland, Belgium and Norway, “every day is a coal-free day,” Carlos Fernández Alvarez, a coal analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris, pointed out.

❝ In the United States, where coal still accounts for about 30 percent of power generation, Vermont and Idaho are the only coal-free states, and California is close behind…

❝ Meanwhile, in the London Museum of Water & Steam, which has a heritage collection of coal-fired steam engines and railway engines, the operations manager, Edward Fagan, was planning for a future exhibition.

“Coal-fired power generation is very fast becoming a heritage item,” Mr. Fagan said. “One day we’ll have to add a power station to our collection.”

We can contribute wax replicas of the Koch Bros – exemplars of corporate barons trying to stop time, halt progress, save their death-filled fortunes. Oh, perhaps one of their pimps like Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell.

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The Electric-Car Boom Is So Real One Global Oil Company Says Oil Consumption Will Peak In The 2030s

❝ Electric cars are coming fast — and that’s not just the opinion of carmakers anymore. Total SA, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is now saying EVs may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade.

❝ The surge in battery powered vehicles will cause demand for oil-based fuels to peak in the 2030s, Total Chief Energy Economist Joel Couse said at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s conference in New York on Tuesday. EVs will make up 15 percent to 30 percent of new vehicles by 2030, after which fuel “demand will flatten out,” Couse said. “Maybe even decline.”

Couse’s projection for electric cars is the highest yet by a major oil company and exceeds BNEF’s own forecast, said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance…

❝ Electric cars are beginning to compete with gasoline models on both price and performance. The most expensive part of an electric car is the battery, which can make up half the total cost, according to BNEF. The first electric cars to be competitive on price have been in the luxury class, led by Tesla Inc.’s Model S, which is now the best-selling large luxury car in the U.S.

But battery prices are dropping by about 20 percent a year, and automakers have been spending billions to electrify their fleets. Volkswagen AG is targeting 25 percent of its sales to be electric by 2025. Toyota Motor Corp. plans to phase out fossil fuels altogether by 2050.

Not so incidentally, Total SA is the seventh largest oil company in the world. Of course, none of this means anything to the dork in the White House or Congressional Republicans. They will continue pimping for Big Oil until the last fossil fuel dollar drips into their bank accounts.

Trump fires Surgeon General – who will be permanent replacement?


Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was fired on Friday

❝ Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, an Obama administration holdover, was asked to resign by the Trump administration on Friday. He was replaced by his deputy, Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, one of the first nurses to serve as surgeon general.

Admiral Trent-Adams will for now be in an acting role. As of Friday evening, she had already replaced Dr. Murthy on the surgeon general’s Twitter account, and her portrait had replaced his on the agency’s Facebook page. One of the first comments on that post asked, “Where is Dr. Murthy?”…

❝ Alleigh Marré, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an emailed statement on Friday that he was asked to step down “after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump administration.” Ms. Marré said Dr. Murthy would continue to serve as a member of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service.

Dr. Murthy’s wife, Alice Chen, said…her husband had refused to resign and was fired

❝ Surgeons general have little staff or power but generally use their positions to call attention to important public health priorities.

Dr. Murthy has for years made headlines for calling gun violence a public health threat. In 2014, the National Rifle Association urged the Senate not to confirm him.

Who will our so-called president name as permanent replacement?


The leading candidate is an NRA member

How Much Are We To Spend For Trump’s Wall — Instead Of Schools, Healthcare, Safe Water?


David McNew/Getty Images

❝ During the campaign, President Donald Trump promised to build a wall across the southern border some 1,000 miles long. The number of miles the president currently has money for: seven.

United States Customs and Border Protection officials delivered the startling news…at a conference in San Antonio for businesses eager to win contracts for beefing up security along the border.

❝ Although estimates to build the wall soar past $20 billion, the agency has so far managed to scrape together only about $20 million, according to its top contracting official. The rest of the cash will have to come from Congress, which so far has proven reluctant to foot the bill.

That amount of cash would not go very far to build a real wall — existing fence along the border costs roughly $2.8 million per mile.

Instead, the agency plans to spend the money on eight model walls, planning, engineering, and early-stage land acquisition…

So, the money will either come out of taxpayers’ pockets directly – or the usual way favored by Congressional conservatives, e.g. rip it from budgets already dedicated to education, healthcare, etc. You know. Stuff that benefits ordinary people. Not corporate elites.

❝ The contracts for the prototype walls — some made of concrete, some made of other materials, all to be “aesthetically pleasing” per Trump’s wishes for a beautiful wall — will be announced later this summer…

Like most of everything Trump owes obedient voters, True Believers in our nation unwinding time back to some 19th Century myth – it ain’t going to happen. It will cost exponentially more than promised. It will take money stolen from healthcare, decent roads, education, a poison-free environment. Nothing the Republican Party has cared about in decades. Everything this generation and those to follow will require if America is to keep from falling backwards compared to the rest of the developed and developing world.

Trumpy flunky says replacing coal-based energy with renewables and natgas threatens grid stability


Cathy

❝ Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered a review of electricity markets and reliability late last week, saying that “certain policies” have hindered the development and use of baseload energy sources like coal. Although Perry never mentions renewable energy explicitly in his letter, he references “significant changes within the electrical system.” That seems to be a direct allusion to the record amount of renewable capacity that has been added to the grid in recent years.

❝ The Obama administration had supported initiatives to increase renewable energy on the US grid given the urgency of climate change and with a mind to mitigate the health problems that come with pollution related to coal burning and mining. Although wind and solar power are intermittent resources…government agencies including the DOE have funded research to improve renewable energy efficiency and energy storage. The idea has been that adding renewable energy to the grid makes it more resilient, because power generation doesn’t rely on shipments of natural gas, coal, or oil. It also decreases the grid’s reliance on large fossil fuel-burning facilities and allows more distributed energy generation.

The Trump administration, on the other hand…lies about climate change science, with the president even falsely claiming that climate change is a hoax made up by China. In March, the president killed the Clean Power Plan and ordered agencies to ignore climate change. Perry, too, spent most of his early career rejecting climate change science, but during his January Senate confirmation hearing the former Texas governor said he now accepts science showing that the Earth is warming…

❝ Of course, Perry’s history isn’t purely boosting fossil fuels. He also led a massive expansion of renewable wind power during his time as governor of Texas. But the Trump administration that Perry works for has promised to bring back coal jobs, something that industry analysts and even coal industry executives have been skeptical of due to the fact that coal’s struggles stem from competition with the low price of natural gas…

❝ Perry said that the results of the review would help to establish policies from the Trump administration, with a focus on “reliability, resiliency, affordability, and fuel assurance.”

Believe that one and you deserve the long-term increase in your energy bill…and the shortened lifespan you’re gifting your children and grandkids.