Category Archives: Environment

Contaminated Fukushima Water Storage Tanks “Close To Capacity”, TEPCO Admits, by Tyler Durden

Japan is nowhere close to “containing” the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The Tokyo Electric Power Company is running out of container space to store water contaminated by tritium outside the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and it’s also running out of room for building more tanks, according to Yomiuri Shimbum, a Japanese newspaper, which is creating an intractable problem for the utility, which has been tasked with supervising the cleanup of Fukushima.

The Japanese government has been desperately trying to accelerate the cleanup ahead of the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo – and it’s a miracle it hasn’t run into this issue sooner. TEPCO is still struggling with how to dispose of the tritium-tainted water. Options discussed have included dumping it into the ocean, but that proposal has angered local fishing communities.

At some point, TEPCO and the government will need to make a difficult decision. Until then, ground water will continue to seep into the ruined reactor, where it becomes contaminated. Afterward, TEPCO can treat the contaminated water to purify it, but they can’t remove the tritium, which is why the supply of water contaminated with tritium continues to grow.

As one government official pointed out, Japan can’t simply store the radioactive water forever. As of now, the company should be able to store water until 2020.

Efforts have been made to increase storage capacity by constructing bigger tanks when the time comes for replacing the current ones. But a senior official of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said, “Operation of tanks is close to its capacity.”

TEPCO plans to secure 1.37 million tons of storage capacity by the end of 2020, but it has not yet decided on a plan for after 2021. Akira Ono, chief decommissioning officer of TEPCO, said, “It is impossible to continue to store [treated water] forever.”

To continue reading: Contaminated Fukushima Water Storage Tanks “Close To Capacity”, TEPCO Admits

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Without Help From Uncle, by Eric Peters

Would you consider a car that averages 80 MPG and retails for less than $8,000? Too bad the government won’t let you buy it. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Why don’t cars that make sense make it?

Five years ago, Paul Elio bought up a shuttered GM assembly plant In Shreveport, Louisiana with the intention of using it as home base for the manufacture of a low-cost/high-economy car – the kind of car no other car company makes anymore. Instead of $12k and maybe 40 MPG on the highway – the best you can get in a new car sold by any other manufacturer – the Elio would average at least 80 MPG and sell for less than $8,000.

Such a car makes all kinds of sense.

At a stroke, it would cut the cost of getting around by car in half – minimally. Keep in mind that the least-expensive new car being manufactured right now, the one referenced above, is the Nissan Versa. Most new cars cost significantly more. The average price paid for a new car is currently well over $30,000 – and the average new car averages a great deal less than 40 MPG, on the highway or otherwise.

It would also render many “alternative” fuel cars irrelevant; make them look even sillier as economic and functional and evenenvironmental propositions than they already do. The Elio’s “carbon footprint,” for instance, is so small it’s hardly there.

Which is why the Elio faces every kind of obstacle imaginable to preventits manufacture.

Unlike the manufacturers of those other cars, which make no sense at all – including environmentally-speaking – and so are given every artificial advantage (via government) imaginable.

Electric cars.

It is doubtful anyone would by them at a price which reflected their true cost to manufacture, absent all the manufacturing subsidies, including sweetheart deals/financing on their manufacturing facilities – such as the $1.3 billion the taxpayers of Nevada were compelled to provide the billionaire crony capitalist Elon Musk to finance the battery plant for his electric luxury-sports cars. As well as the retail ones, including not only the tax breaks dangled in front of buyers of the cars but also on the “fuel” they use – the electricity – which isn’t subject to any motor fuels taxation (for the moment) and often literally given away for free (well, at taxpayer expense) at so-called public charging stations, to further nudge the electric car into general use.

Elio enjoys no such help.

To continue reading: Without Help From Uncle

Global warming? The latest news tells a different story, by Jack Hellner

Weather stories that don’t conform to the official global warming narrative don’t receive a lot of media attention. From Jack Hellner at americanthinker.com:

Here are some articles and stories that are minimally reported, if at all, because they do not fit the agenda that humans, fossil fuels, and CO2 are causing disastrous global warming and climate change.

From the Detroit News:

April on track to be the coldest in 143 years

No, you’re not crazy. It has been the coldest April in more than 140 years.

A year ago today, on April 19, 2017, it was 78 degrees and sunny, while Thursday’s expected high is 48 degrees, said National Weather Service meteorologist Trent Frey.

As of Thursday, the average temperature for April is 38.3 degrees, slightly warmer than April 1874, the coldest on record at 37.6 degrees.

From the Chicago Tribune:

More spring snow in Chicago, and forecasters call April’s start among coldest in 130 years

The first half of April marks the second-coldest start to the month since 1881, about when the weather service started keeping records, said Mott of the weather service.

From Watts Up With That:

Some Major U.S. cities headed for coldest April in recorded history

Some major U.S. are on track to be part of a record cold April. “Some cities in the east are experiencing temperatures a full 10 to 15 degrees F colder than normal, says meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal. Those cities include Buffalo, Chicago and Detroit. Those in the northern tier of the U.S. either graciously accept winter[.]

From Kilkenny Weather:

A little ice age ended around 1850 so a little warming would be normal after that and that is all we have had, a little warming.

The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a cold period that stretched from the 16th to the mid 19th century.

To continue reading: Global warming? The latest news tells a different story

Outlook for vital Southwestern US river remains grim, by Dan Elliott

The major artery of the Southwest US, the Colorado River, is in bad shape. From Dan Elliott at yahoo.com:

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FILE – In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Lake Powell is viewed behind Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Ariz. Forecasters say this year’s outlook for the most important river in the Southwestern U.S. remains grim. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday that April storms failed to produce much snow in the mountains that feed the Colorado River, and Lake Powell is expected to get only 43 percent of the average inflow from the river. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca, File)

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DENVER (AP) — The outlook for the most important river in the Southwestern U.S. remains grim this summer after April storms failed to produce much snow in the mountains that feed the waterway, forecasters said Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the Colorado River is expected to carry only 43 percent of the average amount of water into Lake Powell, one of two huge reservoirs that store and distribute the river.

It’s the fifth-lowest forecast in 54 years.

“It’s pretty dramatic. It’s a very low runoff season,” said Greg Smith, a hydrologist with the agency.

But officials have said that Lake Powell and its companion, Lake Mead, will be high enough to avoid mandatory cutbacks for water users this year.

The Colorado River serves about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland in United States and Mexico.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah all use the river or its tributaries, along with 20 native American reservations.

The river is under increasing stress because of rising demand and declining flows. The region has been in a drought for 18 years — long enough that some researchers say it may represent a permanent shift.

Global warming is also contributing to the reduced river flows, scientists said.

Last year’s snowfall was uneven but mostly below average across the mountains that feed the Colorado.

To continue reading: Outlook for vital Southwestern US river remains grim

The Politics of Water and Peace in the Middle East, by M. Reza Behnam

Most people outside the Middle East have no idea how water shapes the politics there. This is a very good analysis of the water situation there. From M. Reza Behnam at antiwar.com:

The Middle East, oil-rich but water-poor, with about six percent of the world’s population, has only one percent of the earth’s renewable water resources. Fourteen Middle East and North African (MENA) countries are among the 33 most water-stressed in the world.

Climate change, drought and population growth have increased the demand for water in this arid region, fueling conflict and instability. Clashes over water access have aggravated an already volatile Middle East. For many MENA countries water scarcity has become a national security issue.

Middle Easterners are dependent on four main sources of water: aquifers, precipitation, rivers and desalinized sea water. The underground aquifers, however, are drying out at alarming rates. Increasingly the oil rich Persian Gulf states are depending on desalination for water security. Only Iran and Turkey have been self-sufficient in water.

Once known as the Cradle of Civilization, the fertile soil of the Middle East gave birth to agriculture. Grains thrived in the rich soil of The Fertile Crescent, “the land between the rivers” – Tigris and Euphrates. With an abundance of barley, beer brewing/production flourished in ancient cities along the Tigris-Euphrates, under the auspices of the Sumerian goddess of beer brewing, Ninkasi, circa 3900 BCE.

However, today most countries in the region are net food importers, especially grains. Aridity, drought and climate change have contributed to food insecurity and surging food prices. Water scarcity contributed to the 2011 uprisings in Egypt and Syria, and was embodied in the protestors’ rallying cry, “Food, freedom and dignity.”

Egypt, for example, imports 90 percent of its wheat from Russia. Consequently, its economy was disrupted in 2010 when wild fires and a heat wave in Russia led to a 30 percent increase in Egyptian food prices. Additionally, in 2004, the government of then President Hosni Mubarak privatized the country’s water supply – a condition mandated by the World Bank to secure loans. Revolutionary fervor intensified as the government diverted water to wealthy enclaves, while across Egypt water access became more difficult and prices doubled. Little wonder that some Egyptian commentators called the January 2011 Arab Spring a “Revolution of the Thirsty.”

To continue reading: The Politics of Water and Peace in the Middle East

Feel The Burn, by Eric Peters

Tesla’s debt-drenched saga may be coming to an end. From Eric Peters at ericpetersauto.com:

Even long cons can only run for so long.

Elon Musk’s electric car con may be on the verge – finally – of coming unglued. This week, he’ll be forced to reveal actual production numbers for the first quarter of the year which are expected to fall well short of what he promised investors – and buyers, who ponied up deposits based on those promises.

Last year, Musk breezily assured both groups that an improbable 5,000 Model 3s – Tesla’s first “mass-produced” electric car – would be rolling off the production line in Fremont, CA each week.

He’s come as close to reaching that goal as he has to sending space tourists to Mars, another promise.

Thousands of people who were promised cars last year are still waiting for cars this year.

They may still be waiting next year, given that Musk – so far – has only been able to build a relative handful of Model 3s. The backlog is giga-normous. Which means that even if he somehow manages to ramp up the production to what he promised last year, it’ll take an increase in production over that promised number just to catch up this year.

Meanwhile, the marks – whoops, buyers – wait.

And wait, again.

It’s scandalous.

If GM, say, took cash deposits from thousands of people and promsied them cars by “x” date but hadn’t delivered them by “y” (or even “z”) the abuse chorus from the press would be shrill and endless. There would be howls from the gypped, demanding their money back. But Musk gets away with serially breaking promises because what he promises jibes with the vision which the technocratic elites who control the press as well as the fanbois who practically worship him are desperate to see realized:

The electrified – and automated – future.

But what if it isn’t workable? Damn the facts! Full speed ahead!

It’s very much of a piece with Lysenkoism – the Soviet-era rejection of inconvenient facts in favor of politically correct bromides.

Wishes vs. reality.

To continue reading: Feel The Burn

Delingpole: Finally ‘Climate Change’ Gets Its Scopes Monkey Trial–and the Bad Guys Are Gonna Lose

Many climate change proponents shun challenge and open debate, which may tell you all you need to know about their postion. From James Delingpole at breitbart.com:

Judge William Alsup has laughed off suggestions that he’s currently presiding over the “global warming” equivalent of the Scopes Monkey Trial.

But like it or not this is essentially what is being played out right now in a U.S. federal court in San Francisco.

The climate alarmists have finally got their day in court against those pesky free-thinking intelligent people they call “climate deniers.”

Big mistake. The overconfident alarmists appear to have bitten off more than they can chew. They imagined that they’d fool the world into thinking that this was a case about ordinary, wronged citizens – specifically the cities of San Francisco and neighboring Oakland – taking on the evil, sea-level-raising, planet-destroying might of Big Oil.

In reality, as is becoming clearer by the day, it’s the “science” of climate change which is really on trial here. And given that the “science” of climate change is so shaky that it might as well be called “witchcraft” this is not a discussion that’s likely to end well for the shysters who are promoting it…

Background

The origins of this case lie in #Exxonknew. Its purpose is to attack the fossil fuel industry using much the same methods once employed against the tobacco industry. The plan was dreamed up in 2012 by a small group of climate activists meeting in La Jolla, California.

The cities of San Francisco and Oakland are suing five Big Oil firms – Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell – alleging that they have conspired, Big-Tobacco-style, to conceal the harm of their products. Apparently, these oil majors ought to be compelled to pay billions of dollars in compensation for the damage they have done, inter alia by causing sea levels to rise.

The Judge

Already, the plaintiffs have run into a major problem. Judge William Alsup – who by rights really ought to have been one of their guys, given that he’s a Clinton appointment who lives in California – turns out to be the real deal. As this excellent overview by Tony Thomas in Quadrant notes, he has a reputation for not just taking anybody’s word for it:

While presiding in Uber v. Waymo, for example, he asked for a tutorial on self-driving car technology. In Oracle v. Google, he taught himself some Java programming language, to help understand the case.

The very last thing the plaintiffs needed was a judge who does his homework. They needed one who would take their junk science at face value.

To continue reading: Delingpole: Finally ‘Climate Change’ Gets Its Scopes Monkey Trial–and the Bad Guys Are Gonna Lose