Category Archives: Energy

Political Vanguard: Why Jerry Brown’s Water Plan Isn’t Serious

California’s Problem of Long Standing is a Shock! Shock, I Tell You! to Pols in Sacramento.

Divining Rod - Photo provided by  Victoria Taft

In response, our savvy Sacramento swashbuckling legislators have now taken out their mighty divining rods, put their ears to ground, put a wet finger in the air, assessed the political climate and determined that now is the time to rip up our lawns and shorten our showers — or else.

As any 5th grader can tell you, California is comprised of eleven different types of climates which can be simplified into four basic categories: Mediterranean Dry, Look at the Trees, Why Is it So Foggy Here, and, Hella Hot. The Mojave Desert is often the hottest place in the country in the summer. We’re in year four of a drought. But, as Tom Del Beccaro points out here in Forbes, we’re still ‘enjoying’ the wettest century California has had in 7,000 years. In short, the problem is not new.

The question then becomes, what have our elected leaders done about it?

Recently, lawmakers have spent time trying to put Sea World out of business, given money in energy grants to build solar arrays that make birds explode in mid-air — pfft! — incentivized people who aren’t even citizens of California (or the country) to come and receive ‘free’ stuff taken from taxpayers, and planned to spend $68 billion on a slo-mo train to nowhere.

Apparently legislators think money grows on the trees farmers haven’t been forced to rip out in the Central Valley for lack of water.

But instead of pointing at the budget priorities of the state he leads, instead of acknowledging the actual California climate, instead of wagging a reproving forefinger at the environmentalists who have driven the natural resources agenda which diverts water to bait fish over people, Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday blamed something else:

“I can tell you, from California, climate change is not a   hoax. We’re dealing with it, and it’s damn serious.”

Gov. Jerry Brown - Photo Credit Victoria Taft

… said the man who proposed the $68 billion choo choo but killed an $11 billion water storage bill proffered by State Senate Republicans in 2014 because it would ‘break the bank’.

Cue dead pac mac music.

Jerry Brown wants you to believe the cyclical California drought is new-and-worse-than-ever-and-how could he possibly have known? 

Let’s go to the tote board where a cursory check of expenditures yields these figures used for water programs in just the last few years:

2006: $660 million (flood diversion)

2014: $870 million

2014: (voters) $7.5 billion (only $2.7b of which would be used for water storage)

2015:  $20 mil from Feds to farmers

2015: $1billion (including for food baskets for workers in the Central Valley who have lost their jobs due to environmentalists succeeding in diverting water it for the restoration of the ‘delta smelt’ and ruining farms.)

People rightly wonder why the expended billions have not resulted in new reservoirs and desalination plants either started or in the pipeline. That’s because water for people, while a basic function of government, has been taken for granted.

Conservationists have done magnificent things to improve air and water quality in California, but as environmental advocacy has turned into Big Green, they’ve also stood in the way of getting water to people. Under environmental law, individuals have standing to bring lawsuits against anything. The environmental review process takes years to navigate and lawsuits add time and expense. The private desalination plant in Carlsbad was subjected to 14 lawsuits, for example. At long last, notwithstanding attempts to kill it by environmentalists, the plant is coming on-line in the fall — just in time to deliver more water to people.

Environmentalists have overseen the removal of 12 dams in the state from through 2014 in an attempt to return rivers back to their wild state, but that also potentially means less water for people.

Government inertia is also responsible for lack of water. While Governor Brown promises he’ll fast-track water projects this time under his executive order, his administration still hasn’t put in motion half the projects from Emergency Drought Relief passed by the legislature last year.

California also loses 10% of its water from leaky pipes, according to state figures. Last week, 82,000 gallons of water spilled from Santa Clarita after a series of earthquakes. Last July, a water main break near UCLA sent 20 million gallons down the drains along Sunset Boulevard.

Conserving water is the right thing to do, of course. I’ve lived in California on-and-off since the 1980’s and conservation efforts have been a part of the message from water departments since then, if not before. This is California, after all.

Short showers, turning off the water while I brush my teeth, re-using dog water to water plants, low flow everything are just part of life for me. I took those habits with me when I moved back to Oregon, where water is plentiful.

But I have a solution to ease the pain for citizens subjected to Brown’s deputizing of the water police to go after lawn waterers, car washers and people with green lawns.  While Brown is ripping up the earth to put in the slo-mo train to nowhere, he can count it against the 50 million square feet of lawns he demanded be ripped out to conserve water.

That’s something at least.


Greenpeace demands windmill powered internet; targets Amazon* for failing to kiss ring

 “[B]uilding an internet that runs on renewable sources of energy…”internet energy1

If you wanted to, you could supply your entire life shopping on the web without using even one gallon of gas in your car. You could go on any search engine right now and secure a house, car, Bible, medicine, fine work of art, pet, information, chemical formula, book, water, musical instrument, movie, vacation,  groceries, car parts, phones, clothes–practically anything–on the web. 

It’s nearly impossible to calculate how many millions of productive hours have been saved because of shopping on the internet (although you might find that on the web, too). Hours spent in your car or on transit have been saved because instead of heading to a store you let your fingers do the driving or walking. Millions or billions of gallons of gas haven’t been burned and therefore have been saved because you didn’t hop in your car and go to the store!

You’d think the enviros would be doing back flips over this! Ah, success! But except for Al Gore “inventing” the internet (yes, he said it), the greens have had little to do with all the savings from this miraculous time saving invention. And that’s no fun unless you’re the one dictating terms.  If you want to be on the greens’ good side, you’d better strive for their latest made-up goal. Or else. 

The group with the word peace in their name has declared war on tech companies for using too many fossil fuels to power their servers. The enviros have now thrown down: do it our way or we’ll issue a “report” and ruin you.

The report has been now been issued. Late last week Clicking Green: How Companies are Creating the Green Internet was released. Amazon Web Services and Twitter were given bad grades for tsk, tsk, using too many fossil fuels to run their servers. Or at least that’s would they like you to believe. In fact, Amazon was given the grade of F* for not kissing the ring of the green mafia,

Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides the infrastructure for a significant part of the internet, remains among the dirtiest and least transparent companies in the sector, far behind its major competitors, with zero reporting of its energy or environmental footprint to any source or stakeholder. [emphasis mine]

Translation: Amazon didn’t bend over for a wallet biopsy so Greenpeace is greenmailing them.

Worse, Greenpeace actually accuses Amazon of –wait for it–saving money. Shaking its balled fist of righteousness toward the heavens, Greenpeace looks upward to The Cloud and demands an answer of the Goddess Gaia: ‘Why? Why?

Those companies, most notably Amazon Web Services, are choosing how to power their infrastructure based solely on lowest electricity prices, without consideration to the impact their growing electricity footprints have on human health or the environment. [emphasis mine]

Amazon has shopped for energy based on low prices. It won’t be long before enviros label Amazon the online analog of –gasp!–Walmart (see Satan)For the moment they’ll settle for calling Amazon dirty,

Other internet companies have refused to pay even lip  service to sustainability, and are simply buying dirty energy straight from the grid.

Greenpeace really does want the internet run by the weather: wind and sun. They’ve even let water out of the doghouse, now calling it a clean energy! This will come as a grand surprise to Northwest enviros who have Lumi sticked politicos who dare call hydro-power sustainable. Environmentalists, and the politicians who pant at their sides (see Democrats), contend because water runs through turbines and sometimes kill salmon (see green religious iconography including St. Salmon) it’s not really ‘green’ or sustainable. But now Greenpeace proclaims rain is now sustainable in the Pacific Northwest. This is really going to screw up their heads.

All of this sustainability talk is to stop Man Made Global Warming now known as Climate Change –the name change being required to hide their botched predictions about the end of the world that Global Cooling has caused,

We witness on a daily basis evidence that the foundation of our offline world, our planet, is out of balance as a result of climate change and other threats caused by our reliance on dirty sources of energy. 

Amazon isn’t sufficiently listening to the Global Warmists and, as a result, Greenpeace calls them bitter clingers,

The scientific community is issuing warnings, increasingly dire in nature, that our continued reliance on the energy technologies of the past is putting our future in grave danger. We need to shift at internet-like speed to a world powered by renewable sources of energy, disrupting the status quo to which electric utilities and other fossil fuel providers are desperately clinging. 

Internet frackIn its report, Greenpeace touts companies that have said they’ll someday run 100% of their servers on wind and solar power. Look for higher prices from Apple, Box, Facebook, Google, Rackspace and Salesforce. Those companies have paid their green indulgences and now have been absolved of their possible sins against the climate. For now.

You may be wondering where fracking enters the fray. It doesn’t. Greenpeace measures the cost of every fossil fuel in terms of taking away investment in their beloved solar and wind technologies and demands the web giants not “frack the internet.”

While the increasing supply of natural gas due to fracking has helped to shut down a number of coal plants, shale gas [fracking] also diverts investment away from renewable energy. The GHG footprint of shale gas may be significantly greater than for conventional gas, with some life-cycle analyses showing shale gas to have a GHG  footprint that is higher than even coal, due to fugitive methane emissions that are leaked during gas extraction and transportation. [emphasis mine]

Fugitive emissions? File those under dirty energy, clingers, Walmart and now Amazon. Greenpeace has declared war.