Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Encouraging electric co-ops to resist Tri-State's hobbles.



Encouraging co-ops to look to renewables

Peter Miesler
Four Corners Free Press
July 2016 | page 20
{My previous post provides an introduction and the background for this FCFP column}


It started with an email that read: La Plate Electric Association’s board of directors is meeting on June 15 to consider a blanket waiver giving Tri-State Generation and Transmission, our power provider, the right to be the primary negotiator of ALL our renewable energy projects going forward. Given Tri-State’s reliance on coal, given how it is stonewalling affordable solar and other renewables …”

The email’s plea was simple, if you care about developing renewable energy, get informed, write the LPEA's BoD, and attend the upcoming June Board of Directors meeting at 9AM for your short opportunity to speak and share concerns.

My curiosity roused, I started ‘googling’ and reading related articles that pieced together an interesting regional story worth sharing. To understand what happened at LPEA this past month, you need to go back to the 1978 passage of PURPA (Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act) which mandated electrical co-ops such as LPEA start purchasing some of their power from renewable energy sources.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission tries hobbling LPEA's renewable energy options

I submitted a column to the Four Corners Free Press for their July issue reporting on La Plata Electric Association's board of directors considering the forfeiture of their future negotiation rights on renewable energy projects to notoriously renewable energy hostile Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

Researching that column I came upon many informative articles that I didn't have the space to credit, so I've decided to collect the better ones and share a few key quotes from each for easy reference. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
June 14. 2016
By Jessica Pace Herald staff writer
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June 15. 2016
By Jessica Pace Herald staff writer
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6/15/2016 - LPEA Statement
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June 21, 2016
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February 18, 2016
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July 10, 2015
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
April 2, 2015
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
June 19, 2009
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Considering Character References

I've come to learn that trying to push rational climate science understanding and Earth 'appreciation' dialogue with right-wing, faith-based types usually leads to a flood of misrepresentation, lies and slander towards honorable productive scientists, and for the messengers, time squandering distractions and personal insults.  

For someone like me who dares go toe to toe with the contrived politically motivated echo-chamber claims, the attacks can get downright venomous.  With angry imaginations unleashed, and genuine malice in their hearts, it get's intimidating.  Particularly considering that infrastructure destroying and life disrupting and robbing extreme extreme-weather events, and their cascading consequence, are only going to keep on increasing and putting people, their resilience and cognitive dissonance to the test.

Fearful, confused, yet with a deep seated sense of entitlement and an unrealistic self-certainty, right-wingers expect the promised land of their childhood fairytales.  While the world around them is visibly crumbing they cling to ancient tribal understanding as though nothing has been learned these past millennia.  

Lacking any fundamental Earth understanding (in fact, seeming to resent it's nature) - nor the curiosity to learn about our Earth and its biosphere, with it's many life sustaining systems and how our complex society is dependent upon their good health - seems they have none of the prerequisites for understanding what scientists are trying to explain to them about what's unfolding upon our home planet.

Such thoughts have been swimming in my head since taking on ncdave4life's first comment and dissected it over at WUWTW.  Researching his next two deception laced comments and learning more about the man, I suspect I've got another round of ugly hits heading my way.

It's gotten me thinking about what a regular joe, or pete, has to show for one's good character?  After all, integrity, respect, honor are in the living, not in the talking about.  

Then it occurred to me that, "by their deeds, they shall be known" as it happens nearly five years ago I built a little horse stable, that I'm fortunate enough to still live near, so I get to visit it on my walks with our dog that we've had about nine months.  It is certainly a reflection of my skill, caring and integrity.

My gal wanted the dog, but she's decided I'm her man.  It has been a fascinating and fun, if time consuming, adventure for me, seeing as I've never actually "owned" and bonded with a dog and all that comes with it.  All simple honest All American joys of being alive.

All in all, in anticipation of future mud slinging I'd like to take a moment to share some home videos.  First my horse stable, built with a helper for the hard two-manner stuff, but other than that, it's all my baby from planning, to purchasing materials, to building and now to occasionally taking shelter in.  No great shakes, but even small projects deserve being built with care and pride.  Then, my wild little dog.  Okay, I'm showing off here - this past winter I had zero voice command over her, we've come pretty far ;-).  Then, just for the fun of it a couple for bird fans.

Build in August/September 2011
after a whirlwind picked up half the ancient shed standing there, 
and moved it over a foot or so before slamming it back down to earth.
How's that for the hand of fate?  ; )

video

video

video
(bad math there, it's five years)

(Sorry, it's a pretty basic operation over here, I had to split up the iPhone video to download.)
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Monday, March 7, 2016

{5b} Earth's Earliest Climate - By Angela Hessler


This is Repost from my mud wrestling blog WUWTW.  It's my attempt to systematically explore and describe this Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine that sustains us all.
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I believe unfamiliarity with our planet's life story is at the root of society's inability to grasp serious climate science.  This in turn makes people frighteningly gullibility when it comes to falling for the most pathetic of con jobs that the Republican/libertarian PR Machine keep producing and broadcasting.

Listen to them deny basic Earth observations and geophysical fundamentals, or that favorite, denying the science by attacking messengers in order to ignore the scientific information.   It's like the Inhofes and Kochs and Christies and Lindzens, all them, possess a mind's eye concept of our planet with the depth of a post card.  

No appreciation whatsoever for the complexity of what we have here, or the eons of evolutionary "tinkering" that created this fantastic planet we were born into.  Nor any conception of the massive momentum that goes into our weather systems and global circulation patterns.  All they can see from within their protective bubble is resources to consume, power and money.  That their attitude is infantile and suicidal don't seem to matter.

That's why I started this project , because I wanted to share some of the learning process that's gone into building my own understanding and appreciation of evolution and in turn our climate system.  Admittedly I'm no scholar, but I sure am a student of my Earth and have some valuable information to share.  I challenge you to try and do a better job.  Please!

In this fifth installment I rely on an expert to present an excellent summation of the state of our understanding regarding the evolution of our climate system.  Ironically, after I finally finished working on condensing Dr. Angela Hessler's paper, (not an easy task for such a compactly written report), I started researching getting permission to post this, only to find the following:
TERMS OF USE - You may reproduce this material, without modifications, in print or electronic form for your personal, non-commercial purposes or for non-commercial use in an educational environment.
Well, okay if that's how it's got to be, he says with a smile, I wasn't feeling that good about my trimming anyways.  I did venture to highlight key sentences.  With no further ado, here's Dr. Angela Hessler's informed grand tour of the evolution of our climate system.
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Earth's Earliest Climate
By: Angela M. Hessler | now with the Deep Time Institute  
(Chevron Energy Technology Company) © 2011 Nature Education 

Citation: Hessler, A. M. (2011) Earth’s Earliest Climate. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):24

When we discuss climate change today, we are mostly concerned with how such change will impact our environment and our lives. We look to the past to help understand climate cycles and how our current anthropogenic changes fit into natural change. Even more, we look to the past to help us find solutions.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to understand “deep-time” climate change is in how it relates to the origin and evolution of life on Earth, and possibly beyond. Despite the stark differences between today’s world and that of the Archean, it is clear that at both times, climate has impacted — and been impacted by — life on Earth.

This paper will take you as far back in the climate record as is currently possible, to the Archean Eon, from 3.9 to 2.5 billion years ago (Bya) (Figure 1). Peering so deeply back in time, far beyond the resolution of many isotope analysis methods, we invariably lose the details about climate and atmosphere chemistry that we can achieve — for instance, analyzing 500,000 year-old gas bubbles in Antarctic ice cores. Instead, we must ask fundamental questions: What was Earth’s surface like? Was its climate hot? Was it icy? Was there a greenhouse effect? For answers, we look to three far-flung Archean terranes.

Isua in West Greenland, Barberton in South Africa, and Pilbara in Western Australia.
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Monday, February 29, 2016

{5a} The Most Beautiful Graph on Earth - A. Hessler

This is Repost from my mud wrestling blog.  It's my attempt to systematically explore and describe this Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine that sustains us all.

In my next post I will try to summarize a paper by Angela Hessler "Earth's Earliest Climate".  But I thought this graph of their's deserves it's own post.  It's pretty fascinating particularly when also considering Earth's biological history. 

Okay, I'm not positive it's the "most" beautiful graph on Earth, beauty is in the eye of the beholder - but I am sure it's a fantastic window into the physical reality of our Earth and how the pageant of time has created the biosphere we humans take oh so for granted.  Hope to be back soon.

Earth's Earliest Climate
By: Angela M. Hessler (Chevron Energy Technology Company) © 2011 Nature Education 
Currently director of the  Deep Time Institute


thin red line, that drops dramatically and then has a couple spikes = Impact rate
doted red line = Solar luminosity
dark green line = CO2 
light green line = CH4 (methane)
red line = O2
blue line = Ocean surface temperature
Two vertical bands, in the Archean = earliest sedimentary rock formation (continent building)
Dark gray vertical bands = glacial episodes

(The moon would have formed shortly after accretion ended (the white bar), early in the Hadean)
(The reign of humanity would fit within tiniest vertical sliver at the far right end of this graph)


Citation: Hessler, A. M. (2011) Earth’s Earliest Climate. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):24   
Lead Editor:  Figen Mekik

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Index:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
{1} Our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine

Saturday, January 9, 2016
{2} Co-evolution of Minerals and Life | Dr Robert Hazen

Thursday, January 14, 2016
{3} Evolution of Carbon and our biosphere - Professor Hazen focuses on the element Carbon

Saturday, January 23, 2016
{4} Evolution-Considering Deep Time and a Couple Big Breaks

Saturday, February 6, 2016
{5a} The Most Beautiful Graph on Earth - A. Hessler

Sunday, February 7, 2016
{5b} Earth's Earliest Climate - By Angela Hessler

Sunday, February 14, 2016
{6} Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere - easy version

Thursday, February 18, 2016
{7} Our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine, visualized

Friday, February 19, 2016
{8} Atmospheric Insulation Explained - appreciating our climate engine


Thursday, February 25, 2016

{4} Evolution-Considering Deep Time and a Couple Big Breaks

The poetry of evolution... we are born into a flowing river of time on a continually changing planet.  Today will never come again and tomorrow is the accumulation of all the days that came before.  

To understand the reality of what we are doing to our atmosphere and planet requires an appreciation of four and a half billion years worth of evolution happening one day at a time.  Step by step changes created this awesome biosphere most everyone seems to be taking oh so for granted these days.

To better appreciate evolution we need to understand "deep time" so I've included a couple short videos that try conveying the vast distance of time between us and then.

Very early in our Earth's life there were two key events that transformed our planet from just another conglomeration of rocks orbiting a star, to a place brimming with potential.

First there was the formation of our moon, followed by the cascading physical consequences of its extraordinary gravitational pull on Earth.  Since then, the moon has helped protect us from meteor collisions; helped stabilize the wobble of Earth's axis and our seasons.  In the early days, the near-in moon caused tremendous tidal churning, not only of the oceans, producing unimaginable waves accompanied by immense winds, but also of the Earth's crust and core itself.  

The ocean's early tidal waves hit proto continents like nothing we can image.  Back then (actual, like 90% of Earth's history) the only thing sculpting Earth was tectonics, gravity, water, wind and temperatures.  There was mountains and vast expanses of braided-stream tidal plains on growing continental shelves, that and huge endless oceans.  

Realize the early moon was very close, orbiting around a much faster spinning Earth.  With time the moon receded, all that drag slowed down Earth's orbit and the tides became increasingly toned down.

Still, imagine those early eons with intense currents and "tidal bore waves" that were dozens of meters tall, (if not hundreds, very early on), raging in and out for hundreds of miles, twice daily.  That was right here on this planet, it's an awesome thing to mull-around in your mind.  Almost like a global crushing plant in the first stages of mineral processing and refining.

Then there was the early formation of Earth's protective geomagnetic (force) field, that protects Earth from harsh Solar Wind.

Happy Learning
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Deep Time

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

{3} Evolution of Carbon and our biosphere - Professor Hazen focuses on the element Carbon


This third installment of Considering our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine series will be featuring a second Professor Robert Hazen talk.  In it he retraces the same ground as the previous lecture, but with a focus on the element carbon which turns out to be an outrageously interesting element/molecule worth spending a few moments learning about before moving on to the evolution of our atmosphere.

I believe this sort of background information will enable you to reply more effectively the next time some contrarian stooge tosses you that old standby: "The bottom line is that CO2 is at all-time lows going back five hundred million years."  Those trying to be especially sciencie, will flourish a graph looking like:


 "Ah ha, try explaining that one!"
"Today Earth is CO2 starved!"
And that's were they leave it. 
"CO2 was higher, ergo AGW is a hoax." 

End of argument, nothing else to talk about, all the while deliberately blinding themselves to the reality that atmospheric CO2 is higher than it's ever been during humanity's tenure on this planet.  

For me, it's immensely sad imagining people being satisfied with such a simpletons' one dimensional cartoon image of the physical world we come from and depend on.

The rational approach of the genuinely curious is to ask questions and try to understand what that graph is telling us.  Where did all that CO2 come from?  What was going on back then?  Why did it peak and then drop, then slightly rise again only to fade down hill again?  How does it relate to today's Earth? Where's that graph from (no citation was offered)?  What does the attached study discuss?  What's the margin of error in that data set? ect. All interesting stuff you need to know about before you begin to have any inkling of what's going on.  That's why we have experts, people who have committed themselves to full time study and reporting back to us regular folks.

Investigating those questions quickly reveals an amazing world of harmonic complexity and fascinating interconnected details most of us are unaware of.  

When it comes to Deep Time, we've discovered all sorts of fascinating facts about how important carbon was in our planet's history and the world we inhabit today.  But the amazement starts well before Earth, though I'll let Dr. Hazen explain it in his talk, "Unanswered Questions in Deep Carbon Research", which I've embedded, with time-signature notes, at the end of this introduction.

First, I want to take a moment on the original comment about extremely high CO2 levels in the past 600 million years and beyond.  There were good reasons for why those levels were so high and fluctuated the way they did and for how Earth's climate reacted.  

I invite you to consider that graph while reviewing some highlights in our biosphere's evolution.  Stuff that paved the way for the world humanity inhabits today.