Environment

The First Shots in the Climate Wars

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In launching their now successful protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s gas hike, the French gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) have revived their country’s reputation for rebelling against monarchial rule. It may well foreshadow a bitter, albeit largely avoidable, battle over how to address the issue of climate change.  read more »

Can “Renewables” Dent The World’s Need For Electricity?

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All 7.8 billion on this planet want affordable, scalable, reliable electricity. And for countries like the United States, China, India, most of Africa and the European Union (EU) the cheapest way to produce electrons is by burning coal. Carbon dioxide emissions are rising because the world will need more energy in the decades ahead in order to raise the living standard for the 1.3 billion people living in energy poverty according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  read more »

California Ranks #1 In Sending Dollars Abroad For Energy

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The USA is now a net exporter of crude oil, with crude oil exports exceeding imports. This oil boom is beneficial to 49 states, but not to California. The American shale boom has important security implications as well, as America is now less dependent on crude oil from the turbulent Middle East, again, except for California.

Even more impressive is the fact that the U.S. has now overtaken Saudi Arabia in recoverable oil reserves.  read more »

The Sordid History of Forest Service Fire Data

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The latest wildfire situation report indicates that about 7.3 million acres have burned to date this year. That’s about 1.2 million acres less than this same date last year, but about 1.5 million acres more than the ten-year average and a lot more than the average in the 1950s and 1960s, which was about 3.9 million acres a year.  read more »

California Must Stop Trying To Stomp Out Suburbia

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We may be celebrating — if that’s the right word — the tenth year since the onset of the financial crisis and collapse of the real estate market. Yet before breaking out the champagne, we should recognize that the hangover is not yet over, and that a new housing crisis could be right around the corner.  read more »

The Battle for Houston

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Over the last half-century, Houston has developed an alternative model of urbanism. As the New Urbanist punditry mounts an assault on both suburban growth and single-family homes, Houston has embraced a light regulatory approach that reflects market forces more than ideology. But last year’s Hurricane Harvey floods severely tested the Houston model.  read more »

California Takes The Prize For Environmental Virtue Signaling — But Not Much Else

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If there’s an award for environmental virtue signaling, California would win the prize. Yet for all the constant self-promotion, shameless grandstanding and endless moralizing, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the impact, and failures, of our current green obsessions.  read more »

Food Porn

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What’s this now? A few acres of suburban gardens? Yes. And no. It’s the mini farm adjacent to The French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley. Local. Organic. Seasonal. It’s the full expression of a particular trend in foodie culture. It’s strange to see so ordinary a thing – veggies growing in a suburban plot – elevated to near monastic tidiness. It’s illegal to grow food on the front lawn in many places these days, either by municipal regulation or private home owners association bylaws. Even where it is legal, most people simply don’t do it. Food is cheap. Gardening is a lot of work. Why bother?  read more »

Little Experiments on the Cheap

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Part of my ongoing plan to create a more resilient and adaptable life includes finding alternative ways to satisfy daily needs with simple affordable work-arounds. I want electric lights at night and I want to charge my cell phone and small devices even if the power goes out in a storm. This little $80 portable foldable solar panel does the trick. I placed my wallet next to the folded panels for scale. The package is the size of a book.  read more »

California’s Climate Extremism

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Environmental extremism increasingly dominates California. The state is making a concerted attack on energy companies in the courts; a bill is pending in the legislature to fine waiters $1,000—or jail them—if they offer people plastic straws; and UCLA issued a report describing pets as a climate threat.  read more »