Climate Protest - 8 September 2018

drizzling out
Approaching the protest. It was more drizzling than actually raining, but we all prefered to keep our umbrellas up and/or our raincoats on.

Wasn't aware that we were part of a much bigger action:

Environmental activists protested Saturday in 90 countries and 800 cities across the globe and the United States against inaction on the Climate Crisis in the run-up to a major climate conference in San Francisco organized by Gov. Jerry Brown for Wednesday in the wake of Trump’s violation of the Paris Climate Accords.. The events were organized by 350.org and allies among Non-Governmental Organizations.

speaker

A year or two ago, a conservative asked me if global warming/climate change was more than just a matter of increasing carbon in the atmosphere. Ehh, sort of. Methane is also bad, but that largely arises from the same actions. For instance, when natural gas leaks, it's methane that goes up into the atmosphere. But no, atmospheric carbon is the problem. Before 1958, measurements of carbon were obtained by using trapped air bubbles in ice cores from Antactica. That record goes back 800,000 years. In 1780, the generally-agreed-upon date on which people began digging up large quantities of coal to burn in order to run factories, the Parts Per Million (PPM) of carbon in the atmosphere was around 280. Can we get by under a higher PPM of carbon? Sure. 350.org named itself that because 350 PPM is the highest safe, recommended PPM that we can go up to.  As of the day of the march, the PPM was 405.19. Way too much! 

sign

So the President presents the other side of the debate. Is there any validity to his version? Does he have a point? No. The EPA recently did a careful and comprehensive study of the issue and concluded that the 2015 Paris Climate Accord was a good deal that benefits all of humankind. The President believes that President Obama's Clean Power Plan would bankrupt the country while failing to help in not further heating up the planet. Actually, the Obama plan would cost about $3 to $5 billion while delivering around $80 billion in benefits via reduced carbon. The President prefers coal, but

Since Trump took office, the economics of coal power has gotten worse and worse, especially compared to solar and wind power — so much so that the rate of collapse of coal plants has more than doubled.

Entering subway
Heading into the subway station.

There have been quite a few wildfires this season. The number of acres burned in wildfires in the US was 7.2 million acres in 2011, In 2012, it was 8.0, in 2013, 3.9, 2014 2.7, 2015 8.4, 2016 4.7, 2017 8.0 and currently 1.8. There are a dozen states currently reporting 89 major fires. Do wildfires affect the climate? Oh, heck yeah! "In 2017, total global CO2 emissions reached 32.5 billion tons, according to the International Energy Agency."Over the past 20 years, wildfires contributed a billion tons per year." Between July and August of this year alone, the total carbon output from just California wildfires exceeded 1 million tons per day for six separate days. This year is shaping up to be the worst yet.

In the train/subway station
In the train/subway transportation center. 

The two biggest sources of atmospheric carbon are transportation and power plants, both of which contribute 34% of carbon emissions. Fortunately, most coal plants in the US are closing or schedued to be closed, but China and India are still building coal plants at an enormous pace. The US can take the lead on this and can push for the construction of wind and solar power production. Neither China nor India has any objection to using alternatives to coal or oil. They just want the electrical power and would be perfectly happy to not contribute to global warming. Everthing we don't use orselves can be used overseas. In other words, we can pour unlimited amounts of investment dollars into wind, solar and other alternatives.

inside transportation center

Big advanntage of those types of power is that the winds of Hurricane Maria that knocked out Puerto Rico's power supply mainly knocked out transmission lines. Both wind and solar power production can be done locally, meaning such lines can be eliminated. How many homes can a single wind turbine power

Proponents often express projected output as “enough to power x homes.” According to the Energy Information Agency, the average US household uses 888 kWh per month, or 10,656 kWh per year. An average 1.5-MW turbine (26.9% capacity factor) would produce the same amount of electric energy as that used by almost 332 households over a year.

Windmills frequently produce in the range of two to three megawatts today. Wind, of course, isn't always reliable, so many projects for small towns and remote areas are designed with a hybrid wind/solar system. And yes, batteries are made in the megawatt scale

gathered in the church

We then marched to a church where we packed it pretty good. 

 Plenty of alternative fuels availalbe for transportation, from trucks to buses to automobiles. Running vehicles via electricity is by far the best price option. How long does charging take?  "A typical electric car (Nissan LEAF 30kWh) takes 4 hours to charge from empty with a 7kW home charging point."  

Hybrids are significantly cheaper ove a five-year period. A 2006 piece comparing the pros and cons of hybrid to gasoline cars and concludes that the price advantages aren't really that significant unless you live in or near a city. Of course, the "green" advantages of less carbon pollution are very significant especially if one does a lot of city driving. 

panel

So how much awarenes does the Trump Administration demonstrate of the necessity of reducing atmosperic carbon? Unfortunately, the news on that front is very bad.  I mentioned methane earlier. Methane is a far more effective greenhouse gas than carbn, but there's far less of it to worry about. So the administration wants to roll back methane rules

Methane leaks are a long-standing source of concern for both environmental advocates and health experts. A byproduct of fracking, methane is released during the process of fossil fuel extraction, sometimes in ample quantities. As a greenhouse gas, methane contributes to global warming and plays a key role in climate change. Methane only represents around 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, but the gas is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

And it's not just the federal government. Should we be using the latest climate science to plan for coastal development? Guess what? North Carolina's legislature forbids that.  

The founder of 350.org recommends a twitter thread about climate change. 

holding signs up as we prepare to go on break
Folks are encourgaged to hold their signs up as they prepare to go on break. 

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