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Be Green and Oppose Mining — Oops — UK scientists warn raw material output must surge to match EV growth

Greens oppose mining but demand more electric vehicles. The numbers below are just for the UK. If everyone else follows … catastrophic fail.

British climate targets alone will require the current annual global production of cobalt to double by 2050, in order to satisfy electric vehicle growth demands. A large increase in other raw materials will also be needed, according to UK scientists.

In a letter to the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on Wednesday (5 June), a team of scientists suggests that the CCC’s proposed target of net-zero emissions by 2050 will need almost all cars and vans on British roads to be electric-battery powered.

The team, which supports that goal, outlined the raw material needs and challenges that will come hand-in-hand with such an ambitious target. Current battery production requires materials like cobalt, copper and nickel.

Professor Richard Herrington of the Natural History Museum said in a statement that “there are huge implications for our natural resources not only to produce green technologies like electric cars but keep them charged”.

He and his colleagues calculated that switching all of the UK’s light vehicles to electric will require 207,900 tonnes of cobalt, 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate and over 2,300,000 tonnes of copper.

That amount of cobalt is twice the current global output, while the required amount of lithium is 75% of production and accounts for at least half of the copper output.

The calculation does not include heavy or light goods vehicles.

Full story here

Colorado Snowpack is 654% of normal

Wow. Perpetual drought predictions are not coming true.

As the days get warmer, the snowcaps in the High Country are about to shrink. An epic spring runoff is in the works after one of the best winters in recent years, and local water and emergency officials are preparing Summit County for the deluge.

Snowpack across the state is 654% of normal, according to the latest snow survey from the National Resources Conservation Service. That is 51 times larger than the state’s average snowpack at this time last year, with flooding a much bigger concern at this point than wildfire. The state of Colorado is drought-free for the first time in 20 years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Read it all here

The Dutch import story behind Britain’s no-coal record

No coal UK …. except for the coal powered electricity imported from the Netherlands. And of course the wood powered electricity from DRAW.

Between May 17-31, Britain saw its first two-week period without domestic coal-fired power stations generating electricity since the 1880s.

However, modelling carried out by energy market data analyst EnAppSys shows that power generated from coal has been imported from abroad over the same period – with the most coming from the Netherlands.

EnAppSys says that high carbon taxes in Britain were the key reason why the UK’s electricity system has run without coal for the last two weeks – and it adds that further no-coal records could be broken should these taxes remain at current levels.

These higher carbon taxes do not, however, apply in neighbouring regions and over the initial two-week period of zero coal, Britain imported 50.9 GWh of power from coal-fired plants operating abroad.

Of this power, only a relatively low share of the modelled coal-originating imports came from France and Ireland (0.1 GWh and 0.9 GWh respectively), with France seeing a high share of power from nuclear plants and with Ireland seeing high levels of wind generation over the noted period.

Instead, the largest share of the modelled total was from the Netherlands, where coal-fired power stations continue to operate at a high level of activity as a result of only paying around half the carbon taxes paid within the UK.

Read the whole story

“It wasn’t this way before,” admitted Edna Jaques in a soul-baring article in Chatelaine magazine

Perspective is lacking.

It wasn’t this way before,” admitted Edna Jaques in a soul-baring article in Chatelaine magazine in November 1937.

Image result for dustbowl saskatchewan

After nine consecutive years of unrelenting drought, the Briercrest Saskatchewan poet found herself “whipped” and “not ashamed any more” to admit it.

Severe dry spells had always been a feature of prairie settlement, appearing on average every 20 years or so.  The 1930s, however, were memorable for both the persistence and extent of the drought.

While other provinces, in particular Ontario and Quebec, were recovering from the Great Depression, Saskatchewan experienced its most far-reaching drought in 1937. Not even Prince Albert was spared.

Jaques, who was 11 when her family homesteaded in the Moose Jaw area in 1902, had never known the land to be so desolate. Drought had reduced Briercrest to “gray ashy wastes that once were fields, white alkali flats that once were blue simmering lakes.”

The story was the same across the scorched southern prairies. Some fields were so patchy that harvesting seemed a terrible joke.

Saskatchewan’s total wheat production dropped by a third during the 1930s even though wheat acreage increased by more than a million acres during the same period. In other words, more cropped land was actually producing less wheat. The 1937 wheat harvest was a paltry 2.5 bushels per acre.

Jaques scanned the heavens daily in search of the promise of rain, but it never came — only a few scattered drops. “Today the sky was almost a black blue,” she wrote in frustration. “You would think a million tons of water would be held in its inky depths, but it was only dust and wind.”

That was Jaque’s other lament. “Drought never comes alone.”

Hot, drying winds scooped up loose topsoil into dust blizzards that made outside activity nearly impossible. An estimated quarter of a million acres of Saskatchewan land was blowing out of control by the mid-1930s.

“The air was murky and thick … that made it hard to breathe,” Jaques recalled after one dust storm struck the community. “Your heart pounded against your ribs in a sickening thud.”

Darkness at noon was not uncommon, while churning dirt piled up in drifts along buildings, fence lines or ridges. The “driven soil” was a temporary visitor, Jaques observed, “nesting for a few days until another wind comes up to move it somewhere else.”

Homemakers faced a frustrating battle trying to keep the dust out of their homes, placing wet rags on window sills and hanging wet sheets over doorways. But it still managed to seep through, depositing a thick film on everything. Tables were often set with the cups and bowls upside down, a temporary response that became a lifelong habit for some.

The ever-present dust also affected people’s health. Jaques attended a town meeting where half the women were suffering from “dust fever.”

“Their faces were swollen and red and broken out,” she reported, “but they’d blow their noses in unison, in duets and trios and choruses and laugh about it.”

They all knew, though, that their brave front was a public mask — a way of consoling each other and finding comfort in the belief that next year would be better.

Behind closed doors, it was a different story. “They cry at home,” Jaques commiserated, “cry over shabby children and poor food and dead gardens.”

Kids continued to play on the street, seemingly oblivious to how Briercrest had been staggered by depression and drought. But as Jaques noted, children, especially the younger ones, had known nothing else — not even “what rain is.”

The experience was never forgotten. The spectre of drought haunted people for years to come. “We’ll pull through,” Jaques bravely affirmed.  “But we’ll never be the same again — the price of it had been too high.”

Her poetry bore the imprint of what she lived through.

Edna Jaques published over 3,000 poems during her lifetime — many noted for their unvarnished realism. Indeed, her verse found a receptive audience in newspapers and magazines in the 1930s and 1940s.

“The Farmer’s Wife in the Drought Area” was one of her more popular Depression poems: “The garden is a dreary blighted waste/The air is gritty to my taste.”

The lines may not have been elegant, but that was Jaques’ appeal.  There was nothing elegant about a dust storm.