Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Biden regime obstructs huge copper mine

Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP’s plan to build an enormous new copper mine in Arizona has faced a setback after the United States government reversed a decision to allow a necessary land swap.

On Tuesday morning, the US Forest Service rescinded its publication of an environmental impact study that cleared the way for the transfer of a 980-hectare parcel of land at Oak Flat, Arizona, to the miners’ Resolution Copper joint venture.

Resolution, which is 55 per cent owned by Rio Tinto and 45 per cent owned by rival BHP, said it was evaluating the Forest Service’s decision.

“In the meantime, we will continue to engage in the process determined by the US government and are committed to ongoing consultation with Native American Tribes and local communities,” it said in a statement.

Resolution Copper says its proposed underground copper mine has the potential to supply nearly 25 per cent of US copper demand for 40 years.

But the project is being fought by the San Carlos Apache tribe, which fears the mine will impact sacred and actively utilised religious land at Oak Flat, known as Chi’chil Bildagoteel.

The San Carlos Apache Tribe, which has 17,000 members, is one of 11 Native American tribes with land within or near the land exchange, including the Oak Flat camp ground, Apache Leap,

After receiving “significant input” from stakeholders and the wider public, the US Department of Agriculture said it had directed the Forest Service to withdraw the earlier decision and conduct a “thorough review”.

“The [department] has concluded that additional time is necessary to fully understand concerns raised by Tribes and the public and the project’s impacts to these important resources and ensure the agency’s compliance with federal law,” it said.

Under the US National Environmental Protection Act, consultations with Native American groups to date concerning the area’s historical, cultural and religious significance have been the responsibility of the US Forest Service, not Resolution Copper.


Is an electric car better for the planet?

Only under optimistic assumptions. So why bother?

Which is better for Earth: an electric or gas-powered vehicle? The answer to this question might seem blindingly obvious: Of course electric cars must be better for the environment, because they don’t have exhausts and so don’t emit greenhouse gasses as they drive. However, electric vehicles (EVs) aren't perfect, and they come with their own set of polluting problems. Notably, their batteries contain components, such as lithium, that require a significant amount of energy to source and extract.

But battery production is just one part of an electric car's life span. A 2014 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at the entire life cycle of an EV's emissions, from mining the metals required for the batteries to producing the electricity needed to power them, and then compared this with the average emissions of a gas-powered vehicle. The team found that when electric vehicles are charged with coal-powered electricity, they’re actually worse for the environment than conventional gasoline cars.

In much of the world, however, national grids are now clean enough for EVs to beat their gasoline-powered counterparts when it comes to pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions during their lifetimes.

"Only when connected to the dirtiest, coal-heavy electric grids do gasoline internal combustion engines become comparable to EVs on a greenhouse gas basis," said Colin Sheppard, a researcher with expertise in energy and transportation systems engineering at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

There are very few places where electric grids are still supplied entirely or mainly by coal. China is one of them; in 2019 it was estimated that 58% of the country’s power supply came from coal and it’s likely that some parts of China are still entirely supplied by coal. However, China’s grid is improving with more investments in renewables – for example, it has twice the wind energy capacity as the U.S. and it builds more solar panels per year than any other countries, according to Nature magazine.

This pattern of improvement — more renewable energies and fewer fossil fuels — is a global one and it helps to boost the environmental credentials of electric vehicles, said Gordon Bauer, an electric vehicle researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation in San Francisco. "As grids become greener during the lifetime of an electric vehicle, it's only going to get better."

In a study published this month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, Sheppard modeled a hypothetical future scenario in which all cars were electric. "We wanted to understand what the energy, infrastructure and emissions implications might be if all passenger vehicles are electrified," Sheppard told Live Science. Bauer also collaborated with Sheppard on the project. Their findings come out strongly in favor of an electric vehicle future.

For example, Sheppard calculated that if all privately owned vehicles in the U.S. were electric, it would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the country by 46% annually (0.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide) compared with conventionally gas-powered cars. This reduction could be increased even further if those vehicles were subject to so-called "controlled charging," a technique also known as "smart charging," in which vehicles are recharged at strategically chosen times to minimize the financial cost of generating electricity. (For instance, charging at night is often less pricey than during the day; this strategy also favors more efficient energy-producing plants that produce cheaper electricity.) If all privately owned electric cars were charged in such a way, the emissions savings could rise to 49% annually.

These estimates are based on what Sheppard admits is an "ambitious" imagining of the U.S.'s future energy portfolio. This future envisions a country with a lot more renewable energy, but which still hasn't reached the goal of zero carbon, or having a national grid that doesn't contribute to climate change, he said. There is a considerable amount of political will and practical change that needs to happen to make this scenario possible, but it’s still helpful to map out the full theoretical potential electric vehicles under these circumstances.

In short, it's far easier to argue in favor of buying an EV than a gas- or diesel-powered vehicle from an environmental perspective. But what about cost? Aren't electric vehicles too expensive for most people to afford?

A 2020 report from the consumer rights group, Consumer Reports, suggests this is also changing. The paper estimated that the per-mile repair and maintenance costs over the lifetime of an EV is a little less than half that of traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines. This is largely because electric motors have just one moving part, compared to traditional engines which often have dozens. This means fewer components need to be replaced in an EV, resulting in significant savings albeit not at the point of sale.

"It may sound radical right now, but by the time 2030 rolls around, I think the problem will be about how quickly manufacturers can make them," Bauer said.

In a recent U.S.-wide analysis carried out by Bauer, he concluded that the high rate of depreciation for new electric vehicles will lead to larger benefits for lower-income households that are more likely to buy used cars. This, along with other factors driving price reductions, such as technological innovations and increased supplier competition, will mean that an EV should cost the same as a conventional gasoline-powered car for almost all income levels by approximately 2029, Bauer found. Furthermore, Bauer calculated that by 2030, low-income households in the U.S. stand to save $1,000 per year from fuel savings if they were to switch to an EV.


Why Greenies and the Liberal Media Don't Want You to Read About Canada Amid Texas' Deep Freeze

As Texas has plunged into a deep freeze due to widespread power outages after a historic and brutal winter storm, maybe we should look to Canada regarding how they keep their power grids running amid frigid conditions. It’s not what you think. It actually proves our point about energy production, which is why the liberal media and the environmental Left probably don’t want you to read this thread about Alberta, Canada.

How are they able to keep the lights on? It’s simple: coal and gas. The two sectors the Left wants to ax from our production capacity. I’ve seen all the so-called fact checks. Wind power isn’t why Texas lost power. Renewable energy isn’t the reason, except that it is. Sorry, the facts are the facts. This push for heavily subsidized wind energy that’s wholly unreliable is what caused the blackouts. The turbines did freeze up. and the wind was responsible for over 40 percent of Texas’ energy. In short, the California model is a good foundational policy to give your residents unreliable energy. The Wall Street Journal torched this green energy push, aptly noting that this policy has put more people in danger than so-called global climate change.

“Wind’s share has tripled to about 25% since 2010 and accounted for 42% of power last week before the freeze set in. About half of Texans rely on electric pumps for heating, which liberals want to mandate everywhere,” they wrote. “But the pumps use a lot of power in frigid weather. So while wind turbines were freezing, demand for power was surging.”

Alex Epstein had a good thread about how Alberta keeps the power running, noting that its grid is run on 43 percent coal and 49 percent gas.

“The media want you to believe that TX's failure to handle spiking demand during cold temps proves that a fossil-fueled grid can't handle such a challenge,” Epstein wrote on Twitter. “They don't want you to know about Alberta, CA--where a fossil-fueled grid handled a far bigger challenge with relative ease.”

Alberta also endured a record-high energy demand. The province managed because they invested in fossil fuels and not wind, which Epstein noted is “unreliable.” And both Texas and Alberta work on isolated grids. This is a very fixable issue.

“Alberta proves with 100% certainty that coal and gas plants can easily run in far more adverse conditions than Texas had. That's why the anti-fossil fuel media do not want you to know the story of Alberta,” he added.

Nothing will beat fossil fuels in terms of efficiency and reliability. It works. What doesn’t work are these so-called alternatives that conk out when some snow hits.


Global warming could plunge Europe into a deep freeze (??)

The Atlantic Ocean current that drives the Gulf Stream is at its weakest for more than 1,000 years - and human-induced climate change is to blame.

Known formally as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), it is the driving force which brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico up to the UK and is responsible for mild winters in Western Europe.

Scientists determined that in 2015 it to had slowed by at least 15 percent since 1950, but the latest work paints a picture of how it will develop long term.

Experts warn that by 2100 the AMOC could weaken by as much as 45 per cent, bringing humanity dangerously close to a 'tipping point', resulting in devastating weather conditions across the world.

Western Europe would face colder winters, while droughts, storms and heatwaves will become more common. Sea levels would rise along the eastern US coast, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The AMOC was key to the plot of the 2004 film 'The Day After Tomorrow,' which depicted the current coming to an abrupt stop and triggering catastrophic storms worldwide.

Although the movie is deemed science fiction, the study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute, Ireland's Maynooth University and University College London suggests it could become a reality if greenhouse emissions are not curbed.

Study author Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research PIK said: 'The Gulf Stream System works like a giant conveyor belt, carrying warm surface water from the equator up north, and sending cold, low-salinity deep water back down south.

'It moves nearly 20 million cubic metres of water per second, almost a hundred times the Amazon flow.

Professor Rahmstorf added: 'If we continue to drive global warming, the Gulf Stream System will weaken further - by 34 to 45 percent by 2100 according to the latest generation of climate models.

'This could bring us dangerously close to the tipping point at which the flow becomes unstable.'

His colleague Levke Caesar explained: 'The northward surface flow of the AMOC leads to a deflection of water masses to the right, away from the US east coast.

'This is due to Earth's rotation that diverts moving objects such as currents to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.

'As the current slows down, this effect weakens and more water can pile up at the US east coast, leading to an enhanced sea level rise.'

Direct data from the AMOC is hard to obtain so researchers collected information from a variety of proxy sources dating back around 1,600 years.

It backs up previous findings from the same team which found in 2018 that the ocean current has slowed by 15 per cent since the mid-20th century.

'In 20 to 30 years it is likely to weaken further, and that will inevitably influence our weather, so we would see an increase in storms and heatwaves in Europe, and sea level rises on the east coast of the US,' Professor Rahmstorf said.

The new study puts this figure into stark perspective by comparing its meandering pace with that of the last millennium and a half.

Until the 1800s, it was relatively stable but the current declined after the so-called 'Little Ice Age' ended in 1850.

Temperatures dropped low enough that the River Thames completely froze over and records show Londoners crossing the waterway on foot.

The last total shutdown of the AMOC is believed to have occurred at the end of the last proper Ice Age around 12,000 years ago, where temperatures in western Europe plummeted by up to 10°C.

This was likely not due to human impact as the Industrial Revolution had yet to reach full tilt.

But by the 1950s the AMOC had slowed severely as huge amounts of pollution disrupted its formation.

Increased rainfall and enhanced melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet caused by global warming add fresh water to the ocean which reduces the salinity and density of the water.

This subsequently prevents the warm water which has travelled north from sinking as it cools and this breaks the convection cycle, ultimately weakening the flow of the AMOC.


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