Saturday, November 28, 2015

'Carbon Fee and Dividend' to mediate Human Caused Climate Change

Dr. James Hansen and others have advocated since 2008 for a "Carbon Fee and  Dividend" as a viable way to mediate human caused climate change. In my opinion Americans and global citizens should be made more aware of this concept, that it should be discussed widely and implemented as soon as possible.

Photo above by honoring Dr. Hansen for his leadership.

Dr. Hanson is writing a two part essay on this topic November 28 and 29, 2015, just before the Climate Talks in Paris starting December 1.  Here is a link to the first one on November 28.

"...fossil fuels appear cheapest to the consumer only because they do not incorporate their costs to society, including the effects of air pollution, water pollution and climate change. Economies are more efficient if energy prices are honest, including external costs in the price."

"A consequence of this fundamental truth is that climate change can be addressed at no net cost, indeed with economic gain, provided that true costs are added into the price gradually. A simple transparent way to do this is to collect an across-the-board (oil, gas, coal) carbon fee at domestic mines and ports of entry."

"If the funds collected are given in equal amount to all legal residents, the fee is revenue neutral and spurs the economy. This is a conservative approach, because it allows the market to assist change and it does not provide a dime to make government bigger."

Another article By Dr. Hansen provides a shorter summary on this topic titled:  "Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative of a Carbon Fee and Dividend"

"This chapter discusses the importance of a carbon fee and dividend in minimizing the impacts of climate change on humanity and nature. Before outlining the policies needed to produce a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel emissions, it enumerates the fundamental flaws of the Kyoto Protocol from the standpoint of climate science... Specifically, it proposes a flat (across-the-board) rising fee (tax) on carbon emissions. It also explains how such an approach may be implemented both nationally and internationally."

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Internet Provides Networked Scientific Research Publishing.

I have been impressed by the Scientific Method for many years and now watch the Internet for information about scientific studies that are reputable, repeatable and peer reviewed.

This is an interesting article by Oliver Dumon with the title "

How the Internet Changed Science Research and Academic Publishing, Creating the New Research Economy

Dumon notes that "A more significant advancement in the past five years has been the emergence of "networked science" -- the concept that scientific content cannot, and should not, exist in a vacuum. Articles by different authors are now linked to banks of data sets, reference books, videos, presentations and audio tracks. Scientists and engineers representing a wide variety of cross-disciplines can debate research findings in online forums, and society will ultimately benefit from the resulting scientific discourse that will open up limitless new avenues for search and discovery."

Clearly transparency of data and fact checking is important, as some people try to negate important scientific evidence with studies that are not reputable, repeatable and peer reviewed.

Many important ecosystem issues I am deeply concerned about are subject to this negativistic effort to downgrade repeatable scientific evidence.  Human caused global warming is one example and there are many others.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How important is it for citizens to know "What Science Is -- and How and Why It Works."

My final paper for my Master's Degree at Idaho State University contained an examination of a historical survey of "Operationism" and I found a definition as follows:

"Only those propositions based upon operations which are public and repeatable are admitted to the body of science." (Stevens, Theories in Contemporary Psychology, op.cit., p. 74.)

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a contemporary scientist, educator and entertainer reminds us of "What Science Is --and How and Why It Works" in this recent article in the Huffington Post.  The first sentence is " If you cherry-pick scientific truths to serve cultural, economic, religious or political objectives, you undermine the foundations of an informed democracy."

He notes that the scientific "approach to knowing did not take root until early in the 17th century when the astronomer Galileo and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon agreed: conduct experiments to test your hypothesis and allocate your confidence in proportion to the strength of your evidence. Since then, we would further learn not to claim knowledge of a newly discovered truth until multiple researchers, and ultimately the majority of researchers, obtain results consistent with one another."

And he ends the article identifying respected scientific agencies like NASA, NIST, DOE, and NOAA that we all depend on for reputable non-biased information in our contemporary world.  "These centers of research, as well as other trusted sources of published science, can empower politicians in ways that lead to enlightened and informed governance. But this won't happen until the people in charge, and the people who vote for them, come to understand how and why science works.

I found the following graphic on a 6th Grade Science Course in Greeley Colorado

Yellowstone Park Bison are culled to prevent them from following historic winter migration

I read an article on that "Yellowstone Park Proposes Cull of 1,000 Bison This Winter.

As in past years bison killed to prevent them from trespassing on traditional migration lands north of Yellowstone.  The report noted that "last year, park officials planned to kill up to 900 animals and actually removed 737.

This past summer I attended the Speak for Wolves meeting in West Yellowstone where the Buffalo Field Campaign presented graphic visual information about the continued hazing and senseless slaughter of wild bison in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Watch the video they produced below titled "Ten Miles of Hell"

Saturday, November 21, 2015

In early November, 2015 I read  "Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism" by  Chris Hedges in Common Dreams.

"Sheldon Wolin, our most important contemporary political theorist, died Oct. 21 at the age of 93. In his books “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” and “Politics and Vision,” a massive survey of Western political thought that his former student Cornel West calls “magisterial,” Wolin lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls “inverted totalitarianism.”

 People in the comments section of the article point to historical issues related to this topic.

A portion of student debt accumulates when a University mandates an athletic fee.

Today there is an interesting article by the Huffington Post and the Chronicle of Higher Education about "The Student Sports Scam."  A part of a student's debt can accumulate when Public Universities mandate an athletic fee, even if the student does not attend games.  The "scorecard" on this site posts some detailed information about how athletic departments are subsidized across the US and in Idaho, including Boise State.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Do you agree with Bernie Sanders view of Democratic Socialism?

In the nearby Nextdoor neighborhood network where I live there are now over 1600 members. When anything political gets posted some people want to stop the conversation. I just posted a "POLL" that attempts to get open minded people to read Bernie Sanders remarks, and answer simple poll questions without getting into flaming personal remarks to people's answers. Below is the notice I posted on Nextdoor for our nearby neighborhoods in Boise.
Do you agree with Bernie Sanders view of Democratic Socialism?
A summary of Bernie Sander's speech yesterday, November 19, 2015, provides the 12 Best Reasons for being a Democratic Socialist. This summary was provided by Steven Rosenfield/Alternet.…/bernie-sanders-12-best-reasons-be…
I am posting this as a poll with simple "yes" " no" or "undecided" answers hoping open minded neighbors will read the two articles linked here and eventually make their own choices for the next presidential election but not get into a flaming political discussion here on the Nextdoor neighborhood network. 
Below is a link directly to Bernie Sanders remarks on Democratic Socialism in the United States.…/
Sanders stands beside the New Deal, Great Society and civil rights movement.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pulp Fiction - Burning wood to replace coal is carbon neutral

This 3 Part Oct. 20, 2015 report by John Upton, in explains the current practice of subsidizing wood burning, as if it is carbon neutral - i.e., releases no carbon dioxide -  to replace coal burning for energy production.

Included are these three interactive 360 degree panoramas of the Drax Power Station - Western Europe's largest coal-power plant that is transitioning to wood-power and is big and powerful as many nuclear stations.

Part 2 of this report is titled "The American Trees That Are Electrifying Europe"

Part 2 also includes two interactive panoramas of the Enviva Pellet Mill near Franklin, Va.

Part 3 of the report is titled "Wood Burning May Play Big Role in EPA's New Rules" Included is an examination of the State of Oregon's debate about this issue.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Draft Boise River Enhancement Plan / Article and Online site

Katy Flanagan and I (Mountain Visions) created the on On Line / All the Time community communication networking site for this project in 2012 and the expectations are that the networking will continue into the future.

Boise Weekly published an new article about the Draft Boise River Enhancement Plan being developed by the Boise River Enhancement Network.

The Boise River Enhancement Network (BREN) is online and provides a public record of events, discussions, and group activities starting in 2011, including a google map describing past enhancement projects in the watershed and a monthly newsletter. People interested in the Boise River Enhancement Plan and other watershed issues are invited to join and participate in ongoing On Line / All the Time discussions at the BREN site link below:

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

June 2, 2015 / Today people who live in the Boise River Watershed are invited to attend a community workshop to discuss the development of a new and comprehensive Boise River Enhancement plan. The draft plan is online now and is really impressive with lots of photos, maps and infographics. 
Ongoing opportunities for reviewing the draft plan and for public input and discussion will remain available online for the next few months as this plan is further refined, and on into the future via people who join the Boise River Enhancement Network (BREN).
More details on the workshop are available at the following URL. 

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Google Earth tour of 1975 Clean Ski/Climb of Denali

The Denali Diary Facebook page has posted some new photos of the expedition and I thought I would provide this Google Earth narrated tour of the route for those interested.  I also posted some of these photos on my own Facebook page.

Below is a link to a narrated Google Earth Tour of our 60 day clean climbing expedition from park headquarters to the top of Denali and back down to Wonder Lake. The link goes to a Google Earth Community Post I created in March 2011 where you can download the file.

The file will open in Google Earth in your "Temporary Places." Open the folder and click on the       "3 1975 PlayTour V11 icon to start a narrated automated tour that flies the whole route.  The 3D animated views of the upper mountain are especially interesting.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Naomi Klein - Human Values vs economics

I found this online conversation to be an important one we should all be involved in.

We have..." been making these arguments around economics, but there is nothing more powerful than a values based argument. We’re not going to win this as bean counters. We can’t beat the bean counters at their own game. We’re going to win this, because this is an issue of values, human rights, right and wrong.... we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that what actually moves people’s hearts are the arguments based on the value of life."
Naomi Klein, in an online webinar conversation with director May Boeve ended the conversation with the statement above 'Fighting for the Places We Love': A Vision for the Climate Battles to Come" and talking about Global Divestment Days on February 13 and 14, 2015 :

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Religion or Not - Another form of discrimination?

 This article written by Adam Lee on Alternet notes that non-belief is far more common than people realize yet politicians dare not declare a non-belief. Furthermore atheists are a large and potentially influential population.
"Imagine the kind of world we could live in if atheists were a political force. It would be a world where secularism is the unquestioned law of the land, where religious groups wouldn't interfere in politics unless they could put forward arguments backed by evidence that anyone could examine, and not just appeals to faith. We'd rely on science and rationality to shape public policy; humanity would heed the voice of reason, rather than gut feelings or superstitious taboos. In this world, the religious arguments propping up tribalism, racism, and the oppression of women would wither away; the decrees of unelected and unaccountable authorities would fade into dust, and democracy and the liberty of the individual would be the guiding principles."

6 new NASA Earth-Observing Satellites measure changing planet

This NASA Page "Earth Right Now" contains a wealth of information about how we are measuring the changes on our planet.  Included is exciting information about five new Earth-observing satellite launches in the past year that will deliver even more crucial data to scientists trying to understand our changing planet.  

On June 5, 2013 I wrote a related blog post about the Landsat 8 Satellite that provides additional acquisition of high quality observations of land use and land change.

As citizens we have to demand that our family, friends, neighbors, organizations, businesses and elected representatives learn how to pay attention to accumulated science and stand up and act in order to immediately and dramatically slow down the extreme human caused climate and ecosystem changes that have been geometrically increasing for decades.

The latest of the five Earth observing NASA satellite observatories, SMAP, (Soil Moisture Active Passive) was scheduled to be launched this weekend, January 31, 2015.

This observatory will produce the highest-resolution maps of soil moisture ever obtained from space.  "The accuracy, resolution, and global coverage of SMAP soil moisture and freeze/thaw measurements are invaluable across many science and applications disciplines including hydrology, climate, carbon cycle, and the meteorological, environmental and ecology applications communities."

The GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) observatory was launched on "February 27, 2014,  carrying advanced instruments that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space." 

"The data they provide will be used to unify precipitation measurements made by an international network of partner satellites to quantify when, where, and how much it rains or snows around the world.  The GPM mission will help advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycles, improve the forecasting of extreme events that cause natural disasters, and extend current capabilities of using satellite precipitation information to directly benefit society."

CATS (Cloud-Aerosol Transport System) is a lidar remote-sensing instrument that will extend profile measurements of atmospheric aerosols and clouds from the International Space Station (ISS). 

The CATS payload will improve our understanding of aerosol and cloud properties and interactions, as well as improve climate change models. CATS is specifically intended to demonstrate a low-cost, streamlined approach to developing ISS science payloads.

OCO-2 Orbiting Carbon Observatory was launched on July 2, 2014, and is NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from Space.

OCO-2 will be collecting space-based global measurements of atmospheric CO2 with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to characterize sources and sinks on regional scales. OCO-2 will also be able to quantify CO2 variability over the seasonal cycles year after year.

ISS-RapidScat was launched on September 20, 2014 and  is the first near-global scientific Earth-observing climate instrument specifically designed and developed to operate from the exterior of the space station. 

The experimental mission will measure near-surface ocean wind speed and direction in Earth’s low and mid-latitudes in any kind of weather except heavy rain. The data will be used to support weather and marine forecasting, including tracking storms and hurricanes, and to study Earth’s climate.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Google Earth Blog Highlights Mountain Visions Google Earth Tours.

Wow - Mountain Visions Google Earth Tours are highlighted today on the popular "Google Earth Blog  -  The amazing things about Google Earth." 

Google Earth Blog originated by Frank Taylor has provided important and interesting Information almost daily for the past 10 years.

Included in today's post are links to Mountain Visions Google Earth Tour collection and to these few selected browser plugin tours and KMZ download files:

Potential CuMo Mine Tour - 2012 / Idaho families for Clean Water

Prince of Wales Island Watershed Restoration Projects  - 2006-2011 / U.S. Forest Service & Trout Unlimited

Mores Creek Watershed Tour - 2013 / Trout Unlimited

Boise River at High Water - 2011 / Idaho Rivers United, Lighthawk & Land Trust for the Treasure Valley.