Tag: Coal

Biomass Industry Poses a Greater Threat Than the Coal Industry

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 23, 2021 by Attorney Michael Wells, PodcastLegal Fact and Fiction

Biomass sounds like a living blob slithering its way towards New York City in a bad sci-fi movie. The reality may be worse. Proponents of the biomass industry will call this fearmongering and argue biomasses are carbon neutral and “green.” But the biomass industry involves chopping down vast swaths of trees, turning them into pellets, and shipping them to Europe where they are burned for energy. In other words, it is deforestation on a massive scale, and anyone who knows anything about climate change knows deforestation is one of the major causes of climate change. So how can a practice which is so harmful to the planet — more harmful than the coal industry which releases less carbon than burning trees — be at the same time beneficial? It cannot be whatever anyone claims to the contrary. 

Heart of the Matter 

If the U.S. Congress and other international lawmakers are to be believed, then it is through a metamodernist suspension of disbelief because the notion that deforestation and burning a source of energy more pollutive than coal is somehow “green”  is an absurd notion. 

The biomass industry is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it hails mainly from the American South where twenty-three wood mills devoted to biomass exist. Trees are grown, ground up, turned into wood pellets, and shipped to Europe to be burned for fuel under the auspices that this power is as clean as solar and wind power, which is as ridiculous as it sounds. While proponents of the biomass industry claim they plant trees to replace the felled trees, those trees cannot make up for the mature trees lost, trees that have absorbed carbon dioxide for decades. This is especially true considering the Paris Climate Accord cites deforestation as a major driver of climate change and a barrier to the ambitious emissions targets for 2050. 

Proponents of the biomass industry also ignore the desolate landscapes it leaves and tons of “waste wood” (wood that is left behind and cannot be used). While they claim to replant trees, this is often not done, and the saplings are not nearly as useful as trees that are decades old. 

How This Impacts You Personally

Whether the issue is nuclear waste, toxic water from chemical leaks, or  toxic algae from phosphate deposits, the way this impacts you personally is it is bad for the environment. And that is bad for you. In this instance, trees reduce carbon dioxide, which makes the air more breathable, the planet less hot, and the world cleaner. All of these things benefit everyone regardless of what people believe.

What You Can Do

It is important to learn as much as possible about this topic as it is not going anywhere. A multibillion dollar industry based in the United States, which supplies energy for Europe will not go away gently. Climate activist Greta Thunberg certainly sees the problem:

Think about what paper products you use and how to reduce that consumption. Recycling is not the answer as very little of what is recycled is reused. It is more important to not use paper or fuel sources that are derived from burning trees. 

Next Steps

  • Reduce your consumption for paper and paper products;
  • Stop using plastic bottles and other plastics; 
  • Do not burn wood; 
  • Learn about and try to use solar and wind power;
  • Find out what companies use wood as a source of energy and do not use them;
  • Contact your local, state, and federal representatives and tell them you oppose the biomass industry.

Energy is important for so many reasons, but there are better sources than the biomass industry. We need more —not less — trees in the world, and everything must be done to make sure the reckless and dangerous biomass industry does not continue. 

Adding composting worms to our home composting bins and/or directly to the soil in our yards will dramatically improve the amount of carbon we can store in the soil. Climate solutions are much easier than we realize. Act today! CLICK here.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint May Destroy the Environment

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 8, 2021 by Attorney Michael Wells, PodcastLegal Fact and Fiction

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” China poses military, economic, social, and environmental threats to the entire world. Yet, with the myriad threats it poses, one threat it has awakened, Bitcoin, threatens to shake — and possibly destroy — the environment. Although Bitcoin requires the most advanced computers performing dizzying calculations, it needs unfathomable amounts of energy, and that energy comes primarily from fossil fuels in China, namely coal.

Home composting boosts soil health and carbon storage in the soil, saves our food supply, our planet, and millions of lives. Let’s all jump in together and make this fun!

Heart of the matter. For years Bitcoin appeared to be a passing fad and something many people were only vaguely aware of, but it is here to stay as is other cryptocurrency. And most of it is constructed or “mined” in China, which requires tons of hardware that needs energy. In China, that energy is supplied by coal based power, according to a February 5, 2021 CNBC article. Bitcoin is the 9th most valuable asset in the world, and it requires more energy than New Zealand. In fact, if Bitcoin were a country, it would rank 31st in the world for energy consumption, according to a March 19, 2021 Independent article. Although Bitcoin has been around since 2009, its energy use came to the forefront in 2017, but, since that time, its energy use has quadrupled since then.

Proponents of Bitcoin, as cited in the Independent article, argue Bitcoin is “moving” towards “renewable energy,” and it will one day be a leader in renewable energy. Little evidence exists of these assertions. What is apparent, however, is the cryptocurrency market, led by Bitcoin is growing. As a currency it is attractive because its so-called block chain technology makes it unique, tough to steal, scarce, and easy to spend. The downside of that is the creation of cryptocurrency or “mining” requires computing power and vast energy sources. That computing power mainly comes from China, which relies heavily on coal however advanced their society may be. And that is a huge problem for the environment no matter how proponents want to spin it.

How this impacts you personally. If you are worried about food shortages, pandemics, cities under water, droughts, or most any other calamity flowing from climate change, then the growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should worry you because they rely so heavily on fossil fuels, namely coal. Until Bitcoin derives its energy from renewable energy sources, it will continue to be an environmental threat, a threat that grows larger as the demand for Bitcoin increases.

What you can do. The best way to lessen the Bitcoin environmental threat is not to buy stock in the company. Another way is not to use the currency or be involved in “mining” it. In addition, tell people it is a threat because many people are probably unaware Bitcoin poses such a threat.

Next Steps:

  • Learn as much as possible about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies;
  • Do not purchase Bitcoin stock shares or fractions of shares; 
  • Learn more about renewable energy; and
  • Contact your local, state, and federal officials and let them know how you feel about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Adding composting worms to our home composting bins and/or directly to the soil in our yards will dramatically improve the amount of carbon we can store in the soil. Climate solutions are much easier than we realize. Act today! CLICK here.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Renewable Energy Continues to Surpass Coal in US

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 15, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

It was a year ago, last spring, that we learned renewable energy usage exceeded coal usage during the month of April 2019 for the very first time ever. At one point that month, the gain was 9 straight days in a row, another first, and 38 days total for 2019 Newsweek recently reported.

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It’s therefore exhilarating to be one giant step further along the road to a complete renewable transition.  In 2020, every single day for the entire month of April, renewables exceeded coal, for a total run of 40 straight days of renewables crushing coal. The price of coal increased during this same time period, while the cost of renewables decreased, which appears to be a factor in the favorable outcome for renewable energy.

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Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Climate Friday! What is wet-bulb? Is it scary?

It’s a particularly significant success in light of the fact of how forcefully our president has been trying to sway public opinion to back coal, as one coal company after the next declares bankruptcy. It appears the American public is slowly adapting to the reality that the elimination of fossil fuels is inevitable, so they might as well transition sooner rather than later and take advantage of all the discounts and rebates before they disappear. 🌞

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ExxonMobile | The Long Term Consequences of Short Term Greed

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 30, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

The New York state fraud trial against ExxonMobile of Irving, TX,
kicked off on October 22, 2019 and a week later is still underway. The issues are now so heated, they’ve become as toxic as Exxon itself.

Texas is responsible for 12.7% of US carbon emissions, yet is 1 of 50 states. This ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300
staggering percent alone indicates the significant increase in US and world carbon emission levels that oil production generates. It’s unimaginable that such a massive and profitable public company like ExxonMobile, can receive all the benefits and yet not be required to bare the burden of the negatives, meanwhile millions of innocent victims can lose their homes, all their personal possessions as well as their livelihoods, and potentially their lives, without any redress… until now.

Texas’ per capita carbon emissions is 24 metric tons, while California is only 9 metric tons, and NY of all states has the lowest per capita carbon emissions reading of a mere 8 metric tons, one third that of Texas. The District of Columbia is the lowest overall at 4 metric tons, but is not considered one of the 50 states. Coal state West Virginia, with the highest per capita carbon emissions of states whose population is more than one million, has a per capita carbon emissions reading of mind-numbing 52 metric tons.

  • TX – 28 million people, 12.7% of US carbon emissions
  • CA – 39 million, 7% US carbon emissions
  • FL – 21 million, 4.5% US carbon emissions
  • PA – 13 million, 4.2% US carbon emissions
  • NY – 20 million, 3.2% US carbon emissions

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Louisiana is another huge oil producing state, and is on the heels of West Virginia’s per capita carbon emissions, with a per capita reading of 45. There are two interesting outliers that haven’t been factored in, North Dakota and Wyoming, with 2019 populations so tiny —  757,952 and 585,501 — that their per capita carbon emissions appears criminal: North Dakota at 72 metric tons and Wyoming at 104. These two states seem to emphasize the significant impact cattle production has on global warming. For example, the state of North Dakota has 1.8 million cattle for it’s population of 585,501.

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If these state carbon emission readings are readily available through wikipedia, and the ability to draw connections between oil production, carbon emission levels, and global warming is so blatant and clear, how is it possible for the corporate executives to turn a blind eye to the global impact? Do the majority of us do that in our own lives and/or professions? It doesn’t appear that we do. Take parenting toddlers for example.

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Parents baby proof homes to keep their children safe. Gates go up. Special locks are attached to doors and drawers. Children are strapped into every kind of seat imaginable. Warnings are placed on every product catering to children. All of these precautions are soon ingrained in us. We’re able to assess our homes, connect dots, and buy products that meet the needs of ensuring safety. With this standard in mind, it thus makes Exxon’s willful disregard for doing the same type of assessment, and creating an action plan to address the dangers, that much more maddening.

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According to Courthouse News Service, in Manhattan court today, Rex Tillerson testified that he “lobbied the previous administration for a carbon tax and pushed for the landmark Paris Climate Accords.” The fact that his lobbying efforts didn’t work, or that Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, appears to make Tillerson believe that he therefore did everything he could and isn’t responsible for any damage that Texas’ 12.7% carbon emission reading has on the world.

Interestingly, there are 22 states that chose to stay in the Paris Agreement, despite Trump pulling the US out. Texas wasn’t one of them. But 22 is nearly half the US states, three of which are red states. So it’s unclear why Tillerson would try and use Trump’s leaving the Paris Agreement as an excuse for doing nothing, when so many others in the same situation, rallied to protect their states and citizens and moved forward with creating and executing climate action agendas to meet the target goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, regardless of whether the US was in or not.

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Not only is Tillerson’s Paris Agreement excuse a non-starter, which serves to further validate the NY Attorney General’s claim of investor fraud, and underscore the willful disconnect between Exxon’s CEO and the reality of climate change, but when the extra level of sociopathic behavior of “lobbying for a carbon tax” is added in, which was followed by doing nothing when the carbon tax didn’t pass in Congress, the excuse becomes so lame it seems fraudulent for Tillerson to even mention it during his testimony today.

If a CEO truly does passionately believe in a carbon tax — because he understands that global warming and destructive climate events harm millions and millions, possibly billions of innocent victims — wouldn’t he have nobly used this would be carbon tax money to assist victims of traumatic climate events?

Exxon gave $500,000 during the 2017 Hurricane Harvey aftermath in Houston, and according to Google, nothing since to any other climate victims following catastrophic weather events. The microscopic Harvey amount is unfathomably pathetic when a company earned $19.7 billion that same year, compared to $7.8 billion the preceding year. The stunning increase in Exxon’s 2017 earnings during Tillerson’s first year as Secretary of State (should that be investigated?), with only a few tiny pennies to help with Harvey destruction? No, sorry, Mr. Tillerson. Your testimony today underscores your apathy and indifference to the global community that you’ve shattered.

The facts are plain as day. True leaders with a conscience know how to proceed and navigate a responsible path forward to protect the innocent in this type of quagmire (a quagmire that Exxon seemed to intentionally create so it wouldn’t be forced to act), but you, Sir, took advantage of the foggy conditions, and used it as an opportunity to maximize your profits and net worth. May justice be served. Hundreds of thousands have already died, millions of lives have been ruined. Short term greed has resulted in long term catastrophic global ruin. There’s hell to pay.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Major Cutback in Coal | Climate Action

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | September 2, 2019)
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

The tides are turning. Coal has seen a steady decline for the past five years, with a double digit slide in 2019. State and local energy decision makers have finally begun to believe in the impressive advantages of green energy and are quickly strategizing about how to amp up “clean” energy for their communities.

Solar efficiency,  along with new battery technology for storing solar energy, has created a stars lining up effect, enabling the solar industry to take flight into unchartered territory, especially for those companies offering $0 down for the installation of solar panels. Get ready for this exciting wild ride of transition.

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South Carolina’s state-owned coal utility, Santee Cooper, will announce on Tuesday September 3, 2019 that it has completed their new business plan and will begin shutting down one of its two coal power plants. The company does not anticipate any layoffs, but rather expects downsizing will come from attrition and retirements.

Additionally, Santee Cooper has its long term sight on eliminating coal energy entirely, with the goal of reducing its carbon footprint once it completes it’s build out of solar power.

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One of the top coal producers in Kentucky,  Blackhawk Mining, LLC., filed for bankruptcy in July 2019. Blackhawk will continue to operate during its bankruptcy and does not plan on any layoffs.

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Two large Kentucky coal producers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcies in recent years, Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy. Both have emerged from bankruptcy and are still producing coal, although the production levels are much lower than a decade ago.

Further complicating coal production in the Appalachians (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama), was the announcement in early July that Chubb would no longer insure coal producing companies. It’s expected that other insurance companies will do the same. The fossil fuel industry is facing major lawsuits related to climate change. Coal companies are unable to operate without insurance.

It’s very important that states support their coal communities by planning ahead, knowing that the transition to clean energy is only a matter of time. Dirty energy is dead. The sooner communities can transition to solar and wind and create new jobs, the better and healthier everyone will be.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Clean Water is Vital | Trump Gives EPA Green Light To Poison Water With Coal Ash

Washington (GGM) | Analysis | August 5, 2019)
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Clean water shortages around the world are considered a civilization altering condition that threatens the survival of millions, perhaps billions of global citizens. Prolonged heat waves and sustained droughts are already creating unlivable zones in large swaths of the world, and increasing the demand for clean water in areas that currently have an adequate water supply. More people trying to sustain themselves on less water often escalates conflicts and violence and has the potential to become a national security threat.

In light of the extreme water shortages resulting from climate change, it’s now more important than ever that the water we do have, remain protected and pure. Thus, it’s incomprehensible that Trump would insist the EPA rollback Obama’s regulations on coal ash removal and storage, established to protect ground water, and allow coal manufacturers to use coal ash for leveling in unrestrained quantities, as well as store in unlined ponds without liners.Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 5.08.07 PM.png

Every single irresponsible, life-threatening Trump decision like this one, is a call to action. Constituent phone calls to Congressional Representatives make a significant difference. Climate change further exacerbates an already dangerous situation, spreading the thick coal ash hundreds of miles beyond the original site. For example, Hurricane Florence in North Carolina last year, with 1,200 roads flooded, and an epic spreading of hazardous waste such as coal ash, was so alarming, the state still has no conception of the overall extent of the harm to human health. Only time will tell.

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Coal Ash‘s impact on health:

  • Contains: arsenic, lead, mercury, chlorine, and many other heavy metals
  • Causes cancer
  • Impacts Nervous System
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Developmental delays
  • Behavioral problems
  • Birth defects
  • Heart damage
  • Lung disease
  • Reproductive problems
  • And more…

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The writing is clearly on the wall, however. Regulations for the storage of hazardous materials during a time of shrinking water supply, and increased weather extremes, is an absolute imperative. Trump increasing profit margins for a few cronies, while destroying the health and well-being of millions of Americans, seems criminal.

I urge you to please let your Representative know how strongly you object to your water supply being contaminated and your health compromised.

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