Category Archives: Around the World

As if climate change didn’t happen fast enough already

NPR: Trump Administration Eases Regulation Of Methane Leaks On Public Lands.

“The Trump administration is rolling back another Obama-era energy regulation, this time one that aimed to curb methane leaks from oil and gas operations on tribal and public lands.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, even more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term, that contributes to climate change. The Obama administration said that large amounts of methane are lost into the atmosphere through leaks, as well as intentional venting and flaring at energy production sites. It moved to limit that by requiring oil and gas companies to capture leaking and vented methane at existing sites, to gradually update their technology and to make plans for monitoring escaping gas.

The Government Accountability Office says as much as $23 million of potential royalty revenue from those gases is lost annually.

But in a statement, the Department of the Interior said that rule was “unnecessarily burdensome on the private sector.“”

(Emphasis mine.)

This is kind of an understatement. Each ton of methane has about the same effect as 21 to 25 tons of carbon dioxide, so it’s much worse. How about methane being “burdensome on the world’s climate”?

“They did a ‘magnificent job.’ President Trump says so himself. Have him come say that to my face.”

The New York Times: On Hurricane Maria Anniversary, Puerto Rico Is Still in Ruins. “By Frances Robles and Jugal K. Patel. September 20, 2018.

“A year ago, on Sept. 20, the deadliest storm to hit Puerto Rico in over 100 years slammed into the island’s southeast coast, just 14 miles south of where Ms. Cruz lives in Punta Santiago. The tourist and fishing town of 5,000 people bore a terrible share of Maria’s initial fury.

Almost 650 houses flooded with water from the sea; others were inundated by an overflowing lake, a river, and two ponds — and also raw sewage. Many homes lost walls and roofs in winds that reached 155 miles per hour when the storm made landfall.
[…]
Times journalists visited 163 homes in two neighborhoods in Punta Santiago to cover what progress had been made in the last 12 months.”

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Spring forward, fall back – not any longer, at least in the EU

Deutsche Welle: EU to stop changing the clocks in 2019. “The EU is doing away with the twice-yearly clock changes and has given member states until April to decide if they will remain on summer or winter time. But there are fears Europe is heading for time-zone chaos.”

“European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc on Friday announced that the EU will stop the twice-yearly changing of clocks across the continent in October 2019.
[…]
[She] said EU member states would have until April 2019 to decide whether they would permanently remain on summer or winter time.

Bulc said she was counting on member states and the European Parliament to keep pace with the Commission’s “ambitious” schedule. She also noted the need to find consensus among the member states in order to avoid confusing time jumps.

The plan also raises the prospect of neighboring countries ending up an hour apart.

“In order to maintain a harmonised approach we are encouraging consultations at national levels to ensure a coordinated approach of all member states,” Bulc said.”

For a world-wide view on time zones and by how much noon on the clock differs from the actual time the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, see this map (PNG) by Stefano Maggiolo from The poor man’s math blog.

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Urlaub gucken

WDR: Wunderschön: Kleinwalsertal – Öko-Urlaub in Österreich. Sendung vom 16.09.2018, Dauer 01:28:31 Std., in der Mediathek verfügbar bis 15.09.2019.

“Es ist ein kleines, überschaubares Tal, in dem Nachhaltigkeit gepflegt wird; es liegt in Österreich, ist aber nur von Deutschland aus erreichbar: das Kleinwalsertal. Tamina Kallert taucht ein in die hochalpine Bergkulisse und trifft Menschen, die etwas für ihre Heimat tun – und für die Natur, in der sie leben.”

André und ich waren im Sommer 2015 für eine Woche im Kleinwalsertal und haben viele der gezeigten Hütten besucht und Berge erwandert. Wirklich wunderschön!

“Supreme Court nominees should be held to a higher standard.”

The Washington Post: California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault.

“Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones version of her story became public without her name or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that just days ago seemed all but certain to succeed.

Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.
[…]
[Her husband] said he expects that some people, upon hearing his wife’s account, will believe that Kavanaugh’s high school behavior has no bearing upon his fitness for the nation’s high court. He disagrees.

“I think you look to judges to be the arbiters of right and wrong,” Russell Ford said. “If they don’t have a moral code of their own to determine right from wrong, then that’s a problem. So I think it’s relevant. Supreme Court nominees should be held to a higher standard.”

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