BenIndy highly recommends ‘Jumping Into Solutions’
By Pat Toth-Smith, November 7, 2023
I am pleased to announce the locally produced You Tube and Spotify podcast channel, “Jumping into Solutions” has three new episodes to help you GO ELECTRIC in your home. We feature local Benicians’ who have started on their own paths of reducing their carbon footprint by making their homes as energy efficient as possible. The episodes feature local co-hosts Kathy Kerridge and me, Pat Toth-Smith, neighbors and experts in their fields who answer complicated questions like, how does the technology work and can I afford it?
Switch Is On to Electric Heat Pumps | EP. 2
Here’s everything that you need to know about switching to the energy-efficient, electric water heater pumps and electric home heating/cooling pumps. This episode clears up the questions of how new electric heat pumps work, does it cost a lot of money to install, and can I remove my gas system after installing them?
BENEFITS of Home Solar Panels & Solar Battery Storage | EP. 3
This episode talks about the benefits of going solar at a time when reducing our carbon footprint is vital; it answers questions about affordability, rebates, how solar works with your energy provider, solar battery storage functions and how to use your battery in the event of a power outage? And discussions about the new PG&E changes involving NEM 2 and NEM 3.
Switch to Electric Induction Stoves from Gas Stoves | EP. 4
Did you know, induction electric stoves are more energy efficient than gas and electric stoves and can boil water or heat up food faster than both. They also are healthier than gas stoves because gas leaks can occur when idle and/or outgassing when in use. Many adverse health effects are related to this outgassing of toxic gasses that includes Benzene, Carbon Dioxide and also PM2.5, which can cause resp illnesses and other more serious diseases. Induction electric stoves are safer than gas or electric because energy is transferred to the pot by an electromagnetic field, and the stove turns off after the pot is removed. It answers questions like: How does induction work? What toxic, green-house gasses are released? Are there rebates?
No matter how much the world cuts back on carbon emissions, a key and sizable chunk of Antarctica is essentially doomed to an “unavoidable” melt, a new study finds.
Associated Press, by Seth Borenstein, AP video produced by Teresa de Miguel, October 23, 2023
No matter how much the world cuts back on carbon emissions, a key and sizable chunk of Antarctica is essentially doomed to an “unavoidable” melt, a new study found.
Though the full melt will take hundreds of years, slowly adding nearly 6 feet (1.8 meters) to sea levels, it will be enough to reshape where and how people live in the future, the study’s lead author said.
Researchers used computer simulations to calculate future melting of protective ice shelves jutting over Antarctica’s Amundsen Sea in western Antarctica. The study in Monday’s journal Nature Climate Change found even if future warming was limited to just a few tenths of a degree more – an international goal that many scientists say is unlikely to be met – it would have “limited power to prevent ocean warming that could lead to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.”
“Our main question here was: How much control do we still have over ice shelf melting? How much melting can still be prevented by reducing emissions?” said study lead author Kaitlin Naughten, an oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey. “Unfortunately, it’s not great news. Our simulations suggest that we are now committed to the rapid increase in the rate of ocean warming and ice shelf melting over the rest of the century.”
While past studies have talked about how dire the situation is, Naughten was the first to use computer simulations to study the key melting component of warm water melting ice from below, and the work looked at four different scenarios for how much carbon dioxide the world pumps into the atmosphere. In each case, ocean warming was just too much for this section of the ice sheet to survive, the study found.
Naughten looked at melting gatekeeper ice shelves, which float over the ocean in this area of Antarctica that is already below sea level. Once these ice shelves melt, there’s nothing to stop the glaciers behind them from flowing into the sea.
Naughten’s study concentrated on the part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is most at risk from melting from below, near the Amundsen Sea. It includes the massive Thwaites ice shelf that is melting so fast it got the nickname “the Doomsday Glacier.” West Antarctica is only one-tenth of the southern continent but is more unstable than the larger eastern side.
That part of Antarctica “is doomed,” said University of California Irvine ice scientist Eric Rignot, who wasn’t part of the study. “The damage has already been done.”
University of Colorado ice scientist Ted Scambos, who also wasn’t part of the study, said this ice sheet “eventually is going to collapse. It’s not a happy conclusion and it is one that I’m only saying reluctantly.”
Naughten doesn’t like to use the word “doomed,” because she said 100 years from now the world might not just stop but reverse carbon levels in the air and global warming. But she said what’s happening now on the ground is a slow collapse that can’t be stopped, at least not in this century.
“I think it’s unavoidable that some of this area is lost. It’s unavoidable that the problem gets worse,” Naughten told The Associated Press. “It isn’t unavoidable that we lose all of it because sea level rise happens over the very long term. I only looked in this study up to 2100. So after 2100, we probably have some control still.’’
No matter what words are used, Naughten said she and other scientists studying the area in previous research conclude that this part of Antarctica “couldn’t be saved or a lot of it couldn’t be saved.”
Naughten’s study did not calculate how much ice would be lost, how much sea level would rise and at what speed. But she estimated that the amount of ice in the area most at risk if it all melted would raise sea levels by about 1.8 meters (5.9 feet).
However, she said, that is a slow process that would play out through the next few hundred years through the 2300s, 2400s and 2500s.
Naughten said that may seem like a long way away, but noted that if the Victorians of the 1800s had done something to drastically change the shape of our world, we would not look well on them.
This type of sea level rise would be “absolutely devastating” if it happened over 200 years, but if it could be stretched out over 2,000 years, humanity could adapt, Naughten said.
“Coastal communities will either have to build around or be abandoned,” Naughten said.
While this part of Antarctica’s ice sheet is destined to be lost, other vulnerable sections of Earth’s environment can still be saved by reducing heat-trapping emissions so there is reason to still cut back on carbon pollution, Naughten said.
Twila Moon, deputy chief scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center who wasn’t part of the research, said she worries that most people will see nothing but doom and gloom in the research.
“I don’t see a lot of hope,” Naughten said. “But it’s what the science tells me. So that’s what I have to communicate to the world.”
Naughten quoted former NASA scientist Kate Marvel, saying “when it comes to climate change we need courage and not hope. Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending.”
Signing the petition, making the call or writing the email has never been and will never be pointless
By Nathalie Christian, May 8, 2023
Sometimes signing petitions and writing emails or calls like those suggested below can feel . . . pointless at best, and performative at worst. But these actions – even as insignificant as they may feel – are neither.
Research, experience and most importantly results prove time and again that policymakers absolutely consider petitions, phone calls, emails and yet more petitions when making decisions. While your pebble may feel small, adding it to a pile and encouraging others in your networks to add their pebbles as well are the first steps in triggering a landslide.
In full disclosure, you may need a few more than three clicks to complete the three proposed actions laid out here today, but you can still make a big difference in the time it takes for your tea or coffee to brew. And the minutes you take today can influence years of decision-making and legislation, and ultimately the lifetimes of many.
[Note: I am ordering these by urgency, not importance. For example, while the EPA is accepting public comment on proposed regulations through July 5, there are important hearings May 9, 10 and 11 that you may want to know about.]
1. Call or Email: Tell your Assembly Members to OPPOSE Assembly Bill 538, which threatens California’s clean energy goals and autonomy
Anyone can participate in this important action, but if you’re living Bay Area Assembly Districts 11 (Lori Wilson), 21 (Diane Papan) and 28 (Gail Pellerin), your voice is especially needed. (Find out which district you live in here. If you live in Solano County, Lori Wilson is your assembly representative.)
These three members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee are voting on a grid-related bill that 350 Bay Area Action, the Sierra Club and Indivisible will lump California in with a multistate regional transmission organization, potentially throwing a pretty big wrench in CA’s efforts to meet its clean energy goals. The phone numbers, email addresses and script below provide a quick way you can help oppose this bill.
If you’re a constituent of AD 11, 21 or 28: Please use the following message for calling or emailing . . .
I am your constituent and a member of 350 Bay Area Action, a 20,000-member strong climate justice organization. After long consideration, we have taken an OPPOSE position on AB 538.
AB 538 creates a new multi-Western state electricity market that would threaten California’s clean energy goals and autonomy without significantly improving access to regional energy markets. Proposed amendments cannot fix this bill.
If the bill is on the Consent Calendar, please request that it be it taken off.
Once it’s off Consent, please don’t vote for it. Either vote against it, or don’t vote.
Thank you for your consideration!
[Name / City]
Non-constituents: Use the above message and simply start by saying you’re a member of 350 Bay Area Action.
2. Petition or public comment: Support the most ambitious vehicle emissions regulations ever proposed.
The EPA has just proposed what the Climate Reality Project is calling “the strongest regulations on vehicle emissions ever.” Despite improved regulations for heavy-duty vehicles, light- and medium-duty vehicles (like passenger cars and delivery trucks) still produce a tremendous amount of toxic tailpipe pollutants. According to Climate Reality, the regulations the EPA proposed could prevent nearly 10 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055.
Naturally, the proposed regulations are under attack by the usual suspects. While the EPA is still taking public comments, they need to hear from us. It’s up to average citizens like you and me to balance the histrionics from the conservatives and corporations who desperately want to keep fossil fuels-guzzling cars on the road.
Here are three ways you can support this ambitious new set of regulations:
Members of the Solano County ACLU Chapter started this petition to demand independent, external oversight over the very troubled Vallejo Police Department. The case the petition makes is clear, compelling and actionable. Anyone can sign (even if you don’t live in Vallejo), so please take a quick minute to do so and then to share it with your networks.
From the petition: “Vallejo Police Department (VPD) is the most troubled police department in northern California. This is clear to residents of Vallejo, potential VPD applicants, local and national media, and police professionals in the Bay Area. But this has never been directly acknowledged by our leaders, nor has there been a substantive attempt to make amends to the families who have lost loved ones, to those who have been subjected to police abuse, or to the community. Past attempts at reform have been completely ineffective.”
[P. S. I am sorry for shoving three important actions in a single post, possibly reducing the chances that you will complete any of them. The Benicia Independent has a backlog of articles and posts I want to publish and, in the interest of time and space, I am compromising. I encourage you to share these actions with your networks and really highlight the need and the urgency to ensure we have the best chance of being heard on these important topics. –N.C.]
Read more!While we’re talking about Air Quality, check out these resources:
BenIndy highly recommends ‘Jumping Into Solutions’
Email from Pat Toth-Smith, March 31, 2023
Hi, I‘m so pleased to announce Jumping Into Solutions Episode 2, “Switch is On for Electric Heat Pumps.” This episode features the new electric water heat pumps and home heating/cooling units for your home. The video clears up confusing things like:
How do the new heat pumps work?
Will they cost a lot of money to install?
Do I have to change my electric systems?
Can I remove my gas system after installing them?
Will they save money in the long run?
What are the new Air District (BAAQMD) rules for getting new electric water/heat systems?
Are there rebates?
Much more efficient, non-toxic and economical, electric heat pumps use Thermal Dynamics to run their systems.
Guests for this episode are homeowner Constance Buetel and Energy Engineer Tom Kabat, who speak candidly about all of this and share their knowledge and experiences switching over to heat pump water heaters and home heat/cooling heat pump systems.
Other benefits to the home heat pump is that it is also an air conditioner. They come in all sizes from a central system to mini splits that go in the walls to portable window units to heat and cool any room in your home, which is especially nice for people living in apartments.
Lastly, this episode discusses the dangers of having gas products in our home for our families’ health and for the health of our community. The reduction of gas and its byproduct, methane, a serious greenhouse gas, goes a long way to reducing our carbon footprint and helping our planet.