Saturday, January 26, 2013

Catnip 1/26/13: Half Moon Bay


Just south of Half Moon Bay. 1000 px.

Surprise! Exclusive: Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science 
The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funneling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry. However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas.

Surprise Two! Senators backing Keystone XL pipeline got lots of campaign cash from fossil fuel donors 
In a letter to President Obama Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 53 senators, nine of them Democrats, urged approval for the new route of the Keystone XL pipeline. The controversial conduit would carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands of Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast where it would be refined into oil and its derivatives. During their political careers as far back as 1999, those senators have taken an average of $551,000 from fossil fuel companies in campaign contributions, a total of $27 billion.

Kerry Pledges To Confront Climate Change: ‘I Will Be A Passionate Advocate’ Of Action
Kerry’s likely confirmation is good news for confronting climate change. He has a long career as a climate hawk, taking to the Senate floor to call for action on our “biggest long-term threat” to national security. With the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline in the next Secretary of State’s hands, his remarks may mean some hope for the administration’s decision on the tar sands project. He urged senators to consider the cost of climate inaction, saying “I will spend a lot of time trying to persuade you and other colleagues of this.”

Waxman: Keystone XL 'small' piece of climate puzzle
A top Democratic global warming advocate said Thursday that President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is a “small” part of battling climate change. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said he hopes Obama nixes the project to bring Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast. But he stressed that Keystone is just one piece of the whole climate picture.

The EPA will soon have to face austerity
Several EPA employee union leaders say the agency is stonewalling on the agency’s plans to handle a sequestration-squeezed budget. EPA officials, after repeated prodding, held a phone conference Thursday with about two dozen union leaders in order to share their plans about how the agency would handle a severely slashed budget. But EPA didn’t have a lot to offer, according to AFGE 238 Treasurer John O’Grady and Vice President Tom Link.

GE sets a record in thin-film solar cell efficiency
GE has emerged, at least technologically, as the top challenger to First Solar Inc., the largest maker of thin-film solar cells, said Keith Emory, head of the NREL lab that verifies solar-cell efficiency... In Emory's lab, GE's solar cell reached an efficiency rate of 18.3 percent — a more than 40 percent improvement in performance in the past three years. Efficiency is a measure of how much solar energy a cell turns into electricity. First Solar had held the efficiency record at 17.1 percent.

McDonald's Filet-O-Fish, Fish McBites going all-sustainable
McDonald’s, one of the largest single buyers of fish in the country, said all of its Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and Fish McBites snacks will be made of Alaskan Pollack sustainably fished in the wild. And the company is willing to pay to prove it. The fast-food giant will pay annual fees and royalties to the Marine Stewardship Council for the right to slap the group’s so-called ecolabel on its product packaging in its 14,000 stores nationwide.

What are Fish McBites and where can I get them? The only bad part about that is we probably won't see Filet-O-Fish on the Value Menu anytime soon.

Oh well, it's the thought that counts.