NAT’L FORESTS, PARKS, MONUMENTS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDSMeteor Blades writes—Biden will have options for quickly fixing Trump mess, including restoring monuments he shrank: “No shortage exists for actions political activists and others would like to see Joe Biden take on his first day as president in January. From protecting voting rights to launching prosecutions of wrongdoers in the Trump regime, from dealing with police violence to reinstating environmental regulations Trump rolled back, a bunch of people and groups have lists long enough to jam-pack not only Day One of the new administration but well past its first 100 days. Sadly, all too many of these items are simply repair and restoration work needed to address the wreckage of the past four years. Quite a number of these matters can be accomplished simply by executive orders, although that presents the risk, without Congress to back them up, that a future administration could re-reverse these decisions with new executive orders. A key arena is the environment. Eco writer Michael Grunwald notes some possible environmental moves that Biden could make right away before the echo of the oath of office has even faded away.”Username4242 writes—Exploring Utah’s most famous sandstone arch! Delicate Arch trail guide (Video): “Another in my series exploring the beauty of the American West.”Username4242 writes—Into the Devil’s Garden: Wandering the Beautiful Arches National Park (Video): “Another trail guide to Arches National park! Due to time constraints, didn’t see all 6 arches on the trail system, but still got to capture some incredible things.” – Advertisement – OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – eagles are back: “Fall 2020. Pacific Northwest. Eagles are back to the islands after their stint on mainland rivers, where they feast on spawned out salmon during the fall. Not all of them, but the skies and treetop perches aren’t empty of them anymore since nesting season ended last summer. For our late bucket today, two encounters with eagles that refresh my familiarity with these glorious birds who make the PacificNorthwest their home. I was stopped at Otto’s Marsh to see the newly arrived Trumpeter swans. All of a sudden most of the hundreds of ducks there lifted off, calling in their mallard and wigeon cacophony. Looking up, I saw the eagle that had been perched on its regular treetop nearby a moment ago now swooping over the marsh. It didn’t catch any ducks this time, but the pair who live right here are back to keeping ducks on their toes.” funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket. Woof! It’s COLD Out There. Frozen (Open) Thread: “Our sky is currently completely clear, as it was around 4:00 a.m. this morning when I went out to check the sky, and saw the crescent moon and the brilliant stars. Figured it would be, given the 24f temp at the time. In ‘good’ winters here, meaning a heavy snow dump followed by clear sunshine and very cold temperatures, icicles off the roofs around town can reach all the way to the ground. That isn’t the case today, but I have seen it. […] Some folks really don’t like the cold and I can understand that. I grew up with it though and it’s pretty much a seasonal variant I’ve gotten used to. As a kid I even wished for a good hard freeze because when it happened we’d get the chance to go ice skating on the ponds around here. It was actually not that common an occurrence, so we reveled in it when it did happen.”Out the author’s front door in Quincy, California. First snow of the 2020-21 winter season.funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket. First Snow! Unexpected Bliss: “The internet weather forecast, both weather.com and accuweather, completely missed it. I was getting myself ready to head out for grocery shopping, happened to glance out the window, and was overjoyed to see this.”OceanDiver writes—Dawn Chorus: Open thread – Who was your Spark Bird? “Every birdwatcher’s passion for birds was sparked at some point. Our deep joy in watching and learning about these feathered free-spirited beings was likely inspired by an encounter with a particular kind of bird. In our last Dawn Chorus lineatus referred to a recent observation as an especially sweet moment because it was with her “spark bird”. Here’s what lineatus had to say: A super-special moment, because 33 years ago this month, a Townsend’s Warbler was my spark bird. It’s not an exaggeration to say that they changed my life. I’d never heard the term before but I understood it immediately.”- Advertisement – Lenny Flank writes—Photo Diary: Some Florida Plants: “Some of the plants, native and non-native, I have seen recently during my daily walks in Florida. I’m mostly plant-illiterate, so I tried to pick species I could identify. Sorry if I boo-boo’d on any of them—please correct me if needed. For those who don’t know, I lived in a converted campervan and traveled around the country, posting photo diaries of places that I visited. But the pandemic has clipped my wings, and I am now holed up in Florida until I can begin traveling again.” CLIMATE CHAOSClimateDenierRoundup writes—When “Better” is Worse: Legates and Maue Hires Evidence Of When Politics Trumps Competence: “There’s a fun new study making the rounds, published recently in the American Economic Review showing, when it comes to hiring in political bureaucracies, political connections are often more important than actual competence to do the job. While the study looks at Brazilian public employees between 1997 and 2014, could it be possible that such an effect, of political convenience outweighing competence, can be seen in the United States as well? To be clear, there is a well-defined split between the career US government employees who serve the public through different administrations, and are generally highly qualified as a result of rigorous hiring processes, and the political appointees who are chosen to serve at the President’s discretion. Traditionally, high-ranking, science-adjacent political appointments positions go to qualified experts at the top of their fields, as few are capable of coordinating scientific efforts across vastly different disciplines. Traditionally. But with the eleventh-hour hires of deniers David Legates and Ryan Maue to key climate and science posts in the lame-duck months of the Trump administration, the inverse relationship between political patronage and competence is not just easily inferred. It is explicitly acknowledged by one of their most fervent supporters, CEI’s Myron Ebell.” ian douglas rushlau writes—Effects of climate change are before our eyes, and are measurable. President Biden needs to act: “Joe Biden could bring Paris climate goals ‘within striking distance’. Biden’s presidency could help reduce global heating by about 0.1C if plans fulfilled, say experts: The election of Joe Biden as president of the US could reduce global heating by about 0.1C, bringing the goals of the Paris agreement ‘within striking distance,’ if his plans are fulfilled, according to a detailed analysis. Biden’s policy of a target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and plans for a $1.7tn investment in a green recovery from the Covid crisis, would reduce US emissions in the next 30 years by about 75 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide or its equivalents. Calculations by the Climate Action Tracker show that this reduction would be enough to avoid a temperature rise of about 0.1C by 2100. However, Biden is likely to face stiff opposition to many of his proposals, from the Republican party nationally and at state level, while his room for manoeuvre will be limited by the Democrats’ showing in the Senate. If legal challenges to his plans are brought, they will be decided by a heavily conservative supreme court.”Michael Brune writes—This Was a Climate Election: “Joe Biden ran on the strongest climate and environmental-justice platform of any major party nominee in history. And climate played a historically large role in his campaign: Biden brought up climate in debate after debate, and closed out his campaign with climate-focused ads. But the presidential race was far from the only one where climate was at play. Across the country, voters weighed in on environmental propositions and environmentally focused candidates. They expressed record levels of concern over the climate crisis: According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of adults now view climate change as a major threat to the country’s well-being. Polling from the radical left-wing outlet Fox News found that 72 percent of voters were concerned about climate change, and nearly the same percentage wanted the federal government to invest more heavily in clean energy. Thanks to this rising tide of concern, as well as the tireless work of volunteers from the Sierra Club and our movement allies, we managed to secure some victories even in epicenters of oil and gas production.” CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICSMomeraths writes—Even if We Don’t Take Back the Senate, We Should IMMEDIATELY Pass Some Clean Climate Bills: “I mostly lurk here, but in the aftermath of the election I’m seeing a whole ton of people essentially making the argument that any attempts at bipartisanship are impossible and will only result in the Republicans screwing us over. The consensus on here seems to be that our options for getting anything done are to either win those two Georgia seats or to spend the next two years grinding our teeth to nubs and sticking pins into our travel-sized Mitch McConnell effigies. But here I am with news: there is broad support on the Republican side of congress for more than one sensible piece of climate legislation. In the Senate, Mike Braun (R, Indiana), Debbie Stabenow (D, Michigan), Lindsey Graham (you know who), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D, Rhode Island) have co-sponsored a bill that will pay farmers for reducing their emissions. Bruce Westerman, a Republican rep from wildly MAGA-happy Arkansas, is sponsoring a bill to try to plant one trillion trees. Young Republicans like Benji Backer are plainly very over climate denial, and they’re pushing their elders to do something about it. We have an excellent shot here to hammer out a bunch of solid, clean climate bills which we can then tout as an accomplishment of the Biden administration to skeptical young people.”Diamondman writes—Put a Scientist at the Big Table: “We face two great crises with a world-wide pandemic and climate change that takes lives and livelihood away. While these two events can be connected scientifically (here and here), they can also be connected through a failure to enact science-based policy that could have diminished the threats early. A primary point of failure is that it falls on the scientists, who are not typically trained for this, to convince politicians and policy makers that there is indeed a problem. This at best slows the process and at worst, like the last four years, allows policy makers to outright ignore scientists and the science. President-elect Joe Biden (love typing that) declared while campaigning, over and over and over again, that we need to listen to our scientists. Great! Wonderful! Then I respectfully ask you to sit them at the Big Table. Nominate a scientist, one with noted policy background, to a cabinet level position to prove your seriousness. The founding fathers had Benjamin Franklin, the colonies top scientist, at the table when drafting the Declaration of Independence. We need our modern day Ben Franklins to be in the room where it happens.” poopdogcomedy writes—GA-Sen A: Climate Denier & Hypocrite David Perdue (R) Lives In Protected Beachfront Mansion: “From The Intercept: IF SEN. DAVID PERDUE wins reelection in Georgia’s runoff in January, the Republican Party will almost certainly maintain its Senate majority. Perdue, an outspoken climate denier, urged President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords; voted against a Senate resolution that affirmed that climate change is real and that human activities contribute to it; and dismissed the Green New Deal as a “socialist wish list.” The one-term senator, who is a first cousin of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and golfing buddy of Trump, also vowed to protect the coal industry and was endorsed by the Koch-affiliated Super PAC, Americans for Prosperity. If Perdue wins, the potential for the Biden administration to respond to the global climate crisis will be greatly diminished. But even while Perdue publicly rejects the scientific consensus about climate change, the Georgia senator and former CEO of Dollar General is part of a gated beachfront community that has taken the global phenomenon and its consequences extremely seriously.” ENERGYFossil Fuels & Emissions ControlsDan Bacher writes—AG Becerra, Governor protest federal oil lease sales as CA regulators increase oil drilling permits: “On November 9, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Governor Gavin Newsom and two state agencies filed a protest challenging the proposed sale of seven oil and gas leases in Kern County by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The proposed December 2020 sale involves seven parcels totaling 4,133.58 acres of Federal public lands and mineral estate within the Bakersfield Field Office. Ironically, the protest against the BLM oil and gas lease sale takes place at a time when state oil and gas regulators under Governor Gavin Newsom have expanded oil and gas drilling in Kern County and other areas in California. Since January 2019, CalGEM, under the the Department of Conservation, has approved 7071 oil and gas drilling permits. Becerra pointed out that more than 95 percent of federal drilling in California already occurs in Kern County, ‘often in close proximity to California’s most vulnerable communities’.”peregrine kate writes—Great climate news from MI: Gov. Whitmer has revoked Enbridge’s easement for Line 5! “Fabulous climate news was announced today in Michigan, as Gov. Whitmer has finally taken a decisive step to shut down Line 5. A report by Keith Matheny just published in the Detroit Free Press provides the key details: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger on Friday notified Enbridge that a 1953 easement allowing it to operate dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac to transport petroleum and other products is being revoked and terminated. Whitmer and Eichinger also filed a lawsuit asking the Ingham County Circuit Court to recognize the validity of this action, citing violation of the public trust doctrine, given the unreasonable risk that continued operation of the dual pipelines poses to the Great Lakes. Enbridge now has 180 days to decommission the pipelines, and to appeal this decision.”Pakalolo writes—Whitmer orders shut down of oil pipeline that threatens the fresh water of the Great Lakes: “Fighting Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan has ordered the shut down of an Enbridge petroleum pipeline located on the channel bed (linking Lake Michigan and Lake Huron) in the Straits of Mackinac. The legal action seeks to permanently shut down the Enbridge Line Five light oil and natural gas liquid pipeline. The company moves twenty-five percent of the oil produced in North America and transports twenty percent of the natural gas according to the Enbridge website. The pipeline easement was granted in 1953. This news is stirring up the white nationalist militias and other conservative groups in Michigan. The brave and principled Governor is the sort of fighting Dem this site has advocated for since Daily Kos first appeared. She is an inspiration on how to make a better world, managing pandemic, and fighting for a livable planet. We should have her back on any backlash she may receive.”Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & ConservationTRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTUREAssaf writes—China’s EV market has recovered, with a Surprise Star: “In early 2020, the EV revolution took setback after setback in its flagship country, China. 2019 ended there with a limp, after another round of incentive cuts took effect midyear. Overall 2019 sales were above 2018, but only thanks to a strong first half. And by the time 2020 rolled in, China became Covid Ground Zero. Under the pandemic China’s EV sales plummeted 50% in January, 65% in February, and 51% in March. […] Even though by April China had emerged from under Covid’s first wave, the West was now locking down, greatly impacting Asia’s export economies. With shaky family finances, reduced incentives, and EV makers struggling, will China’s EV segment recover? […] Tesla’s Giga Shanghai’s launch ramp coincided perfectly with the emergence from Covid, allowing the company to pump many thousands of eagerly awaited, locally produced Model 3s onto Chinese roads. By June nearly 50k Model 3s were delivered there, more than doubling the next-most-popular EV. But this was still not enough for China to go into positive territory.”AGRICULTURE, FOOD & GARDENSrobctwo writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging vol 16.46, Portland Japanese Garden: “A couple weeks ago my wife went to the Japanese Garden with our daughter, her husband and daughters, and friends who invited them to the garden. My wife, equipped with an iPhone 7 is the photographer. she did a great job. I can’t narrate, I wasn’t there.” CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket—The Newest Hummingbird: “I toss in my sleep, grabbing for the water bottle. I have to push the straw deep for the last few drops of precious cool water. […] And in that moment between a memory and a dream, I was not sure if I was a hummingbird draining the bottom of a feeder, and dreaming I am human, or a human draining a water bottle, dreaming I am a hummingbird. Then the humming bird flew vertically at a million miles an hour. I cannot do that, so I am a human. I am assuming the brightly colored hummers are male Annas Hummingbirds, and the greyer hummers are females. I’m in NW Oregon. within the Anna’s winter range. There’s seven different types of hummers in Oregon. Five are rare or live east of the Cascades. Rufous and Anna’s are more common. But there’s nothing common about any hummingbird’s flashing beauty.” – Advertisement – Ojibwa writes—Lake Mary Ronan State Park: Doug Fir Trail West: “Located just seven miles west of Montana’s Flathead Lake is the Lake Mary Ronan State Park. The park has 120 acres nestled in a forest of Douglas Fir and Western Larch adjacent to a mountain lake. In addition to a boat launch area, there is a day use area, 25 campsites, a group camping area, and nature trails.” MISCELLANYClimateDenierRoundup writes—U.S. Chamber of Commerce Turns Over an Old Leaf, Attacks Plastic Policy in Canada: “One of the common conservative, climate-denier refrains whenever international climate efforts ramp up is that it would be unthinkably terrible for the United States of America to cede any sort of sovereignty to the (evil globalists at the) United Nations. Nothing, not even literally the fate of the planet, is apparently worth even the slightest acknowledgement that the US made a mess of the climate and should therefore help clean it up. That was a regular allegation against the Paris Agreement, for example, which the Biden Administration promises to re-enter on January 20. But that’s far from the only thing the U.S. might want to reconsider, in the eyes of those concerned with national sovereignty. Take a look at Trump’s replacement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Because as it turns out, it’s US industry that’s attacking national sovereignty, invoking a clause in the creatively-named United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement to try and prevent Canada from adopting new plastic pollution laws. Sovereignty for me, not for thee. (Naturally!)” Meteor Blades writes—Earth Matters: Dogs sniff out wildlife smugglers; Trump wants Arctic drilling leases auctioned now: “There was the pro-fracking Texans for Natural Gas urging voters to ‘thank a roughneck.’ There was the Arctic Energy Center pushing for drilling in offshore Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. There was the Main Street Investors Coalition that attacked climate activism, which it claimed doesn’t help small investors in the stock market. Hiroko Tabuchi reports that the three seemed to be separate groups promoting the views of rank-and-file people. Turns out they were part of a network of “influence campaigns” put together by FTI Consulting by some of the world’s giant oil and gas companies. Her investigation of FTI uncovered a concerted effort to influence public views while concealing industry’s role. Of course, that’s hardly new. Climate science denialism has for more than three decades been spurred by money from fossil fuel operations, including the notorious Koch Industries. In addition to its other efforts, FTI monitored environmental activists online, even creating a fake Facebook persona—‘an imaginary, middle-aged Texas woman with a dog — to help keep tabs on protesters.’ FTI staffed two websites—Energy In Depth and Western Wire—with people who wrote pro-industry articles on controversial matters like fracking. Former employees of Energy In Depth told Tabuchi that FTI client Exxon Mobil had directed some of that content.”PvtJarHead writes—Charles Koch: “Boy did we screw up! What a mess!” “No shit Sherlock! — Charles Koch is fishing for a do-over of his life’s work — The Wall Street Journal (paywall). Wichita billionaire and GOP mega-donor Charles Koch says his partisanship was a mistake, telling The Wall Street Journal that he believes it caused unneeded division. Well isn’t that special… The Kansas City Star. ’I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory,’ Koch told The Wall Street Journal in an email. “I look forward to finding ways to work with them to break down the barriers holding people back, whether in the economy, criminal justice, immigration, the COVID-19 pandemic, or anywhere else.’ […] Koch and his brother David, who died last year, were major players in the rise and shaping of the tea party. The brothers founded the conservative organization Americans for Prosperity in 2004. In her 2015 book “Dark Money,” the New Yorker writer Jane Mayer tracked how they used their fortunes to amass political influence and further a libertarian agenda. It’s just a complete coincidence that he’s trying to sell a new book coming out soon.” lostintheozarks writes—The Daily Bucket – A Love Story In My Own Back Yard! “Douglas County, Missouri. November 12, 2020. Time got away from me these past couple of weeks. There was the family visit that was way too short. There were things we needed to do after they left that kept me from spending much time outdoors. And of course I spent way too much time obsessing about the election. And here I am with very few recent photos because our backyard critters are not showing up as regularly as they used to. So yesterday morning I wandered into the sunroom to see my husband shooting photos through the panes of glass in the door. ‘Shhh!’ he whispered. ‘There’s a good-sized buck out there stalking one of the females.’ I ran to get my camera, but by the time I got back the action was over. […] He hadn’t been able to get any photos of the doe because she was hidden among the trees, but the buck was definitely working his way in her direction with that dopey, open-mouth expression on his face.” OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – Cattle Point & ducks: “November 10, 2020. Salish Sea, PacificNorthwest. We ventured over to a neighboring island a few days ago for some necessary errands (for eye appointments, to pick up welding gas, and to visit the pot shop). With an hour to spare to catch the next ferry we took a jaunt down to the southern tip of San Juan Island to visit Cattle Point. It was a stormy day but not actually raining at the moment. Big layers of clouds and near nightfall….a classic winter’s day on the Salish Sea. Cattle Point lighthouse was built in 1935, now automated. The cattle that the point is named for date back to a Hudson’s Bay Company ranch here in the mid 1800s. This end of the island is now in protected status as Cattle Point Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) and San Juan Island National Historical Park so it was saved from what otherwise have been a series of McMansions on private property, which is what much of the shoreline up here is like. As public land, people like us can visit to enjoy the scenery and birds. It’s a beautiful ‘big sky’ spot that is particularly dramatic in winter.”Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, female (Papilio glaucus)foresterbob writes—The Daily Bucket – Backyard Butterflies in Georgia: “A long time ago, I learned that butterflies of many species are attracted to zinnias and purple coneflowers, which by good fortune are easy to grow at my place. The soil is dense clay which I’ve improved with mulch. There is abundant sunlight between my house and the street. 2020 will go down in history as a year with many dubious events. But one good happening was my first-ever sighting of a zebra longwing. There is a good chance that they had been visiting all along, but I never saw them because of my travels. This year, there have been near-daily sightings since late July. I saw one yesterday, even though the zinnias have nearly played out. The red morning glory flowers offer a Plan B for nectar-loving insects. With no further ado, here are some of the butterflies that posed for pictures this year. As always, I welcome any expert advice if any of my species calls are wrong.”- Advertisement –
A determined Medeama side, with ten men, sank glorious Accra Hearts of Oak into relegation with a 3-1 thumping away from home.Gordon Joseph shot the visitors into the lead early in the game and again put the game beyond the reach of the Phobians with a screamer of a goal later in the second half.Hearts’ Mahatma Otoo had drawn level for the Phobians only for a former Hearts player Eric Nyarko to restore Medeama lead.In a game that summed up the sad story of the Phobians in the first round of the league, skipper Mahatma Otoo began the tale of near misses in the opening minute when he failed to put the Phobians in the lead after he had teasingly been set up by Ollenu Ashitey.The Hearts skipper was completely bereft of ideas when he had only the Medeama goal keeper to beat and with one touch too many, the ball was cleared off his foot even before he could shoot.It was Gordon Joseph who taught the Hearts skipper how to score when he expertly converted a free-kick in the 5th minute which bounced awkwardly to beat Robin Gnagne and Tetteh Luggard in post for the Phobians. Otoo replied four minutes later with an easy tap in from close range after Paul Acquah had made a rampaging run on the right and set him up beautifully.In the 18th minute former Hearts midfielder, now with Medeama, Eric Nyarko restored the lead of the visitors with a stupendous header from close range. Tetteh Luggard was caught flat-footed and ball watching as the ball dangled in his net.Mohammed Tanko was given an early shower in the 25th minute after a needless but dangerous tackle on Ollenu giving the Phobians a numerical advantage but they failed to make it count.Otoo was set up again in the 35th minute but his bicycle kick was too feeble to beat Joseph Halm in post for Medeama.Hearts returned from recess poised for victory but they were shocked. A 35 yard screamer by Gordon Joseph lighted up the stadium and left the home fans with no choice but to clap and give a standing ovation. It was a goal of breathtaking genius, one that could easily be crowned the goal of the season.That goal sank the Phobians into relegation with 14 points after 14 games and in the 14th position.