The New York Times is reporting that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reached an agreement with the owners of the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plant to shut it down and its environmental critics are wetting their pants. The fight against the plant has been ongoing for years. This is one of those be careful what you wish for scenarios. Close it down and replace it with what? The article only mentions vague possibilities.
The prospects for replacing that power are so far unclear, but potential options include hydropower from Quebec and power from wind farms already operating across New York, according to the person.
Wind? At present wind provides a tiny 2.6% of all NY State power. Also, it would take 4,000 onshore wind turbines to power just NYC and that would take up about 40 square miles, or about half the size of Yellowstone. Then you have to run new transmission lines which will have an environmental impact.
The Quebec hydropower option called the Champlain Hudson Power Express is an idea but that too is fraught with problems. The proposed transmission line from Quebec to NYC will run 333 miles, but cost is an issue and even the developers admit it will have to be subsidized by ratepayers since the cost of operating it will cost over $400 million/yr. This doesn’t even include the costs of construction. It cost the Port Authority $1 billion to run a seven-mile line from New Jersey to Manhattan.
New York City’s Department of Environmental Conservation, (DEC) did a study back in 2011 about the various impacts resulting from Indian Point’s closure. They found that the use of hydropower would result in an increase in carbon emissions of 15% statewide and of 5%-10% in NYC. And, the addition of thermal plants would be needed because even the Quebec hydropower wouldn’t be enough.
IPEC is able to provide approximately 2 GW of generation with no direct air emissions. Its retirement will cause a substantial increase in the air emissions from power plants. Our analysis indicates that both the City and State would see approximately a 15% increase in carbon emissions under most conventional replacement scenarios, with roughly a 7-8% increase in NOx emissions. NYC would see similar carbon emissions increases.
The state market would see wholesale cost increases of approximately $1.5 billion per year, or roughly a 10% increase under most scenarios. NYC consumers would pay approximately $300 million per year more for wholesale energy, or approximately a 5-10% increase.
The report also predicted that citywide reliability problems beginning within a year of the second reactor’s expiration.
Then you have the taxes and employment. The plant pays $75 million in state and local taxes and employs 1,000 contractors and 1,100 salaried employees and is the region’s major employer
As a former protester in the 70s, I have come around and feel nuclear power should be a major part of the mix. And major climate scientists like the Big Daddy of climate change activists, James Hansen formerly of NASA, support nuke power. I think they should upgrade Indian Point to state of the art rather than shut it down.
And speaking of Hansen, here’s his response to Bernie Sanders’ desire to close Indian Point:
Now, Bernie Sanders says he wants to shut down the plant. If that happened, it would be replaced in substantial part by fracked natural gas that would create the equivalent carbon emissions of adding roughly 1.4 million new cars to the road… For the sake of future generations who could be harmed by irreversible climate change, I urge New Yorkers to reject this fear mongering and uphold science against ideology.
Here’s a small clip from the presser posted on the site Atomic Insights by Rod Adams who notes “None of them agreed that a energy system using 100% renewable energy is a valid objective.”
Emmanuel, interestingly enough is a Republican. Both he and his wife suffered a barrage of threats from climate deniers in 2012 when he appeared at a climate panel in New Hampshire. His offense? Saying Republicans should take their heads outta their asses regarding climate change. As he told the DESMOG blog back then
“I don’t like it when ideology trumps reason, and I see that the Republicans are guilty of that in spades at the moment… I’ve been toying with the idea of officially switching to independent status,” he adds.
Oh and this is curious. Two years ago, Cuomo fought to reopen an upstate coal-burning energy plant.
We’re all familiar with US Right to Know, (USRTK) the group that is abusing FOIA to go after scientists they disagree with regarding GMOs. Well, check this out. The Washington Post reports:
The Trump transition team has issued a list of 74 questions for the Energy Department, asking officials there to identify which department employees and contractors have worked on forging an international climate pact as well as domestic efforts to cut the nation’s carbon output.
The questionnaire requests a list of those individuals who have taken part in international climate talks over the past five years and “which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”
The questionnaire, which one Energy Department official described as unusually “intrusive” and a matter for departmental lawyers, has raised concern that the Trump transition team was trying to figure out how to target the people, including civil servants, who have helped implement policies under Obama.
Remind you of anybody?
I wish the universities that caved to USRTK would have reacted like the DOE:
The Department of Energy received significant feedback from our workforce throughout the department, including the National Labs, following the release of the transition team’s questions. Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled,” said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a department spokesman. “Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people. We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.
“We will be forthcoming with all publically-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.” Burnham-Snyder’s email had the last sentence in boldface for emphasis.
The Post also quoted Rep. Steny H. Hoyer:
“I am alarmed by the questionnaire sent by the Trump transition team to the Department of Energy seeking the names of career civil servants who have worked on climate change policy,” said Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), the second ranking Democrat in the House. “This raises serious concerns as to the motivation of such a request and raises questions of possible retribution for following President Obama’s policies.” (my emphasis)
Note: This is re-write and update from a 2013 post.
Days after a group of 107 Nobel Laureates published a letter telling Greenpeace to knock it off with their anti-GMO nonsense, the biotechnology industry filed for bankruptcy, citing their misguided buying everybody off, scheme .
At a hastily called press conference, industry representative and Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, told assembled reporters
I mean, do you know how many people are in the Nation Academy of Sciences alone? Something like 2,000. So, a few million to a scientific body here and a few million to every independent scientist in the world there, and it begins to add up.” That’s not even including having to pay those thousands of keyboard jockeys who defend us on internet comment boards. The straw that broke the financial camel’s back were the Nobel laureates. Those bastards didn’t come cheap.”
Anti-gmo activists were left slack-jawed. “We just lost our boogeyman,” one activist lamented. “It’s not fair.”
Asked what was next for the bankrupt industry, Executive VP and CTO, Rob Fraley said it was too early to tell, but excitedly suggested they were thinking of getting into the organic farming business. “Man, do you know what a cash cow that racket is? I was in Whole Foods the other day and they get like 4 bucks for a freakin’ tomato. Sweet. We’ve gotta get in on that action.”
Hours after the announcement, Organic Consumer’s Association honcho Ronnie Cummins and GM Watch honchette, Claire Robinson had to be talked down off a Maharishi University rooftop after Jeffrey Smith pleaded with them saying, “Cmon guys. We can still make stuff up about beneficial technology.”
In a related story, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she planned to retire from the Court and buy the Bronx.
There’s a reason this blog has been quiet for a while. I just can’t do it anymore. The idiocy out there is unstoppable. There is a very sad strain of anti-science based on world views on the progressive side that is so ingrained that it is impossible to change.
It’s sad. A technology exists that can benefit the world and all these imbeciles can see is Monsanto.
It’s a campaign run by lefty, anti-science miscreants. “Oh, but I believe in climate change. That doesn’t make me anti-science.”
Yes it does, you fuckwit.
Science is not a democracy. You can’t pick and choose what science you want to believe. Science is based on facts, evidence and repeatability. That has been done with GMO technology.
Progressives are very regressive on this issue. They see it as corporate thing which is how the anti-science miscreants have hustled well-meaning progressives.
There is nothing honest about the anti-GMO groups. They are liars.
The FDA just approved the AquaBounty GMO salmon and already the Center for Food Safety has filed lawsuit that claims it hasn’t been tested. It’s been in the pipeline for 20 fuckin’ years. Hasn’t been tested in 20 years?
Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket. Andrew Kimbrell is a menace. He is leading the charge. Fuck him and all those anti-GMO fuckwits.
Science is progress. It is what has cured common diseases by creating vaccines and therapies. It has helped us. Because some company uses the technology that makes it bad? That’s bullshit.
I have friends who wonder why this issue is so important to me. It’s important because these anti imbeciles can hinder a useful science, not just for food but for medicine. If they can successfully demonize it in food, it can hinder research into the areas.
And finally, I think I’m burying the lede here, they have tried to discredit honest public scientists by using FOIA. Fuck Gary Ruskin. He’s an ideological weasel. He has more in common with the right-wing than he does the honest left.
I’m fighting for a solid science and I am up against a heavily funded anti-science contingent and those groups are coming from the left, not the right.
The anti-GMO movement is in a bad place. While they still con people into buying their lies and nonsense, a subtle shift has occurred. Opinion is beginning to turn against them.
Mainstream media has been casting a much more skeptical eye and various lefty/green writers have either changed their minds or at least taking less strident anti stances and are willing to be a little more open-minded. It’s hard to say what has been causing the change in these writers. It could be they are starting to realize that scientists aren’t lying to them. It might be that the antis are. It just might be a combination of both.
Today two pieces were published that add to that worm turning. The first, Unhealthy Fixation by William Saletan on Slate is a long form, detailed look at the anti-GMO movement that pretty much, says the same thing I’ve been saying for some time: The anti-GMO movement is filled with nothing but frauds and liars.
Saletan nails it and hits it out of the park. I have to say that I think it is most in-depth and right-on-the money article I’ve ever read on the issue.
If you’re like me, you don’t really want to wade into this issue. It’s too big, technical, and confusing. But come with me, just this once. I want to take you backstage, behind those blanket assurances about the safety of genetic engineering. I want to take you down into the details of four GMO fights, because that’s where you’ll find truth. You’ll come to the last curtain, the one that hides the reality of the anti-GMO movement. And you’ll see what’s behind it.
What Saletan finds is what we’ve all known for some time. The anti-GMO movement is full of shit. Among the issues he tackles are the Golden Rice and rainbow papaya controversies and shows how the antis keep moving the goalposts when one of their lies get blown out of the water.
I’ve never seen the duplicitous nature of the antis summed up so succinctly. I can’t praise Unhealthy Fixation enough. It’s New Yorker sized in its length, but read it. It’s all on one page! It is also the perfect article to forward to your fence-sitting friends or ones who aren’t activists but have bought into their nonsense. If I do have a criticism it’s that I wish I had written it.
I can get down with fighting the power. Actually, I’ve spent a lot of time doing just that, and working to affect policy directly. But GMO has become the unfortunate victim of anti corporate rhetoric, all the while lining the pockets of other corporations that have been decided the Good Guys.
While not as long or detailed as Saletans’s piece, he hits all the nails on their heads regarding the antis. McEhron, concentrates a little more on the corporate aspect of the issue. It hasn’t got as much traction as that other guy, what’s his name’s article, but it is just as valid and on the money
GMOs could help with the crippling Vitamin A deficiency being experienced by their young, who often go blind before puberty. GMOs are not dividing up the planet and its resources, banks and warlords are. GMO has become the unfortunate victim caught in the middle of So who has benefited from the hype of these sorts of issues overlapping? The Organic industry.
Through social media campaigns, “GMO”, “Monsanto” and “EVIL” have become synonymous. It wasn’t very hard to take the Occupy energy (with all its anti bank, anti corporate jingoism) and let it seep over into the grocer battle that’s taking place in the United States. Whole Foods is more profitable than 85% of US grocers, with the organic industry as a whole generating nearly 5 billion dollars a year.
For some time I thought I was out there alone, in the sense I wasn’t seeing liberal/left progressives calling out the bullshit of the antis. Read both pieces
What’s sad is I still am out there among some of my friends. They don’t want to hear it. They want to remain in the dogma of The Tribe.
Recently, in a Facebook post, I exasperatingly wrote:
I don’t know if I can do it anymore. I can’t stand going to comment sections and seeing the same bullshit time and time again. I think it’s time to leave it to the pros. I have nothing but contempt and derision for the Hirschbergs, Robinsons and GMOFreeUSAs. They are nothing more than lying scumbags and those who parrot their bullshit are hopeless dipshits. I find it impossible to respond civilly anymore.
Ever since I returned to writing this blog I found myself less and less enthused at yelling about the bullshit propagated by anti-GMO movement. It’s like a game of whack-a-mole with idiots.
Some of the level-headed folks on the FB thread suggested the goal be should changing the views of the honestly misinformed or informing the undecided. That’s all well and good, it’s still a chore. You shouldn’t have to keep dispelling the same lies over and over again.
I use the word lying purposely. By this time, everyone should know that all of that bullshit has been discredited, over and over again, yet they still promulgate it. There is no excuse anymore. None, zilch, nada. Anti-GMO activists and groups have become the FOXNews of the left.
Activists, on websites and in interviews always trot out the same discredited “facts” about the dangers of transgenic foods. They point to non-peer reviewed, flawed, discredited, self published studies. This movement is the FOX News of the Left. They keep repeating discredited studies as if they are true. Jeffrey Smith and Ronnie Cummins are masters of that tactic. They’re the Hannity and Limbaugh of the anti-gmo crowd.
I would now add GMO Watch’s Claire Robinson to that list.
It pisses me off that these anti-GMO miscreants are spreading fear about a safe and useful technology that can be a tool in fighting world hunger and help fight disease. And make no mistake about it, demonizing the technology in food will also transfer in the public mind to medicine.
The anti loudmouths should be called out as liars in public. I’m not talking about the dipshits on the comment boards, but the snakeheads and representatives of the anti-GMO groups.
I was altered to a recent BBC Panorama episode about GMOs and they interview former EU science advisor Anne Glover. (NGOs like Greenpeace called for her dismissal.) She was very blunt in her assessment that the anti GMO movement makes stuff up. NGOs like Greenpeace called for her dismissal. The relevant part starts at about 24:30.
I had to remove myself from a Facebook GMO group because they had these stringent rules about civility. I submit that when someone is spreading dangerous lies, despite the medical and scientific evidence and consensus; and gets treated credibly in the media, they should be treated as the menaces they are. I hold no grievances against them. I know some members from other GMO groups. Rules are rules, even if they insist upon a Neville Chamberlain approach.
It’s this pantywaist approach of being civil that has allowed these miscreants, bordering on criminals, to gain traction and get their propaganda out.
Not only are they lying scumbags and dipshits, they are public menaces. These well-fed fucks actively deny those who are poor and starving in developing countries the chance to try this technology. On a recent podcast appearance on Talk Nerdy to Me, hosted by Cara Santa Maria, my fave science communicator. Kevin Folta, quoted Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 as saying, “these people hate corporations more than they love people.” (I still contend I said that first, but that’s a minor quibble. I could just think I did. But it’s such a good quote, I probably didn’t)
So what is one to do? One thing one could do is create a group called something like March Against Myths About Modification which works to dispel the nonsense spewed by these scientifically illiterate reprobates. Wait! Someone did.
Three genuinely smart, witty and decent people created that group in response to the recent March Against Monsanto.
They are, as taken from their site
Karl Haro von Mogel is a research geneticist based in Madison, Wisconsin, active science communicator and public speaker. He spends much of his free time helping people understand the complicated science of GMOs.
Kavin Senapathy is a freelance writer, science communicator, and mother of two young children based in Madison, Wisconsin. She promotes the idea that critical thinking is key in raising well-rounded children, and that embracing biotechnology is imperative in this objective
David Sutherland is a Chicago-based artist by profession, vegan & animal rights activist in his free time. As part of his early activism he contributed efforts to anti-GMO activism. With a discovered interest in science and critical thinking he had a change of heart and mind. Now he has a mission and passion to undo those wrongs by demystifying the issues surrounding GMOs and biotech.
I hate these people, because they rock and haven’t given in to cynicism, like this old and tired guy. They still have the ability to interact civilly with the dipshits and the insane. Although, Kavin got to encounter first hand the frustration the insane creates and how civility doesn’t work when dealing with them.
She had the misfortune of meeting, face-to-face Zen Hunnicut. the person I was yelled about on that FB group.
She then asked how much Monsanto or industry paid us to be there. This is when I started losing my cool. I retorted angrily, “How much are YOU getting paid to be here? How much is the organic industry paying you to be here?” She retorted that organic is how “God intended it.” When I explained that organic is a modern construct, she became even more angry.
I explained that I didn’t mean the organic shill accusation, and that I was simply pointing out that the shill gambit is meaningless and irrelevant. She again asked in an accusing tone, “You haven’t answered my question, if even one study shows risk, then why would you subject your children to that?” Karl jumped in to discuss scientific methods but she swiftly silenced him, “I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to her. You don’t have children. You don’t know what it’s like. You haven’t had a child come from your body.”
I only know them digitally, but they’re younger, smarter and prettier than me (if that’s possible) and still have that fire in their bellies. And they’re fun. You should visit their site and if you’re so inclined, start your own local chapter.
So, what do you do when you’re tired and frustrated? I think I’ve come up with a new angle. Forgot the average dipshits. Go after the lying scumbags who run these anti groups. Take down the Smiths, the Cummins and Robinsons. Show others in public forums how these assholes are full of shit. Forget the dipshits that use them as sources.
Go after the elected officials who have sponsored or added their names to labeling laws in various states; the ones who use the miscreants like Smith as credible sources. Shame them on blogs, letters to the editors and anywhere else. If they’re one of your local or state representatives, even better.
Of course, don’t go longshoreman on them like I would. Be civil, be nice and let them know they are on the wrong side of history. But rest assured, if you do get a response, it will be some smarmy form letter thanking you for your concern and agreeing to disagree.
If you get a response like that one, then go longshoreman. All bets are off when they remain willfully ignorant. All civil bets are off.
Last year, I wrote the Connecticut legislature’s GMO Labeling Task Force suggesting they have an actual scientist testify as a counterbalance to Smith’s nonsense. From my email:
I just read that Jeffrey Smith, of the Institute of Responsible Technology will be speaking before your GMO Labeling Task Force on August 8th. I would recommend you rescind this offer as Mr. Smith is a self-styled expert on GMOs. He has no experience in science or agriculture. For some reason he is considered an expert by the media and others.
If this is not possible, I suggest you at least have actual scientists testify on this issue to counterbalance his nonsense.
I received a polite reply from Elaine O’Brien who wrote
“my intention is to gather as much information as possible. I understand that this is not a simple subject and I do not believe we should be rushing to label before we understand the issue”.
What bullshit. They didn’t have any scientists testify and not only that, a member of the legislature even coached an activist on her testimony. I didn’t follow up, which I regret.
Taking my leave, I went in search of Kathleen Furey of GMO Free NY. I asked her why, in their events around the state they gave credibility to Jeffrey Smith by screening Genetic Roulette. She asked why they shouldn’t screen it. I said because Smith is “fraud and charlatan; a yogic flying dance teacher with no scientific or agricultural credentials.” (That’s my how to win friends and influence people style.)
She asked, “Who doesn’t think he is credible?”
“The scientific community,” I replied.
“Well, I can show you scientists who do find him credible,” she said.
Me: “Like who? Seralini?”
Her: “Oh, so you don’t find him credible?”
Not surprisingly, the conversation degenerated from there. But once more I missed another opportunity when during our exchange, Furey, in defense of Smith’s non-scientific credentials, told me that she wasn’t a politician but she was able to write legislation. I was so focused on her defense of Smith that I missed a shocking revelation.
In August of 2013, I attended a so-called NY State Assembly public hearing convened by Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who sponsored a bill that would require all foods sold in NY that contain genetically modified ingredients to carry a label. Probably the one that Furey said she crafted.
While grilling three upstate farmers she really went bullygirl actually disagreeing with the farmers about their experiences with gmos. She read otherwise, she claimed, dismissing their actual experience. One of the farmers, Beth Chittenden of Dutch Hollow Farm seemed to get the bulk of her bullying.
She accused the farmers of making disparaging remarks about consumers when they suggested labeling might confuse them in thinking there was something wrong with the product. She said that the reason to be against labeling is because they (the farmers) might be afraid of what we might find out. She also said what they were saying was… “reprehensible is too strong of a word…objectionable”
Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket. What an asshole. These weren’t industry bigwigs, they were upstate family farmers trying to explain why they used gmos; their own experiences.
Right now I think I need to pay attention to my state and miscreants like Furey and Rosenthal, the latter I probably agree with on most issues
Oh and don’t get me started on the Right-to-Know bullshit. The Right-to-Know doesn’t mean squat if you don’t understand what you know. Yeah, I’m looking at you Gary Hirschberg, you duplicitous, greedy fuck.
Curiously enough, I don’t feel better after letting it out. We’re at almost 2,000 words and I could go another 2,000 easy
Update: As I was editing this post, this came across my digital transom. Kudos, Kavin.
UPDATE: This is an update of a post I did on 6/13/2014. I felt it needed to be posted again, since I just found another authoritarian country the antis love, Gambia.
Since the Anti-GMO movement doesn’t have the facts or real science their side, they hitch their wagon to anybody or anything that promotes their cause no matter how illegitimate. When they’re not doing that they’re making shit up.
Their latest nonsense is favoriting countries with less than stellar democratic leanings who are banning GMOs. Here’s GMOFREEUSA’s latest hero country
Seriously? They are celebrating a military coup because they champion organic farming? Time Magazine had this to say about the coup
Since seizing power, Thailand’s military has crushed all forms of dissent, imposed a nightly curfew and imposed severe curbs on civil liberties, and taken over all government departments.
Hey! They like Russia and Putin, too.
And of course, what list be be complete without China?
Could there be a more imbecilic movement than the Anti-GMO movement? Well, the anti-vaccine movement, but then again, many Antis belong to that movement as well.
UPDATE: Friend of the blog mem_somerville alerted me to the fact that Syria also banned GMOs. I found this
Gambia is the latest fave rave of the antis. The President of Gambia has reportedly said he will “slit the throats” of homosexuals and “no white person can do anything about it”. This March, the EU cut aid to Gambia due to human rights violations. A report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has found evidence of significant human rights violations in Gambia. See article here
There seems to be a belief that National Public Radio’s audience is educated, well informed and smart. If the comments in response to an article, The Danger Of GMOs: Is It All In Your Mind? is any indication, that belief seems to be in misguided. Or, maybe its just that the dumbass antis have invaded. My hope is that it’s the latter.
Here are a few comments that is pretty much an example of how the conversation is going, and it’s a long conversation
Altering the genetic makeup of biological organisms and introducing them to the environment introduces change. That is a fact. You change the chemical make-up of a potato, you change the process of digestion. It is not something that requires a lot of excuses. DNA is not DNA. That is why people do not look like trees and trees do not look like dogs. We don’t need GMO’s.
My problem with GMO food is more how it is farmed the the produce itself. The massive monoculture blocks of Rougndup [sic] ready fields are practically dead zones, inhabited only by those GMO crops that survive the torrents of herbicides and pesticides that are rained down upon them by the debt enthralled slaves called farmers who have little or no choice in what and how they can produce. Garbage in garbage out.
We can only hope it’s just an invasion of the imbeciles. There are rational folks there playing whack-a-mole, but it’s a losing battle.
Lately it has occurred to me that along with buying into nonsense and bad science, the Anti-GMO and organic crowd sounds like a bunch of entitled, spoiled children. Look at the GMOInside meme above. The crowd is always making demands about their food.
Who makes demands about their food and drink? Well, fed, affluent, self-entitled westerners, that’s who. More to the point, assholes.
When I was a kid, if anybody went into a store or to a farm and and demanded they sell/grow only things the way we liked, we would have been laughed out of the place. The farmers may have socked you one.
Yet, these organic antis feel they right to demand things. They have this self-entitled idea that they have the right to dictate because it’s what they believe. That’s right, believe.
My dad had a grocery store and people would come in and ask if he could stock this or that. They didn’t demand he stock it, especially at the expense of other products. If some customer came in and demanded that he stock XYZ produce instead of ABC produce, he would have told them to go somewhere else.
What kind of mental disorder does one have to have to fear their entire food supply? This has been written elsewhere, but these people should feel lucky the have ability to bitch about their food. In too many places in the world, people are starving. I think anything that works, whether it be organic, conventional, or GMO should be part of the solution.
Even better yet, how about using the best parts of all those methods? How about using what works?