Thursday News: They learned nothing


PASQUOTANK DEPUTY KILLS ANDREW BROWN WHILE SERVING WARRANT: Tensions were high in a small North Carolina city on Wednesday after a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a Black man. Deputies were executing a search warrant Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City when Andrew Brown Jr. was shot, the Pasquotank County sheriff said. The sheriff, Tommy Wooten, offered few other details about what happened and said the State Bureau of Investigation is taking the lead. Brown was 42 years old, online records show. He was a father of 10, WAVY reported. Brown’s son, Khalil Ferebee, said his father didn’t own guns, according to the The Virginian-Pilot. “He wasn’t a violent person,” Daniel Bowser, who said he and Brown were friends for nearly 30 years, told The News & Observer. “He didn’t mess with guns, he didn’t tote no guns.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Pandemic recovery is boosting coal burning


2021 is shaping up to be a really bad year for global emissions:

The pandemic abruptly slowed the global march of coal. But demand for the world’s dirtiest fuel is forecast to soar this year, gravely undermining the chances of staving off the worst effects of global warming.

Burning coal is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, and, after a pandemic-year retreat, demand for coal is set to rise by 4.5 percent this year, mainly to meet soaring electricity demand, according to data published Tuesday by the International Energy Agency, just two days before a White House-hosted virtual summit aimed at rallying global climate action.

Any time you have an economic setback, the "easy way forward" is the first to get chosen. Coal deposits are still abundant, even after a few centuries of sustained mining, and they are relatively easy to access. In other words, it will take a continued (global) effort to promote alternatives, or the human race will always revert to that "easy" approach when economic pressure comes to bear. We have made much progress in the right direction:

Wednesday News: Petty tyrant


TIM MOORE STRIPS JULIA HOWARD OF CHAIRMANSHIP AFTER ETHICS TUSSLE: The move comes after Howard, one of the longest-serving members of North Carolina’s General Assembly, publicly opposed a bill that was backed by Moore and would benefit some North Carolina lawmakers who received federal coronavirus relief money from the Paycheck Protection Program. The bill, if signed into law, would give tax breaks to businesses that received those loans, including dozens of lawmakers’ businesses. By revoking Howard’s chairmanship, Moore acted swiftly to punish a challenge to his control. With the legislature sharply divided along party lines, infighting in the speaker’s party presents a challenge to his ability to advance his, and his party’s, agenda.

Tuesday News: Scam artists


MADISON CAWTHORN JOINS GOP COLLEAGUES IN "RECURRING DONATIONS" TRICK: Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, an Asheville Republican in the 11th district, is using two pages for his campaign with the boxes automatically checked for monthly recurring donations. One follows his push two weeks ago for turning Trump’s border wall into a national monument, which Cawthorn has dubbed the “Donument.” Cawthorn’s communications director, Micah Bock, referred questions to campaign staff. He only provided an email address for contact. No one responded. He then suggested contacting WinRed, a for-profit company that processes donations for many Republicans. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Concord Republican in the 8th district, has a fundraising page with the opt-in box pre-checked for a monthly contribution. Rep. Dan Bishop, a Charlotte Republican, is raising money off of a webpage set up by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s campaign that has the box checked for monthly contributions, and a second pre-checked box that would draw another donation at the end of this month.

The biomass bait-and-switch: From scraps to whole trees


This was both predictable and preventable:

Several Enviva mills were soon processing material from logging sites and sawmills throughout the region. Environmental groups say they have documented truckloads of logs and whole trees, not just leftovers, entering pellet mills. Publicly available images show logs stacked at mills, and a reporter outside a pellet mill entrance saw trucks of logs entering.

Pellet makers’ pledges to rely on waste wood “painted them into a corner,” said Robert Abt, a forest economist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, because the wood-products industry already used its supplies relatively efficiently, leaving little waste.

Around 2009 or so I got into a protracted (online) debate with an NC State grad student about burning biomass as a replacement for coal. I could not get him to admit that, eventually, the industry would grow to the point it would need to consume whole trees instead of detritus. Which he stubbornly claimed would be "more than enough" to satisfy demands. But aside from the deforestation issues, the environmental justice impact of these plants is horrendous:


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