Archive for September, 2023

Meet Charlie!

September 23rd, 2023 No comments

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Charlie is a gorgeous fox red lab, 8 weeks and 1 day old. Serious bloodline, from a small family kennel in central Washington State.

More photos coming tomorrow when he wakes up!


We’re bonding for a week or so at Perch Point Wild Camping Area, on Potholes Reservoir, just south of Moses Lake, Wa.

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Who Are The Luddites Now?

September 21st, 2023 No comments

Climate Criminals Attack Much Needed Technological Improvements

Corporations are now the Luddites, opposing the science and technology we need to respond to the climate emergency

I am a lifelong student of the history of science and technology and a strong critic of mindless technology, going back decades since my 1974-75 High School AP English class titled: “Technological Man – Alienated Man” where I was introduced to the ideas and literary classics (too long a list to discuss here). My mother was a reader and huge fan of Lewis Mumford and had his books available in our home, so long before that, I attempted to understand these ideas as a child.

People seem to forget that not so long ago, there were academic programs and an entire public policy field – including laws and institutions like the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment – designed to analyze the social, environmental, and cultural effects of technological “advance” and mitigate harms and slow the pace of technology in a capitalist society.

Ironically, in light of the current popularity of the movie “Oppenheimer”, much of the post WW II body of academic critique and literature grew out of a strong reaction of disgust to the atrocity of the US dropping of the atomic bomb, as much or more than the reaction to Nazi “science and technology”, which produced the industrial efficiency and large scale extermination of millions.

Those moral and political sentiments later gained political relevance as part of the huge public political movement against the Vietnam War, where corporate funding of the military-industrial complex and academic programs at elite universities – like MIT, Berkeley, and Stanford – that produced such technological “innovations” as agent orange and the Cold War theory of “mutual assured destruction” (MAD), the insane society ridiculed by Stanley Kubrick’s movie Dr. Strangelove.

We later saw the emergence of the “No More Nukes” campaign as well.

Sadly, all that history seems to have been relegated to Orwell’s Memory Hole. Technology is now cool. The failed US proxy war in Ukraine promotes freedom and human rights. Orwell was right: War is Peace.

And an even far more toxic historical irony now has emerged: the corporations are now the Luddites, by opposing the science and technology we need to respond to the climate emergency.

After just now watching tonight’s NJ Spotlight news coverage of the Murphy DEP’s proposal on electric vehicles, I fired off this email to climate criminal Ray Cantor of the NJ BIA and the usual suspects:

Dear Mr. Cantor: Why are NJ corporations blocking climate reforms, frustrating consumer choice, and erecting barriers to technological improvements to advance efficiency and quality of life?
Just who are the Luddites now?
Bill Wolfe
PS – and I am a strong supporter of the Luddites, who got a bad rap in their opposition to destructive technology and capitalism. That valid critique does not apply in this case.
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Murphy DEP’s Latest Climate “Action” Plan [SCAP] Is A SCAM And Roadmap For More Delays

September 21st, 2023 No comments

DEP Keeps Vague Plans & Press Releases Coming, While Abdicating Regulatory Responsibilities

DEPplans to develop unspecified incentive programs”

DEP & BPU Application of the Social Cost of Carbon is “a process that would take at least five years

A few weeks back, I closed a piece that exposed the stealth DEP delay of the “extreme heat” plan with this prediction:

And you can be sure that the mitigation measures adopted in the DEP plan will lack regulatory teeth and funding required to implement them and that they will be delegated to local government and reliant on the voluntary actions of the private sector.

Those predictions were just vindicated by the release of Murphy DEP’s draft “State Climate Action Plan” [Because bureaucrats crave acronyms, its call SCAP. I’ll call it SCAM].

A reader does need to get farther than page 15 of the SCAP to document that, so let me excerpt the revealing text and then briefly translate its meaning:

“While it is clear that no state agency or set of regulatory reforms alone can bring about these necessary structural changes, the Department is proud to do its part to support, and as appropriate, help lead the State’s efforts in conjunction with its agency partners – with particular emphasis on climate change impacts as a threat multiplier for those communities that experience environmental injustices – by working to enhance the State’s resilience to those climate effects that cannot be avoided while simultaneously reducing emissions of climate pollutants in order to limit a worsening of adverse climate change impacts. (p. 15)

The Department recognizes that it alone cannot affect the structural, economic, and societal changes necessary to reduce the worsening effects of climate change. Rather, meeting the State’s climate goals requires deliberate and coordinated action by all levels of government, economic sectors, communities, and individuals. Therefore, as appropriate, the Department has identified and intends to offer its full support to its key partners in these efforts, providing assistance, guidance, and leadership wherever and in whatever form necessary to ensure the protection of our shared future. (p. 16)

This is more pure bureaucratic speak for abdicating DEP’s regulatory responsibilities and moral obligations.

It’s obvious that the culture war language about  “structural change” (DEP’s translation of “structural racism”) has now infected DEP’s regulatory policy.

The real term for environmental regulatory mandates that make dramatic change is “technology forcing” (this policy is currently distorted by the use of the term “technological innovation”, a not so subtle shift to attributing the source of change from government mandates and government funding to private sector research and market based incentives). There are multiple historical examples of technology forcing regulatory mandates, from regulatory bans and phase outs of chemicals (lead, PCB’s, asbestos, ozone depleting chemicals, etc), to vehicle mileage standards, to the acid rain program under the Clean Air Act, which was NOT a “market based approach” but actually the result of enforceable legal and numeric regulatory standards and timetables implemented in EPA issued air pollution control permits).

The Murphy DEP has thrown all these huge successes of regulatory mandates down Orwell’s Memory Hole in pursuit of a Neoliberal corporate ideology.

The DEP’s phrase “coordinated action by all levels of government” is a euphemism for DEP to continue to issue these vague and toothless “strategic” planning documents – backed by exaggerated self praising press releases – while:

1) abdicating DEP’s planning and regulatory powers,

2) delegating DEP’s responsibilities to local government, 

3) promoting privatization (e.g. the off shore wind program is heavily subsidized Wall Street and a corporate profit driven boondoggle), and

4) relying primarily on market forces, “incentives”, and voluntary actions by the private sector and individual consumers.

The term “providing assistance, guidance, and leadership” means more of the same rhetorical approach of the Murphy administration: press releases and toothless Executive Orders (few media reporters and “environmental leaders” seem to understand that an Executive  Order does not have the force and effect of law). By explicit omission of the word “regulation”, it’s a subtle capitulation to the corporate attacks on mandates (building electrification, EV’s, gas stoves, etc) and means that DEP will not regulate.

This latest DEP “Strategic plan” is a surrender – pure and simple – parading under the guise of “leadership”. (see also:

A close reading of the DEP SCAP also reveals that DEP admits that the 2007 Global Warming Response Act is toothless, something I criticized from day one in a Sunday Star Ledger Op-Ed (October 7, 2007):

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The DEP subtly admits the fact that the GWRA is toothless – check out how they evasively did that (i.e. “limitations” … “in reaching the goal”):

As required pursuant to the GWRA and following New Jersey’s 2019 EMP update which set the blueprint for large-scale electrification and 100% clean energy by 2050, on October 15, 2020, the Department delivered to the Legislature NewJersey’s Global Warming Response Act 80×50 Report (80×50 Report), which builds upon the EMP and communicates the limitations of existing State legislation, policies, and programs in reaching the 80×50 goal by providing detailed recommendations, across eight distinct emissions sectors to assist policymakers in crafting new initiatives to bridge the resulting emissions reductions gap. (p. 16)

I’ll end this initial overview now and will review the complete DEP SCAP document in a subsequent post.

In closing, let me just say that it was embarrassing to read today’s NJ Spotlight coverage of the Murphy DEP SCAP.

First, I was embarrassed for Doug O’Malley, who again reveals himself as a Murphy Administration cheerleader:

Environmental groups rallied around the plan. Doug O’Malley of Environment New Jersey, praised it, saying it rightly focuses on the two main sources of climate-warming pollution — vehicles and buildings. The two contribute nearly 39% and 26% of the greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey, respectively. 

The Murphy administration just repudiated “mandates” and ran away from the tepid move to electrify buildings in response to political attacks by the fossil fuel funded business community (“they’re coming to take our gas stoves”). The administration is backtracking on wind – at best, delays despite even more subsidies – the DEP might fold on the recently proposed California car program.

They are almost in full retreat, and put out another vague and toothless “Strategic plan”, and Doug ignores all that and praises them? Are you kidding me?

Second, NJ Spotlight – and Ray Cantor – are clearly responding to this recent criticism – there are several specific examples in today’ NJ Spotlight story:

Third, I was embarrassed for Tom Johnson, a veteran reporter who has simply given up and surrendered to “the political narrative”, facts be damned.

I sent the note below to NJ Spotlight editors and staff:

Maddi – I spent almost 15 years at DEP (at a policymaking level) and another 20 years in the environmental community (Sierra Club policy director, NJ PEER Director), so as an expert I can assure you that your blurb and Tom Johnson’s story today got the story exactly wrong. See below email for the dispositive quote from DEP’s Climate “Action” Plan.

Tom J. has been writing for as long as I’ve been in Trenton at DEP (1985), so I find it astonishing that a veteran professional journalist could write embarrassing sentences like this to support your “full steam ahead” “no compromise” “won’t back down” “double down” false narrative:

“Instead of natural gas or other fossil fuels, the plan suggests heating and cooling homes with electric heat pumps. It recommends the state Board of Public Utilities set goals and timelines for building decarbonization with the initial target addressing new construction and oil- and propane-fueled buildings.

The state plans to develop unspecified incentive programs to subsidize the cost of building decarbonization, including using federal money from a law passed by Congress in 2022. “

To be clear, what the highlighted text above actually means is for DEP is to continue  to do nothing. (I suspect you do not know that current NJ law obligates DEP to join the California car program (EV sales), so the DEP’ proposed California car regulation is not an achievement of the Murphy administration because they were legally required to do so).

Finally, I was pleased to read the closing lines that mentioned the social cost of carbon, but this caveat gives the game away:

“a process that would take at least five years. ”

The US EPA is already using the social cost of carbon in regulatory policy.

With respect to “extreme heat”, as I recently wrote, the DEP has delayed proposal of that plan as well, and will rely primarily on voluntary measures, market based tools, and local government, not DEP’s regulatory and permit authority that governs land use, see:

Despite Record Breaking Heat, Murphy DEP Quietly Delays Extreme Heat Action Plan

I closed that piece with this prediction, which was vindicated by the DEP SCAP “Action Plan”:

“And you can be sure that the mitigation measures adopted in the plan will lack regulatory teeth and funding required to implement them and that they will be delegated to local government and reliant on the voluntary actions of the private sector.”

You really need to talk to John Mooney and Tom Johnson, because they are destroying the credibility of NJ Spotlight.

Bill Wolfe

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Leaving Port Townsend

September 14th, 2023 No comments

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And summertime was falling down and winter was closing in
Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout
And all that stays is dying and all that lives is getting out
See the geese in chevron flight flapping and racing on before the snow
They’ve got the urge for going and they’ve got the wings so they can go
They get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown ~~~ Tom Rush version (1968)

I got the urge for going and I got the wings to go.

After a long summer of some joy but much suffering (we lost our best friend Bouy), we head out today for the long adventure to our winter desert home.

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Although that awesome dog can never be replaced (tribute forthcoming), we are excited and can’t wait to pick up a new fox red lab puppy next week.

We’ll post photos of our new puppy pal and the summer’s scenes over the next weeks.

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Corporate Climate Criminals (And Their Paid Puppets In Media) Are Lying About The Costs Of Climate Chaos

September 13th, 2023 No comments

Once Again, NJ Spotlight Prints Corporate Lies About Costs With No Mention of Costs Of Climate Chaos 

NOAA Report Documents Increasing Billion Dollar Extreme Climate Disasters

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Backed by corporate fossil money, the NJ business community has mounted another campaign of climate denial, lies, and political attacks on renewable energy. This time, after targeting off shore wind and gas stoves, the corporate climate killers are focusing on electric vehicles (read their campaign letter).

The climate emergency and climate science are increasingly being used as political footballs in traditional partisan attacks and in the culture wars as well. And the lies – particularly the huge lies of omission – and the rhetoric are heating up faster than the climate!

For example, Ray Cantor of the NJ BIA – a former Christie DEP Deputy Commissioner and Republican partisan legislative aide – has even gone so far as to accuse the Murphy DEP of  engaging in “climate-fear ideology over science-based reality” and demanded that DEP “must stop imposing ideological policies”.

NJ Spotlight once again printed these corporate lies about costs as facts, and did so with no rebuttal and no mention of the well documented costs of the climate emergency, known in the jargon as “the social costs of carbon”.  EPA issued that Draft Report last year, and it got no coverage by NJ Spotlight or other NJ media that I am aware of.

Amazingly, just days ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report on the HUGE costs of climate driven storms and catastrophes: (Read the NOAA Report)

The U.S. has sustained 371 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2023). The total cost of these 371 events exceeds $2.615 trillion.”

2023 in Progress…

In 2023 (as of September 11), there have been 23 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect United States. These events included 2 flooding events, 18 severe storm events, 1 tropical cyclone event, 1 wildfire event, and 1 winter storm event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 253 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2022 annual average is 8.1 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2018–2022) is 18.0 events (CPI-adjusted).

But there was no coverage of this NOAA report and NOAA science by NJ Spotlight and NJ media.

There has been no reporting on the trillion dollar subsidies to fossil, documented by the International Monetary Fund (surely no green outfit!) see this IMF Report:

This paper provides a comprehensive global, regional, and country-level update of: (i) efficient fossil fuel prices to reflect supply and environmental costs; and (ii) subsidies implied by charging below efficient fuel prices. Globally, fossil fuel subsidies were $7 trillion in 2022 or 7.1 percent of GDP.

Ray Cantor, NJ BIA revolving door hack

Ray Cantor, NJ BIA revolving door hack

Yet Ray Cantor and his corporate lying friends want to continue to build along the NJ shore, along flood prone NJ rivers, and in highly combustable NJ Pinelands forests.

These reckless corporate fossil criminals want to expand the production of fossil fracked gas, build more fossil pipelines and block the transition to renewable energy by stopping the development of off shore wind, electric vehicles, and electrification of buildings.

These people are climate criminals who should be in jail, not given a platform and bullhorn in NJ media.

And NJ media must stop the lies by omission and start printing the facts, like the EPA Social Costs of Carbon Report, the IMF fossil subsidy Report, and the NOAA Billion Dollar Disaster Report.

(Disclaimer: Contrary to NJ Spotlight, this site accepts no corporate money and does not publish “sponsored content”. The content is exclusively our own.)

[End Note: My disclaimer was targeted at this absurd “Editors note”, appended to the bottom of the NJ Spotlight story. They just so happened to run “Sponsored content”  on the same day and the same subject matter:

Editor’s note: Sponsored content from New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s campaign appears on NJ Spotlight News today. 


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