Follow Ups

This past week found numerous news items easily subsumed by those dealing with the run up to the election. Among these were two dealing with matters Analysis has covered recently. 10-26-16 Financial Times headlines “Renewables overtake coal as world’s largest source of power capacity Though coal still generates more electricity, wind and solar installations hit record”. Notable is: “Two wind turbines went up every hour in countries such as China, according to International Energy Agency officials who have sharply upgraded their forecasts of how fast renewable energy sources will keep growing. “We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the global energy advisory agency. Part of the growth was caused by falls in the cost of solar and onshore wind power that Mr Birol said would have been “unthinkable” only five years ago.” “Average global generation costs for new onshore wind farms fell by an estimated 30 per cent between 2010 and 2015 while those for big solar panel plants fell by an even steeper two-thirds, an IEA report published on Tuesday showed. The Paris-based agency thinks costs are likely to fall even further over the next five years, by 15 per cent on average for wind and by a quarter for solar power.” A power plant’s capacity is the maximum amount of electricity it can potentially produce. The amount of energy a plant actually generates varies according to how long it produces power over a period of time. Because a wind or solar farm cannot generate constantly like a coal power plant, it will produce less energy over the course of a year even though it may have the same or higher level of capacity. Coal power plants supplied close to 39 per cent of the world’s power in 2015, while renewables, including older hydropower dams, accounted for 23 per cent, IEA data show. But the agency expects renewables’ share of power generation to rise to 28 per cent by 2021, when it predicts they will supply the equivalent of all the electricity generated today in the US and EU combined. It has revised its five-year forecasts to show renewables’ capacity will grow 13 per cent more than its estimate made just last year, mostly because of stronger policy backing in the US, China, India and Mexico. Here in Ohio, AEP has successfully pressured the legislature to call a “time out” on a previously legislated percent requirement for energy generated from renewables. AEP has unsuccessfully obtained a consumer paid subsidy for its unneeded coal fired power plants (to be kept in service as “back ups”). Failing that, they are now in the process of try to divest ownership of these power plants (selling them). Analysis finds Tim Bubb’s embrace of this corporation for its “investment” in the County subsidized Pastakala Corporate Park to be short sighted and uninformed. In an Analysis post entitled “On An Aspirin Regimen” (9-16-16) another, this time global corporate activity, was considered. Residual amounts of glyphosate are found in much of the basic food people have available to eat – even “organic” mountain honey. Studies of this resulted from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) finding glyphosate (the major toxic component of Monsanto’s Round Up) to be a likely carcinogenic. Now in true Donnie Trump style we have this Reuters exclusive “WHO cancer agency asked experts to withhold weedkiller documents” by Kate Kelland (10-25-16). In the mode of suing the sources of criticism, and historically in the foot prints of the tobacco industry’s suppression/intimidation of research on the effects of nicotine (as well as energy industries’ like behavior in regard to global warming), “The World Health Organization’s cancer agency – which is facing criticism over how it classifies carcinogens – advised academic experts on one of its review panels not to disclose documents they were asked to release under United States freedom of information laws. In a letter and an email seen by Reuters, officials from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cautioned scientists who worked on a review in 2015 of the weedkiller glyphosate against releasing requested material. The review, published in March 2015, concluded glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” putting IARC at odds with regulators around the world. Critics say they want the documents to find out more about how IARC reached its conclusion.” “Its critics, including in industry, say the way IARC evaluates whether substances might be carcinogenic can cause unnecessary health scares. IARC assesses the risk of a substance being carcinogenic without taking account of typical human exposure to it. Glyphosate is a key ingredient of the herbicide Roundup, sold by Monsanto. According to data published by IARC, glyphosate was registered in over 130 countries as of 2010 and is one of the most heavily used weedkillers in the world. Pressure has been growing on the experts who worked on IARC’s glyphosate review in part because other regulators, including in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan and New Zealand, say the weedkiller is unlikely to pose a cancer risk to humans.” The article primarily turns on the ownership of the research and the legality of its disclosure. IARC researchers work in various institutions and facilities worldwide, some of them government affiliated (like universities). Global corporate interests are also world wide and utilize individual national laws to force disclosure of findings while sanctioning their own research results as “private”, trade secrets. “Monsanto’s vice president of strategy, Scott Partridge, told Reuters he considered IARC’s actions “ridiculous.” “The public deserves a process that is guided by sound science, not IARC’s secret agendas,” he said. Responding to Reuters’ questions about the letter and email, IARC said it had been previously informed by experts on the panel who “had been approached by interested parties, including lawyers representing Monsanto . . . and asked to release private emails as well as draft scientific documents.”” Despite the quaint attraction of Newark’s Canal Street Market, Analysis finds this news to be further indication of corporate efforts to legally obfuscate what is in food and where it comes from. Analysis finds it hard to imagine vendors like the Byrd Farm informing their buyers that “Oh, by the way, what you just bought includes a healthy dose of glyphosate.” Glyphosate free? Not.

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