Report: Many utilities are not reducing carbon emissions despite public assurances to the contrary
KNOXVILLE Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and experience rapid and deep reductions to avoid a potentially catastrophic future, according to a new analysis by air-quality and climate advocates. Emissions must reach net zero by the early 2050s to limit warming to 1.5 degrees (C) in order to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
Many utilities and municipalities have acknowledged this dynamic, but the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s fourth annual “Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast" report highlights that current utility resource plans are not in line with this overarching target. Obstacles to getting utilities on track that are discussed in our report include: increasing reliance on fossil gas, underutilizing energy efficiency, and placing limitations on popular technologies such as rooftop solar. There’s still a lot of work to do before any Southeast utility is on track to decarbonize.
It’s not just the coastlines that are recording climate change. Even the mountains of North Carolina are feeling the heat — including some endangered plants
“Atlanta reporter Dan Chapman retraced John Muir’s 1867 trek through the South, including the naturalist’s troubling legacy, to reveal environmental damage and loss that’s been largely overlooked.” This is an excerpt published by The Revelator from his book, A Road Running Southward: Following John Muir’s Journey Through an Endangered Land.
BOONE It’s a wonder anything survives the ice, snow, and winds that pummel the ridge, let alone the delicate-seeming yellow flowers known as spreading avens.
The lovely, long-stemmed perennials are exceedingly rare, officially listed as endangered, and found only in the intemperate highlands of North Carolina and Tennessee. They sprout from shallow acidic soils underlying craggy rock faces and grassy heath balds. At times blasted with full sun, but mostly shrouded in mist, the avens are survivors, Ice Age throwbacks that refuse to die. Geum radiatum is only known to exist in fourteen places, including hard-to-find alpine redoubts reached via deer trail or brambly bushwhacking.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy's fourth annual “Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast: Generation and Carbon Emissions” report will be released Wednesday, June 22
Amy Rawe is communications director for Knoxville-based Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
KNOXVILLE The report examines power-sector generation and emissions throughout the Southeast, which is home to some of the biggest utility systems in the nation, including Duke Energy, Southern Company, NextEra Energy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Many of these Southeastern utilities have been in the national spotlight for their professed commitment to decarbonization, but there are often inconsistencies between stated goals and resource plans.
Tennessee Aquarium marks a milestone in its effort to bring native brook trout back to mountain streamsWritten by Casey Phillips
Emblematic brook trout get a second chance at home in Southern Appalachian streams
Casey Phillips is a writer for the Tennessee Aquarium.
CHATTANOOGA A team from the Tennessee Aquarium, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Trout Unlimited hiked along — and occasionally waded through — a pristine tributary of South Fork Citico Creek in Cherokee National Forest.
Navigating an obstacle course of tangled mountain laurel branches and moss-slickened boulders in late May, the team followed the stream as it gently descended through the Appalachian uplands. When a calm pool or shaded rocky overhang presented itself, they paused to dip their nets into five-gallon buckets filled with wriggling juvenile Southern Appalachian brook trout.
These little fish, raised to about two inches over six months, were the focus of more than six months of work at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute and the impetus for the hours-long trek into the East Tennessee woods.
TVA sets record power day for June as region swelters and common sense degrades
This story was originally published by Hard Knox Wire.
KNOXVILLE City residents this week joined scores of others around the world — from the Southwest United States to the Indian subcontinent — sweltering through late spring with eyes toward a summer that portends to be very hot.
Whether directly attributed to climate change or not, the heat waves are causing untold misery in locations across the Northern Hemisphere, straining power grids to the brink and causing a sharp rise in heat-related illnesses.
Knoxville Utilities Board asked this week that consumers curtail their electricity use by setting their thermostats a little higher and holding off until night on energy-sucking tasks like doing laundry or running the dishwasher. That request was met in many cases with derision and unsubstantiated claims that charging electric vehicles had overburdened energy infrastructure.
So exactly how hot is it in East Tennessee and how bad is it going to get?
Cheers to Clean Water celebrants race, learn and scrub the river at Suttree Landing Park
KNOXVILLE Beneath the sound of a beckoning banjo, partiers and athletes alike paddled the shores of Suttree Landing Park, picking up trash as they floated down the Tennessee River.
The fifth Cheers to Clean Water Celebration on Saturday (June 11) featured 4k- and 8k-kayak races, a cleanup in and around the Tennessee River, and a central gathering area punctuated by booths for land- and water-based advocacy organizations.
“It’s both on water and on land, cleaning up this section of the Tennessee River,” AmeriCorps member Madison Moore said on Saturday from the park. “After the boating is over, they’ll come down here for the celebration, where we have a whole bunch of other vendors that are helping us make this day a possibility.”
The celebration promotes the importance of maintaining and cleaning major waterways like the Tennessee River.
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- Tennessee River
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6-minute video about what to do if you see a black bear
Smokies officials say euthanized bear was overweight and seeking human food
GATLINBURG Great Smoky Mountains National Park wildlife biologists and park rangers responded to Elkmont Campground on Sunday (June 12) after a peculiarly large black bear injured a toddler and her mother sleeping in a tent.
Wildlife biologists captured the responsible bear, and it was euthanized Monday, June 13, according to a news release from the park service.
“The bear weighed approximately 350 pounds, which is not standard for this time of year, suggesting the bear had previous and likely consistent access to non-natural food sources,” said Lisa McInnis, resource management chief.
UTK has quite the collection of earthly remains
KNOXVILLE The University of Tennessee boasts an incredible collection of animal skeletons — from hummingbirds to bison, according to a story from WBIR. It’s among the largest such assemblages in the country. (There are also skeletons at the Body Farm, but that’s a different story).
The skeletons are part of the UT Anthropology Department’s Vertebrate Osteology Collection.
“We have over 12,000 vertebrate specimens in our collections. So that’s 12,000 skeletons of individual animals,” Dr. Anneke Janzen, an assistant professor in UT’s Anthropology Department, told WBIR.
The collection includes skulls and skeletons ranging in size from small bats to bison. It also includes skulls of dolphins, ostriches and alligators.
“Beyond just being able to identify bones and identify different species based on tiny bone fragments, I think students have a much greater appreciation for, you know, the diversity of animal life out there and much greater appreciation for animals in our backyards as well,” Janzen told WBIR.
The collection is available for analysis by professional researchers, and parts can be seen by the public during the annual Darwin Day at the university.
Report Card for U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Operations: Failing grades in stakeholder engagement and environmental decision makingWritten by Virginia Dale
Editor’s note: As reported in Hellbender Press, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) was reprimanded by the Southern Environmental Law Center for neglecting its duty to follow guidelines and proper procedures mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Of immediate concern was OREM’s pretext and information — or specifically lack of pertinent information — released ahead of the public meeting on May 17, 2022 about its project for a new “Environmental Management Disposal Facility” (EMDF).
- environmental management disposal facility
- oak ridge office of environmental management
- national environmental policy act
- bear creek valley
- oak ridge reservation
- us department of energy
- virginia dale
- oak ridge
- national science foundation
- stakeholder engagement
- environmental decision making
- waste acceptance criteria
- bear creek
- ground water characterization
- end use working group
- tennessee water quality control act
- comprehensive environmental response, compensation and liability act
Please don’t feed or get attacked by the animals
This story was originally published by The Conversation.
Millions of Americans enjoy observing and photographing wildlife near their homes or on trips. But when people get too close to wild animals, they risk serious injury or even death. It happens regularly, despite the threat of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
These four articles from The Conversation’s archive offer insights into how wild animals view humans and how our presence affects nearby animals and birds — plus a scientist’s perspective on what’s wrong with wildlife selfies.
KNOXVILLE Knox County and the Water Quality Forum will host the fifth-annual Cheers to Clean Water Celebration and Clean-Up on Saturday (June 11) at Suttree Landing Park across the river from downtown.
The event, which includes a water race for kayaks and paddle boarders, kicks off at 11:30 a.m. and registration is open until 10:30 a.m. the day of the event. Following the race there will be a celebration that includes local vendors and booths, kids’ activities, kayaks for rental, blue grass music, food trucks, rain barrels, and prizes. The celebration and cleanup are free and open to the public. The race costs $15. Local breweries have donated beer for purchase.
“This event is a fun way to promote the importance of keeping our rivers and streams clean,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.
For a full list of prices and to register for the event click here.
The Water Quality Forum is a coalition of diverse partners including local governments, non-profits, utility companies and businesses that work together to keep East Tennessee waters clean. The Knox County stormwater office is working with the forum to host the event.
-Knox County government
Lessons in early and enduring photo techniques are an organic way to spread the arts and cultivate love of nature
KNOXVILLE Donna Moore and Anna Lawrence showed people how to take photos with the sun.
The method, demonstrated this spring at Ijams Nature Center, involved putting one or more leaves on photo paper and spraying it with two sprays. One spray contained lemon and water. The other contained water with vinegar.
Children then placed these leaves on wet photo paper in the sun. The sun’s light gives a permanent impression of the leaf on the paper.
OAK RIDGE WBIR channel 10 News 2-minute video highlighting a controversy that has been brewing for a decade.
Infographics and more details added May 5, 2022
Tree clearing would radically degrade the visual experience and take away shade crucial to enjoyment of a walk during increasingly hot weather
On April 4, TRISO-X LLC, a subsidiary incorporated last August by X-Energy LLC, disclosed plans to build a plant at Horizon Center to manufacture a new kind of “unmeltable” tri-structural isotropic nuclear fuel (TRISO) for high-temperature pebble-bed gas reactors. It will use uranium, enriched to less than 20 percent, to fabricate spherical, billiards-ball sized High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) pebbles.
situated among sensitive natural areas, was designed as an upscale light-industrial and office park. Despite its fancy landscaping with sculpture gardens, it failed to attract the many buyers that had been anticipated when it was created a quarter century ago. A principal argument for its establishment was that Oak Ridge needed to attract more private enterprise to reduce dependency on Federal jobs.
Terragenics’ $38 million plant, which was built to manufacture implantable radioactive pellets to treat prostate cancer never went into full production and was abandoned in 2005. 2015, with Governor Haslam in attendance, Canadian CVMR promised 620 jobs, using the plant for it’s first U.S. production site and to move its headquarters to it from Toronto, too.
Initial Advance Knox growth studies available for review
KNOXVILLE The Advance Knox State of the County Report outlining the conditions and trends that are currently impacting the lives, work, and travel of Knox County residents has been completed and is available on the project website.
The report provides a detailed overview of the county’s geography, demographics, economic well being, and infrastructure. The result is a thorough summary of population, land utilization, development potential, economic growth, employment, housing, and infrastructure data.
“This report is a baseline, a starting point, the first step in creating a new comprehensive land use and transportation plan for Knox County,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “It shows us where we are and will help us determine the most responsible ways to manage future development and infrastructure.”
Now that this report is complete, the project team is working on scenario planning by analyzing data to help illustrate possible strategies for guiding the county’s future growth. This work will be presented at public meetings in the fall.
Advance Knox is a unique opportunity to align land use and transportation goals and create a fiscally responsible blueprint to help guide decisions about where and how future growth and infrastructure investments will occur.
-Knox County Government