Category Archives: Keurig

Climate change makes hurricanes like Harvey more likely.

The only problem: That’s not what the data shows.

In “the early days of all of the Obama administration regulations, everyone said the sky is falling, we’re going to have to fix all of these plants simultaneously,” energy consultant Alison Silverstein said during a panel last Friday. “Um, not so much. It turns out that when people have to actually do a job they find cheaper ways to do it.”

Silverstein, a veteran of the Bush administration, was tasked by fellow Texan Rick Perry to write a Department of Energy report analyzing the data on coal plant closures. But she found that regulations and renewable energy did not play a significant role in shutting down coal-burning power plants. The aging plants were instead condemned by cheap natural gas and falling electricity demand.

According to Silverstein, the Energy Department pushed back on her results, which did not support the hoped-for conclusion. Her draft report was leaked to the press in June, and the DOE released the final report in August, largely unchanged.

Nevertheless, in September, Perry submitted a rule requesting subsidies for nuclear and coal plants, citing Silverstein’s report for support. It was “as though they had never read it,” Silverstein said. Not a bad guess.

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Climate change makes hurricanes like Harvey more likely.

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Rick Perry’s Department of Energy really, really wants to prove that regulations kill coal.

The only problem: That’s not what the data shows.

In “the early days of all of the Obama administration regulations, everyone said the sky is falling, we’re going to have to fix all of these plants simultaneously,” energy consultant Alison Silverstein said during a panel last Friday. “Um, not so much. It turns out that when people have to actually do a job they find cheaper ways to do it.”

Silverstein, a veteran of the Bush administration, was tasked by fellow Texan Rick Perry to write a Department of Energy report analyzing the data on coal plant closures. But she found that regulations and renewable energy did not play a significant role in shutting down coal-burning power plants. The aging plants were instead condemned by cheap natural gas and falling electricity demand.

According to Silverstein, the Energy Department pushed back on her results, which did not support the hoped-for conclusion. Her draft report was leaked to the press in June, and the DOE released the final report in August, largely unchanged.

Nevertheless, in September, Perry submitted a rule requesting subsidies for nuclear and coal plants, citing Silverstein’s report for support. It was “as though they had never read it,” Silverstein said. Not a bad guess.

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Rick Perry’s Department of Energy really, really wants to prove that regulations kill coal.

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As new pipeline battles ramp up, the DOJ vows to prosecute activists who stop construction.

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As new pipeline battles ramp up, the DOJ vows to prosecute activists who stop construction.

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Singing protesters interrupt a White House presentation at COP23.

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Singing protesters interrupt a White House presentation at COP23.

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Sean Hannity fans are destroying Keurig machines for all the wrong reasons.

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Sean Hannity fans are destroying Keurig machines for all the wrong reasons.

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Bad news: Global emissions are on the rise again.

The only problem: That’s not what the data shows.

In “the early days of all of the Obama administration regulations, everyone said the sky is falling, we’re going to have to fix all of these plants simultaneously,” energy consultant Alison Silverstein said during a panel last Friday. “Um, not so much. It turns out that when people have to actually do a job they find cheaper ways to do it.”

Silverstein, a veteran of the Bush administration, was tasked by fellow Texan Rick Perry to write a Department of Energy report analyzing the data on coal plant closures. But she found that regulations and renewable energy did not play a significant role in shutting down coal-burning power plants. The aging plants were instead condemned by cheap natural gas and falling electricity demand.

According to Silverstein, the Energy Department pushed back on her results, which did not support the hoped-for conclusion. Her draft report was leaked to the press in June, and the DOE released the final report in August, largely unchanged.

Nevertheless, in September, Perry submitted a rule requesting subsidies for nuclear and coal plants, citing Silverstein’s report for support. It was “as though they had never read it,” Silverstein said. Not a bad guess.

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Bad news: Global emissions are on the rise again.

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4 Different Methods for Preparing Your Morning Coffee

Turns out, theres more to making a cup of coffee than simply pressing brew on your coffee machine. In fact, outside of the U.S., many people are left shaking their heads at the concept of brewed coffee and its lack of thick, rich texture and flavor. And the differences of opinion over coffee prep arent solely rooted in snobbery did you know there are actual health differences between different preparation methods?

Whether youre concerned about your cholesterol levels, in searchof a more flavorful cup of joe, or just hoping to increase your coffee-making finesse, heres what you need to know about the pros and cons of the top four coffee preparation methods.

Brewed Coffee

Lets start off with brewed coffee, the most popular preparation method in the United States. This method involves putting a few scoops of ground coffee beans into an electric coffee maker, usually over a filter. Water is then heated and pumped through the machine, dripping down over the ground beans. As the water drips through the beans and the filter, it picks up the flavorsof the coffee beans and results in a nice, flavorful cup of coffee.

Now, lets consider the benefits and drawbacks. One of the biggest benefits of brewed coffee is its convenience factor. You simply turn the machine on (or use a timer to set it to brew at a particular time) and, as long as youve put your water, filter and coffee grounds into the machine, youll get a cup of coffee about five minutes later.

The main drawback, of course, is that its pretty easy to make your coffee too weak or too strong. Many coffee snobs complain that brewed coffee is, well, watery which makes sense, when you think about it.

French Press

By contrast, French press coffee is made by mixing coffee grounds directly with water. Youll need a French press machine to do this, of course. After steeping for about four minutes (youll adjust this based on how strong youd like your coffee to be), you press the machines filter through the coffee to strain out the grounds.

The biggest downside of a French press is that has a minor difference for your health. Some students suggest that the absence of a filter causes coffee oils to remain in the coffee, which can impact your cholesterol levels.

Coffee oils are most potent in coffees where the grounds have the longest contact with the water during brewing, states Healthline. A French press, which brews coffee by continually passing water through the grounds, has been shown to have greater concentrations of cafestol. Brewing in an American-style coffee pot with a filter, on the other hand, has relatively low levels, as the beverage is only passed through the grounds once. Most of the cafestol is left behind in the filter no matter what the roast.

Pour-Over/Chemex

Pour-over coffee, which is often associated with the popular Chemex machine, is kind of the best of both worlds. It utilizes a filter (which can help keep out cholesterol-raising coffee oils) but it offers the flavor and character of a hand-brewed coffee.

You can make your own pour-over system simply by tying some cheesecloth around a medium-sized bowl, placing ground coffee beans on top, and then slowly pouring hot water over the grounds into the bowl below. Of course, you can also invest in a machine such as the Chemex or a similar type of product.

The main drawback to pour-over coffee is that its arguably the most labor-intensive. You have to pour hot water slowly over the coffee beans, which means its a very hands-on process.

Keurig

Finally, the newest option for coffee preparation: the Keurig machine. There are plenty of other brands that manufacture machines similar to the Keurig (Nescafe is one of them), but Keurig was the first, and remains the most popular, machine of its kind.

The Keurig is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is place a pre-made K-cup (a plastic cup filled with coffee grounds) in your machine, add water, and press brew. Youll soon have a single cup of coffee ready to enjoy. Because the amount of groundsin each cup is standard, theres little room for error, so youre unlikely to end up with watery coffee.

Of course, those of us who care about protecting the planet will already know that single-serve coffee pods come with a MAJOR drawback: Theyre horrible for the environment. If you enjoy making single-serve coffee, the best way to make your coffee more environmentally friendly is to spring for a reusable K-cup filter that can easily be put in your machine. You just add regular coffee grounds to the reusable cup, push brew, and clean the filter when youre done.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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4 Different Methods for Preparing Your Morning Coffee

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Coffee Pod Sales Will Soon Surpass Regular and Instant Coffee

Theyre calling it the Clooney effect. Single-use coffee pods are flying off supermarket shelves at a faster rate than ever before, possibly aided by actor George Clooneys persuasive good looks in European Nespresso advertisements since 2006 and, more recently, in the United States.

Kantar Worldpanelrecently announced that coffee pod sales of brands such as Nespresso, Tassimo, and Dolce Gusto (owned by Nescaf) willsoon overtake standard roast and ground coffee after an increase of 29.5 per cent over the last 12 months, bringing sales to 137.5 million. During the same period, sales of roast and ground varieties rose by only 2.5 per cent to 167 million.(The Telegraph) In its report, based on data from 986 million households across 35 countries, Kantar goes on to explain that the global market has expanded 16 percent in the past year, with particularly strong growth in France and Spain.

Photo Credit: Daniel Lobo/Flickr

This is sad news for those of us who wish that more sustainable consumer practices would infiltrate the mainstream. There is nothing green about coffee pods, no matter what the manufacturers tell you. The recycling claims aremostly bogus, as the used pods are a mix of plastic, aluminum foil, and coffee grounds that must be separated by hand in order for recycling to occur. It remains, as Lloyd wrote earlier, design for unsustainability, regardless of how manufacturers want to spin it.

Shipping pods across the country to make the world’s most expensive compost out of the coffee and lawn chairs out of the plastic doesn’t make a lot of sense. As for the people who try to separate the components themselves, there are not that many of them; if they are willing to do that, they probably have the time and energy to make a real pot of coffee.

Change did seem imminent. Earlier this year thecity of Hamburg, Germany, banned the purchase of all coffee pods using council money in an attempt to reduce waste. A YouTube video called Kill the K-Cup got many others thinking about where their used pods end up long after the cup of coffee has been finished. Even the Keurig cup inventor hasexpressed regretat unleashing such an environmental nightmare into the world. And yet, Kantar reveals that sales continue to climb, likely due to the sheer convenience of having to do nothing but press a button.

Coffee capsules have helped create the holy grail of marketing: a new category combining the indulgence of caf culture with the convenience and speed of the capsules.

Nespresso advertises on a historic building in Turin, Italy. Photo Credit: Lloyd Alter

This, despite the fact that pods are ridiculously expensive compared to high quality beans. Pods can work out to cost between 30 and 50 dollars per pound, which is a vast difference from the $16 I shell out every couple weeks for a pound of fairtrade, shade-grown beans.The Telegraph citesKantar analyst Ed John: An average cup of regular instant coffee costs only 2 pence (3 U.S. cents). A caf-style instant is 17p (23) while the fastest growing sectorpodscost an average of 31p (41) per cup.

Pods makes no sense for any reason other than convenience, and even that could be argued: its not that difficult to boil water and push down a French press. But, like so many other environmentally destructive practices, people need to be willing to put in a tiny bit more effort in order to lessen their footprint significantly and yet, Kantars findings show that people really dont seem to care. How sad.

Written by Katherine Martinko.This post originally appeared onTreeHugger.

Photo Credit: Tim Lossen/Flickr

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Coffee Pod Sales Will Soon Surpass Regular and Instant Coffee

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This veggie burger is so juicy it literally bleeds

Disclaimer: This burger is not vegetarian. Shutterstock

This veggie burger is so juicy it literally bleeds

By on May 24, 2016Share

At this point, we all know how bad meat is for the planet. A short list of the impacts of meat cultivation on land include deforestation, overgrazing, compaction, and soil erosion. One pound of beef requires about 1,800 gallons of water to produce. And our carnivorous tendencies produce, according to some estimates, as much as 50 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — more than cars, planes, trains and ships combined.

But it’s delicious, which is probably why 84 percent of vegetarians eventually go back to eating it (including this writer and at least 20 percent of the Grist staff). A person can only convince themselves that veggie burgers don’t taste like compacted sawdust for so long — until, possibly, now. A Los Angeles-area startup claims to have produced a veggie burger that can meet all your red-blooded desires.

Beyond Meat creates meat products sans meat, and their latest venture, the Beyond Burger, promises to look, taste, and feel just like the real thing. And apparently there’s an eager market for it: The Beyond Burger launched in the meat aisle — right alongside beef, poultry, pork, and lamb — at a Whole Foods in Boulder, Colo., Monday, and sold out within an hour, according to the company.

Unlike most veggie burgers, which are commonly blends of black beans and soy mash, the Beyond Burger is made of 20 grams of pea protein. The reviews, so far, are positive: A Whole Foods exec said it “tasted, felt and chewed like any other burger.” (Although, given that Whole Foods is selling it, maybe take that with a grain of organic, free-range salt.) It also looks like one — the burger “bleeds” beet juice when you bite into it.

Here it is, in all its flesh-free glory:

Plant-based alternatives to animal products make up a burgeoning trend: The New York Times reports that foods made from plant protein grew almost 9 percent from 2014 to 2015 — nearly three times the growth of overall food sales.

Unfortunately for vegetarians — or anyone — hankering for a convincing slab of pea protein to throw on the grill this summer, you’re going to have to wait: The Beyond Burger is currently only available in the Boulder Whole Foods (know your audience, as they say), but the company hopes to expand to other markets next year.

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This veggie burger is so juicy it literally bleeds

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You’ve geeked out over “An Inconvenient Truth.” Watch these next.

You’ve geeked out over “An Inconvenient Truth.” Watch these next.

By on May 24, 2016Share

Along with a good chunk of the environmental space, Grist is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the release of An Inconvenient Truth, the Oscar-winning documentary that dragged climate change in front of the eyeballs of millions. (Check out our complete oral history of the film and interviews with the activists, politicians, and artists it influenced.)

Perhaps you’re in celebration mode, too, and have re-watched the documentary in all its early-2000s Keynote glory. (If not, you can for free today!) Perhaps you’re feeling inspired. Stand tall! Sub out that incandescent sack of filaments for a lovely compact fluorescent lamp! You’re an environmentalist!

Now wipe your brow with a recyclable, grab an armload of in-season fruit, and binge watch these classic environmental docs next.


Food, Inc.

From Participant Media (the same folks that produced An Inconvenient Truth), Food, Inc. tells the story of our utterly zany industrial food system. After watching, this author stopped eating fast food for good (though, to be honest, not for lack of desire). Watch: Netflix.

Gasland

Josh Fox’s documentary on hydraulic fracturing helped launch the anti-fracking movement. A true conversation about climate change isn’t “possible without the awareness An Inconvenient Truth brought,” he told Grist, but here’s a conversation-starter, by way of the energy system. Watch: Netflix.

Chasing Ice

Photographer James Balog traveled to the Arctic to capture photos of dramatically receding — and in some cases, disappearing — ice. If you weren’t already convinced climate change is serious, these glaciers beg to differ. Watch: Netflix.

This Changes Everything

When Naomi Klein published This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate in 2014, she pointed to climate change as an opportunity to rework our entire economic system. But what about the people in that system? The film project of the same name is, according to director Avi Lewis, “a portrait of community struggle around the world on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction and the climate crisis.”

For the optimal dose of anger and action, don’t sub the book out for the movie: Soak ’em both in back-to-back. Watch: iTunes, Amazon.

Under the Dome

China has an air pollution problem. In Under the Dome, that problem is laid out with pressing slideshow wizardry. Remind you of another environmental movie? Deborah Seligsohn, former principal adviser to the World Resources Institute’s China energy and climate program, points to the documentary as An Inconvenient Truth’s most immediate descendent. “In four days, it had 250 million views on the web. That’s the influence,” she told Grist. Watch: YouTube (below!).

Catching the Sun

Catching the Sun confronts the big questions imposed by a burgeoning global solar industry. Is a 100-percent solar-powered world achievable? And if so, who stands to benefit? Director Shalini Kantayya has called mainstream environmentalism “a thing for the privileged.” As she told Grist, “If you have extra money, you can put solar panels on your home or pay for organic food.”

The documentary is Kantayya’s take on where environmentalism should be heading. Spoiler alert: It’s a story of hope, not doom. Watch: Netflix.

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You’ve geeked out over “An Inconvenient Truth.” Watch these next.

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