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Messages - Sigmetnow

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1
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 26, 2017, 08:30:00 PM »
Diet, Including Eating Less Beef, Dropped Americans' Carbon Emissions by 9%
The carbon footprint of the average American's diet has shrunk by about 9 percent, largely because people are eating less beef, according to a new report.

Changes in the American diet—lower consumption of not only beef, but orange juice, pork, whole milk and chicken—meant that the average American's diet-related greenhouse gas emissions dropped from 1,932 kilograms in 2005 to 1,762 in 2014....
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/22032017/beef-climate-change-diet-global-warming-carbon-footprint

2
“Someone should do something. But that someone clearly isn’t going to be the federal government.”

Citizens must hold government accountable on climate
By Bill McKibben
...So who’s going to stand up? The answer, for the moment, is states and cities. On Wednesday, the governors of the West Coast states and the mayors of most of its big cities put out a stirring joint message: “We speak as a region of over 50 million people with a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion. There is no question that to act on climate is to act in our best economic interests. Through expanded climate policies, we have grown jobs and expanded our economies while cleaning our air.” They would, the officials promised, keep at it. They added that they hoped other local and regional leaders would “join us in leading and re-affirming our commitment to cut carbon emissions and reverse the damaging impacts to our communities of unfettered pollution.” ...
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/03/23/citizens-must-hold-government-accountable-climate/g2mCXt9rZZtrfiRZjNOs2O/story.html

3
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: March 26, 2017, 03:25:25 PM »
Jing-Jin-Ji: China Planning Megalopolis the Size of New England
... While it is supposed to become a motor for innovation and growth within China, some experts think Jing-Ji-Ji could also become a model of sustainable growth for the rest of the country and the world.

"All eyes are on the Jing-Jin-Ji region as a testing ground for innovative solutions," according to an October 2015 report by the Paulson Institute, a think-tank founded by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Jr.

Hebei, China's most industrialized and polluted province and the main source of smog in Beijing, also has strong winds and higher than average sunlight. This could translate into wind and solar power and ease its transition to low-carbon manufacturing. ...
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/china/jing-jin-ji-china-planning-megalopolis-size-new-england-n734736

4
Oslo is one of 12 cities which plans to phase out cars in the near future.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/these-major-cities-are-starting-to-go-car-free

5
Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: March 25, 2017, 10:16:44 PM »
These will come as no surprise:

1)  Vice President Mike Pence, speaking in West Virginia coal country today: "The war on coal is over...a new era of American energy has begun."  (By which he means coal is good.  But he promises them nothing except they "will not be forgotten.")
https://twitter.com/cnnnewsroom/status/845703020151279617

2) Curry, Pielke, Christy -- all three superstars of climate denial will appear before the US House Science Committee next week!
https://www.facebook.com/SkepticalScience/posts/10154655804538335

6
Consequences / Re: 2017 ENSO
« on: March 25, 2017, 08:51:37 PM »
Weird Coastal El Nino Clobbers Peru: 80 Killed, $1.4 Billion in Damage
...
What’s puzzling this time is that the 2014-16 El Niño, the strongest since 1997-98, officially ended more than half a year ago, and it didn’t bring exceptional rain to Peru. Weak La Niña conditions then took hold in late 2016, only to quickly dissipate in early 2017. Meanwhile, sea-surface temperatures off Peru—where the concept of El Niño originated—have skyrocketed since the first of the year. The Niño1+2 region has been running more than 2.0°C above average since late February (see Figure 2 above). This warming has been so strong, and the rainy pattern so clear, that Peru’s national agency for El Niño research, ENFEN, issued a coastal El Niño alert that’s been in place since February 15. Meanwhile, the broader-scale Pacific pattern still hasn’t meshed with the standard El Niño criteria used by NOAA and other international agencies.
...
https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/weird-coastal-el-nino-clobbers-peru-80-killed-14-billion-in-damage

7
Countries Keep Joining the Paris Climate Agreement
Countries from all corners of the world continue to formally join the Paris Agreement in another sign that international climate action will continue in the Trump-era. Since Trump was elected president, 34 countries have formally joined the Paris Agreement, with 16 countries taking that step since the beginning of 2017. This brings the total number of parties to the Paris Agreement to 137, accounting for over 82 percent of the world’s emissions. ...
https://www.nrdc.org/experts/jake-schmidt/countries-keep-joining-paris-climate-agreement

8
California Air Resources Board votes to keep emissions requirements, vowing to protect the environment even if the EPA won’t
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted unanimously to continue implementing higher emissions standards in their meeting on Friday.  This sets California’s clean-air agency up for a fight against the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which recently signaled that they aren’t too interested in doing their job of actually protecting the environment.

The emissions rules require automakers to average 54.5mpg (by the less stringent CAFE standard) over all new vehicles by 2025.

California has long had a special waiver through the Clean Air Act which allows the state to set stricter standards than the federal government when it comes to auto emissions.  CARB has used that waiver to implement stricter emissions standards, require different gasoline mixes unique to California, and to enforce a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate for automakers, requiring them to sell a certain percentage of ZEVs if they want to continue doing business in California.

And California’s actions have been extremely successful.  Anyone who lived near Los Angeles in the 60s and 70s will remember “smog days” where people were encouraged not to go outside because the air was dangerous to breathe, and will remember that the mountains which surround the city were obscured from sight by thick smog on all but the clearest of days.  But because of California’s strict emissions regulations, vehicle-related pollution in the Los Angeles basin has dropped by a whopping 98 percent since the 60s, even though LA now uses almost three times as much gasoline as it did then. ...
https://electrek.co/2017/03/25/california-air-resources-board-votes-to-keep-emissions-requirements-vowing-to-protect-the-environment-even-if-the-epa-wont/

9
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 24, 2017, 11:12:56 PM »
Big Oil Replaces Rigs With Wind Turbines
Big oil is starting to challenge the biggest utilities in the race to erect wind turbines at sea.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Statoil ASA and Eni SpA are moving into multi-billion-dollar offshore wind farms in the North Sea and beyond. They’re starting to score victories against leading power suppliers including Dong Energy A/S and Vattenfall AB in competitive auctions for power purchase contracts, which have developed a specialty in anchoring massive turbines on the seabed.

The oil companies have many reasons to move into the industry. They’ve spent decades building oil projects offshore, and that business is winding down in some areas where older fields have drained. Returns from wind farms are predictable and underpinned by government-regulated electricity prices. And fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business as forecasts emerge that renewables will eat into their market. ...
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-23/oil-majors-take-a-plunge-in-industry-that-may-hurt-fossil-fuel

10
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 24, 2017, 11:07:38 PM »
Why rust belt states are tackling methane when Trump won't
Nobody raises an eyebrow when California takes steps to rein in air pollution – but what’s going on when conservative-leaning rust belt states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania are doing the same?

At a time when the Trump administration and Congress seek to scale back federal rules targeting methane emissions from energy production, a growing number of states that swung in favor of Trump in 2016 are heading in the opposite direction.

It reminds us that states that recognize good policy still have the power to act, regardless of who controls Washington. Ohio and Pennsylvania, now following in the footsteps of Colorado, Wyoming and California, are the latest examples of this. ...
https://www.edf.org/blog/2017/03/22/why-rust-belt-states-are-tackling-methane-when-trump-wont

11
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 24, 2017, 11:05:06 PM »
The President hailed the State Department's approval today of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as a big win for American workers.  But:

Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 permanent jobs
http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/24/investing/keystone-pipeline-jobs-trump/

And environmentalists have not given up the fight:

Keystone Foes Prepare to Fight as Trump Readies Pipeline Permit
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-23/keystone-foes-prepare-to-fight-as-trump-readies-pipeline-permit

12
Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but India...
« on: March 23, 2017, 03:41:34 PM »
750 Megawatt Solar Project In India Will Receive Loan At 0.25% From World Bank
The solar power project that has taken the Indian market by storm is set to receive debt funding at perhaps the cheapest possible rates.

Rewa solar power park will receive debt finance at just 0.25% from the World Bank. A few weeks back, a competitive auction for the 750 megawatt (MW) solar power park in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, yielded the lowest-ever tariff for a solar power project in India. The contract for development of the solar park has been awarded to three companies that will set up 250 megawatts of capacity each....
https://cleantechnica.com/2017/03/22/750-megawatt-solar-project-india-will-receive-loan-0-25-world-bank/


Electrek says:
This is just below the going rate for banks that borrow directly from the United States (or really rich people who have hard collateral). The World Bank does have political reasons for giving a loan like this and the loan is probably backed by India. Nonetheless, big names like this giving big money like this are important – for one, that one group is doing it means others will soon follow. And that means 1GW solar power plants will get built a lot more often.
https://electrek.co/2017/03/23/electrek-green-energy-brief-worldbank-loan-at-0-25-for-750mw-trump-says-no-to-carbon-tax-more/

13
Paris Climate Agreement could be accomplished with the world economy gaining $19 trillion, says report
A new report is out this week examining the feasibility of the Paris Climate Agreement, with recommendations to policymakers as to how it might be accomplished and what effects its adoption would have on the world economy. The study concludes that, in a conservative case, the world could gain .8% GDP in 2050, or $19 trillion cumulatively between now and then. In a more optimistic scenario, the agreement could actually add 2% to global GDP by 2030. In fact, according to the report, “reducing the impact on human health and mitigating climate change would save between two- and six- times more than the costs of decarbonisation.”
...
The report actually states that additional investment in energy supply would not need to significantly exceed current planned levels in order to meet climate targets – but that planned investment would need to go into clean sources, rather than dirty ones.  The additional net total investment required is just .3% of global GDP, as long as there is a balanced decline of fossil fuel investment and increase of low-carbon investment.
...
https://electrek.co/2017/03/22/paris-climate-agreement-economy/

14
Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: March 22, 2017, 05:39:18 PM »
Coal in 'freefall' as new power plants dive by two-thirds in 2016
The amount of new coal power being built around the world fell by nearly two-thirds last year, prompting campaigners to claim the polluting fossil fuel was in freefall.

The dramatic decline in new coal-fired units was overwhelmingly due to policy shifts in China and India and subsequent declining investment prospects, according to a report by Greenpeace, the US-based Sierra Club and research network CoalSwarm.

The report said the amount of new capacity starting construction was down 62% in 2016 on the year before, and work was frozen at more than a hundred sites in China and India. In January, China’s energy regulator halted work on a further 100 new coal-fired projects, suggesting the trend was not going away.

Researchers for the groups said a record amount of coal power station capacity was also retired globally last year, mostly in the US and EU, including Scotland closing its last one.

One of the reasons for the fall in new plants was that too much capacity had been built in recent years, particularly in China.
...
In total, 64GW of coal capacity was retired last year, mainly in the US and EU. Despite US President Donald Trump saying on Monday that he is preparing a new executive order to help America’s ailing coal industry, campaigners echoed analysts who have said he is unlikely to be able to significantly stop its decline.

“Markets are demanding clean energy, and no amount of rhetoric from Donald Trump will be able to stop the fall of coal in the US and across the globe,” said Nicole Ghio, senior campaigner at the Sierra Club, a US-based NGO which has managed to force many US coal plants to close over the last decade....
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/22/coal-power-plants-green-energy-china-india

15
Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: March 22, 2017, 04:48:09 PM »
Battery energy density is not yet where we need it to be, but given the curve of battery improvement, this is a noteworthy goal.

A new startup is trying the more ambitious goal of building a battery-powered 150-seat plane to compete with 737-size aircrafts in the market for short-haul trips (under 300 miles).
https://electrek.co/2017/03/22/electric-plane-startup-150-seat-battery-powered-plane/

16
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: March 22, 2017, 04:37:54 PM »
California bills propose 'clean peak' standard to boost renewables deployment

• Lawmakers in the California Assembly and Senate have introduced legislation to encourage more clean energy resources in the state in order to address peak load, reliability and to avoid the need for new fossil fuel generation.

• The bills would require utilities to deploy clean energy during peak demand in order to meet California's aggressive greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals, while mandating the California Public Utilities Commission determine a percentage of kWh each peak-load time period to be served with clean energy.

•The bills build upon a proposal in Arizona, where the state consumer advocate proposed tweaks to the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that could maximize the value of new capacity by adding a timing component.
...

Electrek says:
California looking to specify renewables for peak moments – The gist – California legislators are attempting to restructure the power market so it makes more sense economically for renewable energy to be applied to the very expensive peak demand areas. The reason we ought watch these types of legislation is that places like California are at the cutting edge of power markets and how we’re going to monetize clean energy. Funny that we’ve so quickly progressed from renewables can’t scale and are expensive, to there are too many renewables and they’re so cheap we need to change everything.
https://electrek.co/2017/03/22/electrek-green-energy-brief-sunpower-ceo-doubtful-on-musks-ability-to-deliver-california/

17
Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: March 22, 2017, 04:29:42 PM »
The short video in this article dissects a Tesla battery cell and examines what's inside.  Their testing resulted in 95% capacity remaining after 500 cycles of the Tesla cell, compared with only 70% capacity using Panasonic's "off the shelf" formulation.

Tesla battery cell breakdown shows what is inside and difference with Panasonic’s regular cells
https://electrek.co/2017/03/22/tesla-battery-cell-breakdown/

18
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 22, 2017, 04:10:31 PM »
US crude inventories rise by 5 million barrels, EIA says
Oil prices slipped to almost four-month lows on Wednesday after data showed U.S. crude inventories rising faster than expected, piling pressure on OPEC to extend output cuts beyond June.

A deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017 has had little impact on bulging global stockpiles of oil.

OPEC, which sources say is increasingly leaning towards extending cuts, has broadly delivered on pledged reductions so far, but non-OPEC states have yet to cut fully in line with commitments.

"OPEC has used up most of its arsenal of verbal weapons to support the market. One hundred percent compliance by all is the only tool they have left and on that account they are struggling," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

Benchmark Brent crude was down 83 cents at $50.13 per barrel at 10:35 a.m. ET (1535 GMT). U.S. light crude was down 89 cents at $47.35 a barrel, slipping towards its lowest in almost four months.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 5 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.8 million barrels.
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/21/oil-prices-fall-on-bloated-us-crude-storage.html

19
Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: March 22, 2017, 01:01:03 AM »
"U.S. sees furious start to the wildfire season http://buff.ly/2n9mXU4 via @USATODAY"
https://twitter.com/climatenexus/status/844215804317122560

Wildfires have charred a whopping 2 million acres across the U.S. so far this year, an area larger than the state of Delaware.

It's a gigantic number for so early in the season, roughly 10 times the average and also the most acres burned as of mid-March since 2006, according to spokeswoman Jessica Gardetto of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

Many of the blazes have been massive grass fires in Oklahoma and Kansas, which have both set records for number of acres burned in March, Gardetto said....

20
Science / Re: 2017 Mauna Loa CO2
« on: March 22, 2017, 12:51:07 AM »
"current CO2 about 3 months ahead of last year. Another way of describing the constant increase I suppose"
https://twitter.com/rms5539/status/844226907088601088

21
Science / Re: 2017 Mauna Loa CO2
« on: March 22, 2017, 12:48:54 AM »
On an hourly basis, CO2 reached 410 ppm over the weekend—likely for the first time in human history.

https://twitter.com/co2_earth/status/844183597678383107

22
Citroën unveils an all-electric version of its Berlingo compact van
• Real-world range is expected to be around 120 km (75 miles).
It’s not a lot, but it could be enough for some applications or to commute in cities.
• Citroën has yet to announce the price of the new all-electric vehicle, but they confirmed that they plan to start production at their Vigo production site as soon as May.
https://electrek.co/2017/03/21/citroen-all-electric-berlingo-van/

23
The record warmth this winter, then a sudden hard freeze last week, has caused crop losses aporoaching a billion dollars in South Carolina and Georgia alone.  Severe weather is forecast for later this week.

Widespread damage from Southeast freeze ...


I would also post this comment in the Food thread in the Consequences section.

Done!

24
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 21, 2017, 03:28:31 PM »
The record warmth this winter, then a sudden hard freeze last week, has caused crop losses aporoaching a billion dollars in South Carolina and Georgia alone.  Severe weather is forecast for later this week.

Widespread damage from Southeast freeze
At least 90 percent of the peach crop in South Carolina (the nation’s top peach producer behind California, with a typical crop value of $90 million) was wiped out by freezing temperatures late last week, according to the state’s agriculture commissioner. The state’s wheat and corn fields also suffered heavy damage, reported WISTV. A less severe freeze in Georgia may have ruined anywhere from 25 to 75 percent of that state’s peach crop. Blueberries across the Southeast also experienced major damage, as summarized by Louisville, KY, broadcast meteorologist John Belski. It dropped to 25°F in Gainesville, FL, on Thursday morning, the coldest reading for so late in the year in more than a century of Gainesville records. Jacksonville’s 28°F was also a record for so late in the year. Update: Total crop losses in South Carolina and Georgia could approach $1 billion, according to an AP report filed Monday afternoon.
https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/tornado-risk-amping-up-this-week-and-beyond

25
Consequences / Re: Sea Level Rise and Social Cost of Carbon
« on: March 21, 2017, 03:25:18 PM »
Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters
Sea level rise is making floods more common and as the New Jersey resort braces for the next Sandy, the well-heeled Florida city is throwing money at the problem
“We can have floods at the drop of a hat,” Burke said. “Without even realizing we’re going to have them. It’ll be raining and within seconds you’ll see flooding in the street. You don’t read about it in the paper. You don’t hear about it on the radio or television. You just have water that just comes up and if you don’t have warning and move your car, you have water in the car.”

These flooding events have increased seven-fold in Atlantic City since the 1950s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and are spurred by rainfall or simply a spring tide abetted by unhelpful gusts of wind. ...
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/20/atlantic-city-miami-beach-sea-level-rise

26
The record warmth this winter, then a sudden hard freeze last week, has caused crop losses aporoaching a billion dollars in South Carolina and Georgia alone.  Severe weather is forecast for later this week.

Widespread damage from Southeast freeze
At least 90 percent of the peach crop in South Carolina (the nation’s top peach producer behind California, with a typical crop value of $90 million) was wiped out by freezing temperatures late last week, according to the state’s agriculture commissioner. The state’s wheat and corn fields also suffered heavy damage, reported WISTV. A less severe freeze in Georgia may have ruined anywhere from 25 to 75 percent of that state’s peach crop. Blueberries across the Southeast also experienced major damage, as summarized by Louisville, KY, broadcast meteorologist John Belski. It dropped to 25°F in Gainesville, FL, on Thursday morning, the coldest reading for so late in the year in more than a century of Gainesville records. Jacksonville’s 28°F was also a record for so late in the year. Update: Total crop losses in South Carolina and Georgia could approach $1 billion, according to an AP report filed Monday afternoon.
https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/tornado-risk-amping-up-this-week-and-beyond


Arizona doesn't usually see 90° (32°C) until mid-May.
NWS Tucson:  Another record has fallen, the daily high at Tucson. We hit 93 at 12:57 pm breaking the old record of 92 set in 1997. #azwx
https://twitter.com/nwstucson/status/843921901412122629

27
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 20, 2017, 01:46:48 PM »
Bullish Bets on Crude Cut by Most Ever as Price Falls Below $50
The exodus of oil-price optimists has begun.

Money managers cut bets on rising West Texas Intermediate crude by a record amount during the week ended March 14, while wagers on a further price drop doubled as oil remained below $50 a barrel.

"It’s sort of a negative feedback loop, where money managers were selling because the price was falling, and the price was falling in part because money managers were selling,” said Tim Evans, an analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York, in a telephone interview.

Bets on rising WTI crude during the report week were reduced by the most on record in data going back to 2006, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced Friday. The cuts came as prices tumbled below $50 a barrel for the first time this year, and anxious executives discussed rising U.S. rig counts at an industry meeting in Houston....
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-19/bullish-bets-on-crude-cut-by-most-ever-as-price-falls-below-50


The output of a group of big U.S. E&P companies fell by 1.8 percent in 2016, having grown by 11 percent annually on average in the prior six years.
...
...margins per barrel plummeted by almost 75 percent between 2014 and 2016:...
https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-03-17/u-s-shale-companies-should-thank-saudi-arabia

28
Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: March 19, 2017, 07:55:41 PM »
"Very warm and dry conditions have been in place since last week, says Bob Henson of wunderground.com. Boulder topped out at 81 degrees (27°C) on Saturday, making it the second earliest 80-degrees reading on record."

Wildfire Near Boulder, Colorado, Prompts Evacuation of More Than 1,000 Homes
https://weather.com/news/news/colorado-boulder-sunshine-fire-evacuations


Edit: wind, temperature, humidity, fire danger maps at the llink.

NWS:  Strong winds, low humidities, and unusually warm temperatures are producing critical fire weather conditions in the South/Central Plains.
https://twitter.com/nws/status/843503190448521216

29
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 18, 2017, 07:31:11 PM »
Professor Terry Hughes:  Two-thirds of the corals on red reefs died between March and October. They won't recover in your lifetime.

2016 bleaching on #GreatBarrierReef published this week in Nature. Red; 60-100% of colonies bleached, Orange; 30-60%
https://twitter.com/profterryhughes/status/842902468316938240

The Great Barrier Reef has already been badly damaged by global warming during three extreme heatwaves, in 1998, 2002 and 2016. A new bleaching event is under way now.
https://theconversation.com/year-on-year-bleaching-threatens-great-barrier-reefs-world-heritage-status-74606

30
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: March 18, 2017, 06:28:19 PM »
U.S.:  The Block Island Wind Farm posted an impressive performance as winter storm Stella barreled through Rhode Island earlier this week.
All five turbines at the wind farm three miles off Block Island were operating at full capacity (30 megawatts) during much of the powerful storm Tuesday, according to Deepwater Wind’s performance data.

The wind farm produced clean power throughout the bulk of the storm, except for a window of several hours when sustained wind speeds exceeded 55 miles an hour. That’s the designated high-wind limit when the wind farm is designed to automatically power down and feather its blades until winds calm.

During that automatic shutdown, the wind farm successfully weathered winds that topped out at approximately 70 miles an hour. Once wind speeds decreased below the 55 mph threshold, the wind farm powered back up and resumed normal operations....
http://dwwind.com/press/project-update/

31
...
Fracked natural gas powered cars are just as bad as coal powered ones - 29mpg. We need much more renewables and nuclear for a low carbon future, and a lot more trains, buses, motorcycles, bicycles and walking.

And hyperloops!   ;)

32
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 18, 2017, 05:58:36 PM »
I might get some flack but I think that genetic modification or advanced hybridization might be the only avenue for maintaining crop yields and avoid widespread famine...
The best avenue to avoid widespread famine is to have fewer babies.
(Not disputing your comment though)

The viscious cycle is that women need more children to work the fields to grow enough food to survive.  An affordable, regular supply of food and water would lessen the need for more children.

33
Consequences / Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
« on: March 18, 2017, 05:41:36 PM »
From deep Africa, where population growth is exponential, given that women marry at very young age and give birth to very many children:
"Having lots of children is the norm because they bring wealth (“they come with two hands to work but only one mouth to feed”). So why have four when you could have seven?"

According to the article, women don't want to use contraceptives, even when they are readily available, because they like to have many children.

The article illustrates why population growth is sure to continue for many decades to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger
This article is so depressing. Such a poor country with such a high birth rate and such a culture. Totally hopeless.The only questions remaining are when will Niger collapse, and in what manner (Widespread famine? Civil war? Attacking neighbouring countries? A fundamentalist revolution? All of the above?)

I don't know of any woman that wants to have many many kids. It does awful thinks to their body. It is usually due to religion or coercion (husbands).

One reason for having many children is they are another set of hands to work the fields, to carry water, etc.  More children in that sense means more wealth; and given that infant moratlity rate is high, each additional child is a kind of "insurance."  If acquiring food and water were made less labor-intensive, fewer people per family would be required for survival.


34
Science / Re: 2017 Mauna Loa CO2
« on: March 17, 2017, 08:26:16 PM »
2016 data, but still....

"China CO2 emissions from fossil fuels down 1%, US down 3%  & EU flat says @IEA - global emissions flat for 3rd yr in a row"
https://twitter.com/jschmidtnrdc/status/842779914298449920

"This matters. But this is like smoker holding steady at 3 packs a day—emissions are still accumulating in the atmosphere at record rates."
https://twitter.com/ericholthaus/status/842781585334190081

Carbon Dioxide Is Rising at Record Rates
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/carbon-dioxide-record-rates-21242

35
Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:40:48 AM »
Robert Reich writes:

It’s important to see Trump's massive budget cut in federally funded research -- eliminating the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency; slashing the National Institutes of Health; eliminating or drastically cutting research by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – for what it really is.

It’s part of Trump’s war on truth.

Throughout modern history, demagogues and tyrants have attacked scientists, researchers, investigators, analysts, professors, and all other sources of truth, including journalists. Some have even burned books.

That’s because tyrants don’t want independent sources of truth. Truth threatens their power. They want a monopoly on information, in order to keep the public in the dark. The most revolutionary act in a democracy is speaking truth to power, and spreading the truth so that others may speak it as well.

Trump tells big lies, attacks the independent press, and slashes funding for research. Connect the dots.
https://www.facebook.com/RBReich/posts/1507081802637744

36
Trump Can't Stop Cars From Getting More Energy-Efficient
Economics (and performance) are driving efficiency gains, as much as the EPA.
In recent years, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards have stayed largely flat, but they did so as Americans rushed to buy SUVs and trucks. The fact that, collectively, America is still going just as far on a gallon of gas as it did a few years ago is an engineering marvel. Last year, more than half the vehicles purchased in the U.S. were trucks and SUVs, according to IHS.

Three things, in particular, have helped move the needle on mileage in those big rigs: aluminum alloys that make for lighter body panels, cylinders that shut down when they aren't needed, and turbo units, which give engines a bit more oomph only when asked, as opposed to all the time. Also helpful on the efficiency front: engines that shut off at stop lights and continuously variable transmissions.
...
Meanwhile, Trump's imperative to add U.S. production may be a far tougher trick for the auto industry than hitting efficiency goals. U.S. vehicle sales have long been in overdrive, goosed by low interest rates and increasingly generous financing terms. Now delinquencies on car loans are rising, and dealers have increased incentives to keep the metal moving.

The last time U.S. auto production outran demand, the industry had to shut dozens of factories and haul in a $70 billion government buyout before the market stabilized. Dan Luria, an analyst who has advised the United Auto Workers union, said opening new plants at the moment is "the nightmare scenario" for auto companies. ...
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-16/trump-can-t-stop-cars-from-getting-more-energy-efficient

37
Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: March 16, 2017, 08:23:35 PM »
U.S. Representatives from districts in parts of the country on the front lines of climate change announce a bipartisan statement against the risks of climate change and supporting action against it.

Republicans Break Ranks With Pledge to Fight Climate Change
Seventeen conservative Republican members of Congress—10 of them in their first or second terms—are bucking long-time party positions and the new occupant of the White House. They announced on Wednesday that they’re supporting a clear statement about the risks associated with climate change, as well as principles for how best to fight it.

Called the “Republican Climate Resolution” by supporters, the statement by House members takes about 450 words to mention conservative thought on environmentalism, support for climate science, feared impacts, and a call for economically viable policy. They pledge in general terms to support study and mitigation measures, “using our tradition of American ingenuity, innovation, and exceptionalism.”
...
These bills are interesting in the way that solar energy is, even though solar makes up 1 percent of U.S. power generation. Like solar power, Republican climate bills are noteworthy not because one is likely to pass anytime soon, but because massive external forces—markets, other governments, and climate change itself—may eventually force it into the foreground....
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/republicans-break-ranks-pledge-fight-142146159.html

38
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 16, 2017, 06:25:47 PM »
“There’s something inherently different about the oceans now — and in this case about the tropical Pacific Ocean — than there was three years ago.”

Climate Change Has ‘Permanently’ Changed the Great Barrier Reef
Scientists speculate that the era of never-ending global coral bleaching may have already arrived, decades early.
...“The first widespread record of an El Niño causing coral bleaching was in 1982–83,” Hughes said. “An even bigger event, far bigger, occurred in 1998. That was the first time that the Great Barrier Reef bleached. So we went from a pre-bleaching period where El Niños were harmless, and because of the rising baseline temperature, they’ve become the triggers of bleaching events.” That rising baseline temperature is directly related to climate change.
...
That’s mostly because steadily warming oceans have shortened the recovery time between bleaching events. Quick-growing corals in the Great Barrier Reef require 10 to 15 years to fully recover from a mass-bleaching event, and long-lived species may require many decades. That kind of breathing room is “no longer realistic,” according to Hughes and his colleagues, as long as global temperatures keep rising. As a result, “the assemblage structure of corals is now likely to be permanently shifted at severely bleached locations in the northern Great Barrier Reef.” ...
https://psmag.com/climate-change-has-permanently-changed-the-great-barrier-reef-64227c9d4eec

39
Policy and solutions / Re: Better Tomorrows
« on: March 16, 2017, 04:50:07 PM »
No more slums? New technologies can help house 100 million more people
Technology is transforming the housing industry and paving the way for lower and middle income families to afford decent homes.
90-second video.
http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000600866

40
Parking spots are still hot property, but ride-sharing is changing that
A parking space in Park Slope, Brooklyn, recently sold for a whopping $300,000 — more than the cost of a condo in some parts of the U.S. The jaw-dropping price tag doesn't shock experts considering the location; but with increasing interest in ride- and car-sharing, the value of such parking spaces could deflate.
...
Thanks to the rise of on-demand ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, the need to have a car (and a parking space) is lessening even for daily commuters. A recent study by NerdWallet found that in 7 of 11 cities including New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco, commuting to and from work using UberPool was cheaper than owning and driving a car.

"We often think that the DIY approach is going to be cheaper than paying someone for a service," noted Amy Danise of NerdWallet. "It's cheaper to fix your own faucet or paint your own dining room, but our study shows that in some cases it may not be cheaper to have a car in order to get to work."
...
"We see millennial buyers in urban areas selling their cars," said Stokes, adding that these buyers are also more open than ever to living in areas that aren't right next to a metro station.

"Five to seven years ago proximity to public transportation was paramount," said Stokes. "With ride-sharing, car-sharing, and even bike-sharing we see buyers not nearly as needing of being half a mile to a metro."

It should be noted that if you already own a parking space, but want to ditch your car, you could probably make some great money renting the space out.

"In D.C. you can cover the mortgage portion of your housing payment for the space by renting it out," said Stokes. "That's why, if it's available, we always advise buyers to buy the space: There will be value in it."
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/16/parking-spots-are-still-hot-property-but-ride-sharing-is-changing-that.html

41
Here's where the big northeast U.S. storm delivered more than promised:

Binghamton, New York, Has Seen Its Two Biggest Snowstorms on Record in Less Than 4 Months
https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/binghamton-new-york-two-heaviest-snowstorms-2016-2017-season

42
Policy and solutions / Re: Ships and boats
« on: March 16, 2017, 01:05:00 AM »
Green finance for dirty ships
New ways to foot the hefty bill for making old ships less polluting
SHIPPING may seem like a clean form of transport. Carrying more than 90% of the world’s trade, ocean-going vessels produce just 3% of its greenhouse-gas emissions. But the industry is dirtier than that makes it sound. By burning heavy fuel oil, just 15 of the biggest ships emit more oxides of nitrogen and sulphur—gases much worse for global warming than carbon dioxide—than all the world’s cars put together. So it is no surprise that shipowners are being forced to clean up their act. But in an industry awash in overcapacity and debt, few have access to the finance they need to improve their vessels. Innovative thinking is trying to change that....
http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21718519-new-ways-foot-hefty-bill-making-old-ships-less-polluting-green-finance

43
U.S. cities, defying Trump, seek to dangle $10 billion order for EVs
Los Angeles began spearheading the effort for a joint electric-vehicle order during the run-up to the Paris climate accord in late 2015. The request to automakers went out earlier this year, initially with an order for 24,000 vehicles from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Twenty-six other cities have since joined, including Boston, Denver, Kansas City and Houston.

Nearly 40 automakers, truck makers, bus makers and others have responded so far, Petersen said.

Dozens of U.S. cities are willing to buy $10 billion of electric cars and trucks to show skeptical automakers there's demand for low-emission vehicles, just as President Donald Trump seeks to review pollution standards the industry opposes.

Thirty cities including New York and Chicago jointly asked automakers for the cost and feasibility of providing 114,000 electric vehicles, including police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is coordinating the effort. That would be comparable to about 72 percent of total U.S. plug-in sales last year.

"No matter what President Trump does or what happens in Washington, cities will continue leading the way on tackling climate change," Matt Petersen, Los Angeles's chief sustainability officer, said in an email.
http://www.autonews.com/article/20170314/OEM/303149926/cities-defying-trump-seek-to-dangle-10-billion-order-for-evs

44
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: March 15, 2017, 09:24:12 PM »
Humpback whales are organizing in huge numbers, and no one knows why
It flies in the face of typical humpback behavior.
http://www.popsci.com/humpback-whales-are-organizing

45
Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: March 15, 2017, 06:22:33 PM »
Planet Earth, on track for its second warmest year in history.
You mean third or fourth in a row....
Sigmetnow may have meant 2017 is on track to be the second warmest (not warmest) year in recorded history, overtaking 2015, but not overtaking 2016. (2015 is the current 2nd warmest and it was the second warmest year in a row at the time, given that 2014 was warmest in its day.)

Not that it matters much, in the context of things, but:  yes.

46
Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: March 15, 2017, 06:20:44 PM »
When we had a U.S. administration looking out for the environment, personal concerns seemed less important.  But now that we have an administration of climate deniers and anti-environmentalists... yes, we're worried.

New Gallup poll:

Global Warming Concern at Three-Decade High in US
• Americans worrying a great deal up eight percentage points to 45%
• New high of 62% says effects of global warming are happening now
• Belief that global warming poses a serious threat stretches to 42%

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Record percentages of Americans are concerned about global warming, believe it is occurring, consider it a serious threat and say it is caused by human activity. All of these perceptions are up significantly from 2015.
...
http://www.gallup.com/poll/206030/global-warming-concern-three-decade-high.aspx

47
Consequences / Re: Global Surface Air Temperatures
« on: March 15, 2017, 05:58:09 PM »
Planet Earth, on track for its second warmest year in history.

48
VW is installing ultra-fast 320 kW chargers in California as part of its $2 billion EV infrastructure plan
As part of its court settlement with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the DieselGate scandal, Volkswagen agreed to invest $2 billion in electric vehicle infrastructure in the US.

They released highlights of their plan for how to spend that money last month, but now they released the first detailed version of the plan for California, where they need to spend $800 million of the total settlement. We embedded the full plan below, but we also highlight the main points, like the fact that they want to install high-power 320 kW charging stations for electric vehicles, which is probably the biggest news.

Also, it’s important to note that it is still subject to change after review, but it gives us a good idea of what they have in mind at this point.

Through the new subsidiary called Electrify America that they set up to spend that money, the chargers will not be proprietary to VW (Combined Charging System (CCS), CHAdeMO and open protocols like Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)). In total, they plan to install between 2000‐3000 chargers at 400+ individual stations....
https://electrek.co/2017/03/15/vw-ev-infrastructure-320-kw-charging-station/

49
...
So wouldn't it be more accurate to calculate 62%*33%=20% and 62%*44%=27%? So nat. gas to power electric cars in the US does have some advantage over gasoline ICU cars, but not coal.


No.

Driving an EV in any region of the country produces less global warming pollution than the average new gasoline car. Even on the dirtiest U.S. regional electricity grid, EVs produce the global warming emissions equivalent of a 35 MPG gasoline vehicle—a 21 percent improvement over the new gasoline car’s average fuel economy of 29 MPG. On the cleanest electricity grids, including those covering parts of California and New York, EVs emit lower global warming emissions than a gasoline vehicle rated at more than 85 MPG. This results in the cutting of global warming emissions by 70 percent or more, compared with the average new gasoline car in these areas.

Up from just 45 percent three years ago, about 66 percent of Americans now live in regions where powering an EV on the regional electricity grid produces lower global warming emissions than a 50 MPG gasoline car. And down from 17 percent three years ago, only 12 percent of Americans now live in the lowest-rated regions, where powering an EV on the regional electricity grid produces global warming emissions similar to that of the best non-hybrid gasoline cars. Electricity grid improvements and improved EV efficiency mean several new regions of the country are now “Best” regions, including Florida and Texas. In these locales, EVs powered by the regional electricity grid do better than a 50 MPG gasoline vehicle on global warming emissions.
http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/11/Cleaner-Cars-from-Cradle-to-Grave-full-report.pdf

50
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 14, 2017, 08:41:29 PM »
"Big oil's list of worries just got bigger"
Energy this month

Crude oil down 12.4 percent
Big Energy (XLE) down 3.4 percent
Oil & Gas E&P (XOP) down 6.3 percent
Oil Services (OIH) down 7.3 percent

These are on top of earlier declines that began in January.

As usual, ExxonMobil is the poster child for a lot of these issues. It hit a 52-week low last week. ...

Big Oil has two other notable problems independent of the price of oil: 1) continuing low natural gas prices, and 2) increasing difficulty in growing oil production. ...
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/14/energy-companies-feeling-pain-from-saudi-arabia-production-and-low-oil-prices.html

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