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Messages - Sigmetnow

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Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: December 11, 2014, 09:54:15 PM »
For life!
China’s Former Energy Chief Gets Life in Prison for Bribery

The former head of China’s energy agency was sentenced to life imprisonment for taking 36 million yuan ($5.8 million) in bribes to approve projects, a Chinese court said.
One case involved the son receiving a Nissan Teana as a gift after his father approved a heavy-polluting chemical plant in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 11, 2014, 09:43:23 PM »
The Carbon Bubble is thinning....

Fed Bubble Bursts in $550 Billion of Energy Debt: Credit Markets
The danger of stimulus-induced bubbles is starting to play out in the market for energy-company debt.

Since early 2010, energy producers have raised $550 billion of new bonds and loans as the Federal Reserve held borrowing costs near zero, according to Deutsche Bank AG. With oil prices plunging, investors are questioning the ability of some issuers to meet their debt obligations. Research firm CreditSights Inc. predicts the default rate for energy junk bonds will double to eight percent next year.

“Anything that becomes a mania -- it ends badly,” said Tim Gramatovich, who helps manage more than $800 million as chief investment officer of Santa Barbara, California-based Peritus Asset Management. “And this is a mania.”

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 11, 2014, 09:28:07 PM »
The 1 Gigaton Coalition: saving gigatons of CO2 emissions each year via energy efficiency and renewables.
UNEP-Coordinated Coalition Aims to Support Climate Change Fight through Measuring Emission Reductions from Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Projects

Lima, Peru, 10 December 2014 - A coalition launched today at the climate talks in Lima aims to boost efforts to save billions of dollars and billions of tonnes of CO2 emissions each year by measuring and reporting reductions of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from projects and programmes that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in developing countries.

The 1 Gigaton Coalition, initiated by the Government of Norway and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has been formed in light of the understanding that many countries have a wide range of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and initiatives in place.

However, most do not measure or report the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that result. The Coalition believes that, if measured, these reductions would amount to about one gigaton a year by 2020 - showing the savings that can be made and thus encouraging the uptake of energy efficiency policies and renewable energy technologies.

Policy and solutions / Re: We May Be Plugging In Sooner Than We Expected.
« on: December 11, 2014, 08:45:58 PM »
China needs more chargers
In the U.S. and Germany, “range anxiety” -- or a driver’s fear of running out of power before reaching the nearest charging station -- has been an obstacle to electric-car adoption. The lack of unified payment systems is another challenge, with different charging networks using incompatible electronic payment cards.

In China, many car owners, like Wu, don’t have their own garages or parking spaces at home where they can charge their plug-ins overnight.

Yan Xuefei, also a Shanghai resident, wound up striking a deal that lets him charge his Qin at night at a factory near his apartment. The 27-year-old engineer can’t charge the car at his apartment complex because the limited designated parking spots are all taken. Building managers at his office also won’t let him do it there, he said.

Still, the factory’s parking lot is uncovered, and its managers forbid him from charging the car when it rains, saying they fear safety issues like short circuits.

“The government has given generous subsidies for us to buy the cars and publicized the merits of new-energy vehicles,” Yan said. “But so many car owners can’t easily charge their cars as they don’t have designated parking spots.”

Consequences / Re: Conservative Scientists & its Consequences
« on: December 11, 2014, 08:33:11 PM »
RealClimate,  "Climate Science from climate scientists" celebrates 10 years
Ten Years of RealClimate
In the spring of 2004, when we (individually) first started talking to people about starting a blog on climate science, almost everyone thought it was a great idea, but very few thought it was something they should get involved in. Today, scientists communicating on social media is far more commonplace. On the occasion of our 10 year anniversary today it is worth reflecting on the impact of those changes, what we’ve learned and where we go next.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 11, 2014, 08:22:59 PM »
And this:
How America Is Kicking Its Oil Habit
“Oil demand and GDP growth used to go hand in hand,” Christopher Knittel, a professor of applied economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, said by phone on Dec. 8 from Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Now, they’re in some ways almost independent of each other because of investments in fuel economy that tended to break the link.”
Here’s an easier way to see how Americans are relying less on oil: 1,178 barrels were consumed a day for every $1 billion of GDP in September, down 33 percent from 1,760 barrels a day 20 years ago.
And then there’s this twist in the energy independence story -- lower crude prices could paradoxically weaken demand. The argument goes like this: Declining oil will give consumers more disposable income that they can use to purchase more efficient vehicles, energy economist Philip Verleger said Dec. 8 by phone from Carbondale, Colorado. Likewise, airlines will reinvest profits made possible by cheaper fuel into new planes with more economic engines, he said.

“Consumers are doing their best to get themselves out of buying petroleum products,” Verleger said. “The fall in oil prices is going to accelerate the fuel’s own demise.”

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 11, 2014, 08:14:10 PM »
Goal to end fossil fuels by 2050 surfaces in Lima UN climate documents
Campaigners in Lima are eyeing an ‘inevitable’ end to the fossil fuel industry by mid-century
In an early evening briefing, climate scientist Dr Malte Meinshausen explained the 2050 decarbonisation date was derived from statements in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

He said that from 2011, the world could afford to emit no more than 1000bn tonnes (Gt) of CO2 to have a good chance of staying below 2C of global warming (some poorer countries and low-lying states say the aim should be 1.5C). Meinshausen said:

At current rates we churn through 33Gt a year – 1000Gt divided by 33 means we have about 30 years left from 2011 onwards. Then the carbon budget will be exhausted.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 11, 2014, 08:01:20 PM »
U.S. roads and bridges are in such bad shape -- and gas prices are currently so low -- that even Republican governors are considering increasing gasoline taxes.

Policy and solutions / Re: Why some still "DENY" and others "FAIL TO ACT"
« on: December 11, 2014, 05:43:30 PM »
"The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones. The Oil Age will not end because we ran out of oil."

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: December 11, 2014, 05:01:49 PM »
Why haven't I heard of this before?  Tie in major U.S. power grids, with renewables -- using superconducting wires.

The Tres Amigas SuperStation

The Tres Amigas SuperStation is a planned project to unite North America’s two major power grids (the Eastern Interconnection and the Western Interconnection) and one minor grid (the Texas Interconnection), with the goal to enable faster adoption of renewable energy and increase the reliability of the U.S. grid.[1] The project will use superconducting wires from Massachusetts-based American Superconductor Corp for electrical distribution and to interconvert alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) power.

Proposed by Tres Amigas, LLC in 2009, the project is in the process of finalizing funding. Permits and construction contracts are in place.[2] CEO Phillip G. Harris is the former CEO of PJM Interconnection, an East Coast regional transmission organization (RTO

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 11, 2014, 01:01:39 AM »
Oil price continues to fall; nearing $60 as supply grows.
WTI Crude Declines as U.S. Inventories Grow; Brent Slides

West Texas Intermediate crude extended losses after the Energy Information Administration reported a gain in U.S. supply. Brent fell to a five-year low.

Crude inventories rose 1.45 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 5, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected a drop of 2.7 million. Brent declined as OPEC said it expects demand for its crude next year to be the lowest since 2003.

Both Brent and WTI collapsed by about 15 percent after OPEC agreed to leave its production ceiling unchanged on Nov. 27, resisting calls from members including Venezuela to cut output to stabilize prices. Saudi Arabia and Iraq this month deepened discounts on crude exports to their customers in Asia, bolstering speculation that group members are fighting for market share.

WTI for January delivery fell $2.69, or 4.2 percent, to $61.13 a barrel at 10:37 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest level since July 2009.

Brent for January settlement decreased $2.56, or 3.8 percent, to $64.28 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after touching $64.23, the lowest since September 2009.

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: December 11, 2014, 12:40:40 AM »
Weather 'bomb' brings high waves, strong winds and power cuts to northern UK
Amazing photos.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: December 10, 2014, 03:29:31 AM »
About 43% of Britain’s homes were powered by wind last Sunday. Figures for the National Grid figures showed that an average of 7.315GW of power was produced by windfarms, setting a new record for the UK. The previous record was 7.234GW.

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: December 10, 2014, 03:26:13 AM »
Chinese smartphone maker unveils home air purifier.
Today, Lei responded by unveiling a home air purifier that sends pollution readings to mobile phones and alerts users when its filter’s dirty.
Air purifiers are a must-have home appliance in Beijing and elsewhere in northern China, where smog levels have rebounded after a government-ordered break in factory production during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum early last month. Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country was making an unprecedented effort to clean up pollution.

Policy and solutions / Re: Why some still "DENY" and others "FAIL TO ACT"
« on: December 10, 2014, 01:52:12 AM »
"Cascading levels of collapse" due to BAU suggests humans are completely incapable of accepting anything besides Business As Usual, which seems... short-sighted.  Can you really imagine no other option?  Not that long ago, millions had rationing during the wars -- without mass rioting or suicide due to deprivation.

Instead, I see: closing most manufacturing and industry, which reduces energy requirements and will be tied to the end of rampant consumerism.  Loss of those millions of jobs will be addressed by a moderate monthly stipend paid to all -- employed as well as unemployed.  You won't have to have a job to survive.  McMansions will be replaced by more modest, sustainable housing. 

And "BAU collapse" would hardly affect the billions of poor who manage today in sustainable circumstances ranging from mud huts to small farm houses.  So it's not exactly the whole of humanity collapsing.  We'll just find a new set point.  I'm pretty sure people will choose to change their lifestyle rather than rolling over and dying because gasoline is no longer available, or there's no local mall with 10 different kinds of saucepans to buy.  There will be saucepans if you need one (3-D printed on demand) and alternative modes of transportation.

Not saying it will be easy or painless or without rancor.  Saying it's possible.  That's what lets me feel at peace.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 10, 2014, 12:49:38 AM »
Another article on the "saltwater" car:
It’s a shame, then, that the makers of the Quant e-Sportlimousine had to put their amazing saltwater battery in a car that, should it ever hit the market, may cost about $1.7 million, making Tesla’s Model S luxury electric car look like a bargain at $70,000 to $95,000.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 09, 2014, 11:43:54 PM »
Shell makes climate pitch as UN targets zero carbon planet
Indeed, analysts at Climate Action Tracker calculated the latest commitments from the European Union, US and China put likely warming at 2.9-3.1C.
CCS expert Heleen de Coninck, from Radbound University, warned against placing too much faith in the technology.
Even if it does take off, there are limits on the volume of storage sites, she added. CCS on energy intensive industry like steel and cement, for which there are few alternatives to fossil fuels, should take priority.

“It is very important to never see CCS as an alternative to demand reduction and renewable energy.”
At a separate press conference, IPCC contributing author Malte Meinhausen stressed the need to phase out emissions.

“At some point emissions have to go to zero, no matter what,” he said. “Even at higher or lower temp levels there is no way around zero CO2 levels.”

International climate policy expert Farhana Yamin told RTCC countries were unlikely to oppose a 2050 zero emissions target for fear of being labelled “science deniers”. [my emphasis]

Sweden, Norway, Costa Rica, Bhutan and the Marshall islands have been among the most vocal advocates for such a goal.

French president Francois Holland, who will host next year’s climate conference, and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon have also called for long term ambition.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 09, 2014, 11:28:05 PM »
India considers emissions peak 2035-50
Since the US-China joint declaration that the US will reduce emissions by 2025 and China’s will peak by 2030, the Indian government has been under increasing international pressure to make a similar commitment.  China is now the world’s top GHG emitter, the US second and India third.

According to senior officials in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, this pressure was ratcheted up last week, just before New Delhi announced that US president Barack Obama would be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, these officials told that the US administration had made a joint declaration on the lines of the US-China declaration almost a condition before Obama accepted the invitation.
A veteran American climate negotiator told “Diplomats do not use words such as ‘conditions’, but the White House has made its wishes clear.” He added that he was hopeful that a joint declaration would be made during the Obama visit.
Asked what the peaking year could be, the official said: “All options between 2035 and 2050 are on the table. We have commissioned some studies by independent think tanks to gauge the effect of the peaking year on the Indian economy.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 09, 2014, 10:13:04 PM »
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to attend Lima climate conference.
LIMA, Peru — In a sign of the importance that the Obama administration has placed on the outcome of United Nations climate change negotiations taking place here this week, Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive on Thursday to strongly urge negotiators to reach a deal, according to sources familiar with Mr. Kerry’s plans but unauthorized to speak to the media. Typically, the secretary of state would not join diplomatic negotiations at this level, but Mr. Kerry has made climate change a priority of his tenure.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 09, 2014, 04:30:18 PM »
From December 8:
Absent a move by OPEC, Raymond James Financial Inc. estimates that the expansion of U.S. production of liquids needs to slow from a current growth rate of around 1.5 million barrels per day to near zero in 2016 to balance the global market for oil.

Doing that would result in a 17 percent reduction in exploration and production spending next year and another 9 percent in 2016, according to Raymond James analyst J. Marshall Adkins and colleagues. The average annual U.S. drilling rig count would fall by 19 percent, or 348 rigs, in 2015 and another 11 percent the following year, the analysts wrote.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 09, 2014, 04:21:17 PM »
FIRED:  Texas Oil and Gas Regulators Say They Tried to Enforce Rules, Lost Jobs

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 09, 2014, 03:59:41 PM »
Japan's next big thing?  Hydrogen fuel cells, for powering homes and businesses.  The waste heat from the reaction is used to heat water.
As fuel-cell technology finds its way into factories and commercial buildings, Japanese manufacturers including Panasonic Corp. (6752) are working to make them small and cheap enough for the home. The country has set a goal of installing them in 5.3 million homes by 2030, about 10 percent of all households.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 09, 2014, 02:20:18 PM »
Increasing calls for "zero emissions by 2050”
World Bank chief calls for “zero net emissions” climate goal

Jim Kim joins growing momentum behind drive to ensure 2015 climate deal will wipe out fossil fuel use

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 09, 2014, 03:01:16 AM »
Fossil fuel giants like Chevron and Shell tried to host a panel at the UN climate talks, but activists (and media) overpowered the event demanding the truth be told.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 08, 2014, 09:21:20 PM »
Philippines Official On Typhoon Hagupit: ‘The Impacts Of Climate Change Are Beyond Our Capacity’
...Mary Ann Lucille Sering, commissioner of the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission and lead climate official for the Philippines at the conference, said that Hagupit and the other typhoons that have hit the Philippines in recent years show that “the impacts of climate change are beyond our capacity already.”

“Our country’s experience makes our work here (in Lima) so much more meaningful, as this is no longer just a job for us but a fight for our survival and the future of our nation,” she said. “We hope that the Philippine experience, no matter how difficult, can help unite all nations to take more concrete actions on climate change.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 08, 2014, 09:05:37 PM »
Is OPEC the new green?  Its recent moves make it a potent global anti-fracking force.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, responsible for about 40 percent of global supplies, has maintained output in the face of an oil glut. The move has sent prices lower, challenging shale plays in the U.S., and the rest of the world where production is more costly.

A prolonged oil slump “could be a nail in the coffin” for some shale projects outside North America, Michiel Soeting, global chairman of energy and natural resources at KPMG LLP, said by phone from London. “It was already a question with high oil prices.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 08, 2014, 08:35:17 PM »
Breaking news:  oil plunges to 5-year low.
WTI for January delivery dropped $2.38, or 3.6 percent, to $63.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after reaching $63.06, the lowest since July 2009. Volume was 4.5 percent above the 100-day average.

“The market continues to search for a bottom but it doesn’t feel like we’ve found one,” said Gene McGillian, a senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “You’ll continue to see longs exit the market. You don’t want to catch a falling knife.”

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 08, 2014, 03:36:33 PM »
Do as I say, but not as I do?

Australia’s insistence on legally binding emissions targets is an ‘impossible requirement’ that would drive away the US and China, experts say, suggesting the Abbott government is trying to set up the climate change talks for failure.
“A legally binding agreement is of no value anyway, as, while it may be legally binding, such an agreement is not enforceable. Look at Canada’s walking away from its legally binding Kyoto commitments … and there is no evidence that countries are more likely to deliver on notionally legally binding than on domestic political commitments.
“Australia is going in the opposite direction. Its Direct Action policy contains no binding limits on emissions. This discussion about the need for legally binding international commitments is just a distraction and would be the worst possible thing for a successful global climate agreement.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 08, 2014, 01:45:43 AM »
Concerns about a Venezuelan default.
Falling oil prices have side-swiped Venezuela's government finances, spurring concerns of a sovereign default, but it isn't clear whether contagion effects will emerge.
"Given that the government has nothing in the way of savings from the oil price boom of the past decade, the loss of oil revenues will wipe out whatever foreign currency that the government has," it said. "With the bolivar collapsing in the black market, capital flight is only likely to increase putting even more pressure on the supply of hard currency."

It expects a default is "more likely than not" within two years, although there may not be a "flashpoint" until September or October of next year, when $5 billion of debt payments come due.


Among oil producing counties, Venezuela may be the worst prepared for lower oil prices, with dwindling reserves and a budget deficit of 17 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) . Oil accounts for 95 percent of Venezuela's export earnings and, combined with gas, it's 25 percent of the country's GDP. Rampant inflation has pushed consumer prices up as much as 50 percent a year, while currency controls have caused shortages of many consumer goods.

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: December 07, 2014, 09:03:48 PM »
Buy a T-shirt, help save California from the drought?   ::)

Policy and solutions / Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« on: December 07, 2014, 08:29:18 PM »
Joe Romm tears into Newsweek's "clickbait" article on geoengineering.
The media likes geoengineering stories because they are clickbait involving all sorts of eye-popping science fiction (non)solutions to climate change that don’t actually require anything of their readers (or humanity) except infinite credulousness. And so Newsweek informs us that adorable ants might solve the problem or maybe phytoplankton can if given Popeye-like superstrength with a diet of iron or, as we’ll see, maybe we humans can, if we allow ourselves to be turned into hobbit-like creatures. The only thing they left out was time-travel.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: December 07, 2014, 08:09:05 PM »
I just came across this, and a search doesn't indicate that the link has been posted elsewhere, so here goes:
IEA's World Energy Outlook 2014 -- Executive Summary.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 07, 2014, 07:48:01 PM »
Canada to U.S.: your game, but my rules.
On Friday, the minister announced that Ottawa will enact new regulations to control hydrofluorocarbons, which are used in air conditioning and heating. The powerful short-term greenhouse gases account for only 1 per cent of Canada’s overall emissions. But she reiterated that Ottawa will not move to regulate emissions from the oil sands until the United States is ready to address its oil industry – a decision that, according to many analysts, makes it virtually impossible for Canada to hit its 2020 target.

While the United States, China and the European Union have announced new emissions targets, the Canadian government faces mounting skepticism about its commitment to meet 2020 targets, and is a long way from announcing its goals for 2025 or 2030.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 07, 2014, 07:38:57 PM »
China offered new details on its commitment to rein in greenhouse gases and called on rich nations to speed up delivery of the $100 billion in annual climate-related aid they’ve promised by 2020.

China will work to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted for every dollar of gross domestic product and to boost its stock of forests that absorb emissions, Su Wei, China’s lead climate negotiator, said today. The comments are among the most significant from a Chinese official since President Xi Jinping pledged last month to begin to reduce carbon-dioxide pollution around 2030 and expand supplies of renewable power.

Addressing carbon intensity is key as China emits almost twice as much pollution to achieve the same amount of growth as the U.S., according to data from the International Energy Agency. China’s carbon intensity is on par with the U.S. level in 1985.

Could pollution-shaming move India to greener efforts, following China's example?
...On Wednesday, [India's] environmental court ordered a series of measures to address Delhi’s severe pollution, including all cars more than 15 years old taken off the city’s roads, air purifiers installed at the crowded markets and a crackdown on the burning of trash, the Guardian reported.

In its ruling the National Green Tribunal criticized Prime Minister Naendra Modi’s government for a lack of action to address Delhi’s dangerous pollution, stating, “nothing substantive has been suggested … for providing and controlling air pollution in Delhi primarily resulting from vehicular pollution and burning of plastics and other materials in (the) open.”

Arctic background / Re: Arctic Drilling and Shipping
« on: December 07, 2014, 05:18:21 PM »

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: December 07, 2014, 03:57:16 PM »
Recently... Los Angeles has reduced its reliance on outside sources of water. It has become, of all things, a leader in sustainable water management, a pioneer in big-city use of cost-effective, environmentally beneficial water conservation, collection and reuse technologies. Some combination of these techniques is the most plausible path to survival for all the cities of the water-depleted West.
Together, these projects will treat polluted and even sewage water, capture rainwater, store water in aquifers, and use (or reuse) all of it, often while mimicking or supporting natural processes. The area’s water administrators who, until recently, thought of watersheds as merely rural concerns now recognize that even in Los Angeles, all living things are linked by their common water course and that its proper management is essential to the administrators’ success.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: December 07, 2014, 02:43:59 AM »
You probably know [more] vegetarians than you used to. You may even know some vegans—people who eat no animal products, including eggs, butter, milk and cheese. But did you know that their dietary habits may be essential to save the planet? A new research paper from UK think tank Chatham House, Livestock—Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector, explains why it may be necessary for a lot more people to go vegetarian or at least dial down their consumption of meat and dairy products, and how to get them to do that.

Consequences / Re: Ecological disruption and human welfare
« on: December 06, 2014, 08:41:06 PM »
Documentary of a human/polar bear experience.  Summers are lasting 50 days longer than previously in this location, and polar bears, unable to hunt seals without ice, are looking elsewhere for food.
"Sometimes, seeing more animals doesn't mean there are more animals."

So I'm guessing Modi's push for solar was not due to environmental concerns....   :(

Narendra Modi, Favoring Growth in India, Pares Back Environmental Rules
To speed up project approvals, the committee recommended scrapping a layer of government inspections; instead, it said, India should rely on business owners to voluntarily disclose the pollution that their projects will generate and then monitor their own compliance, an approach the committee described as “the concept of utmost good faith.”

Environmentalists are worried that the new approach will go beyond cutting red tape and will do away with effective regulation altogether.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 06, 2014, 05:37:14 PM »
New approaches at the Lima talks.
Zero Emissions

Talk of limiting warming of the planet to 2 degrees Celsius is giving way to talk of reducing greenhouse gases emissions to zero this century. It's the same goal, just put more bluntly: total decarbonization of the world's energy economy within a generation.

All eyes are on this revolutionary prize.

Unless the world attains zero emissions, it will miss the 2-degree goal. On the present course, the planet is likely to warm considerably more than that.

So it's not that negotiators are giving up on the temperature target. But it is seen as too abstract, requiring complex math to translate into concrete policies. Depending on how sensitive the climate system is to carbon dioxide pollution, the 2-degree goal probably requires keeping CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere below 450 parts per million. That means staying within a fixed "carbon budget"—one that the world will bust in just a few decades unless emissions are reined in severely. ...

All those numbers are hard to fathom. So climate hawks have started to use a much starker and comprehensible number: zero.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: December 06, 2014, 05:11:47 PM »
Bloomberg:  Can cinnamon-infused crickets save the US Rust Belt?

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: December 06, 2014, 04:51:15 PM »
As negotiators gather in Peru for a critical round of climate talks, U.S. delegates are straining to explain what they call a “counterintuitive” reality: For next year’s global climate agreement to be effective, commitments made under it must not be legally binding.
Still, there are plenty of signs that there’s room for a global accord to emerge, with every faction — from the poorest to the richest — finding a comfort zone thanks to the 24-year-old clause in the original climate treaty laying out nations’ “common but differentiated responsibilities” (here’s a great explainer from McGill’s Center for International Sustainable Development Law).

Consequences / Re: General Drought Stuff
« on: December 06, 2014, 03:12:19 AM »
South Africa’s power utility started the most aggressive cuts in nine months to prevent a collapse of the grid supplying the continent’s second-biggest economy after it ran out of water and diesel and some plants tripped.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 06, 2014, 02:25:49 AM »
Coal ash waste from closed Duke Energy plant threatens river in North Carolina.
Contaminated waste from a retired coal plant in Rowan County, North Carolina, has been found leaking into a tributary of the second largest river in the state, environmental groups charged on Thursday.

The groups Waterkeeper Alliance, Southern Environmental Law Center, and the Yadkin Riverkeeper said they discovered extensive leaks of coal ash coming from Duke Energy’s Buck Power Plant flowing into High Rock Lake, a tributary of the Yadkin River. Though the power plant no longer actively burns coal, it is surrounded by ponds filled with more than six million tons of coal ash — a waste byproduct from coal-burning.

Pete Harrison, an attorney representing the groups, told ThinkProgress that the seep was initially discovered in mid-November, after reports of a quarter-mile long area of orange-colored streaks along the river bank. The groups took samples of the seep, and found that it contained high levels of pollutants such as arsenic, lead, and selenium, the groups said in a press release. Coal ash usually contains similar chemicals.

Policy and solutions / Re: Better Tomorrows
« on: December 06, 2014, 02:19:31 AM »
Clean energy can get us to space.

@AstroKatie: Orion's Delta IV Heavy rockets run on combining hydrogen & oxygen. That huge fire makes water

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 06, 2014, 12:59:18 AM »
Alaska cut taxes on oil companies to spur industry growth.  It didn't work.

Alaska is the only U.S. state with neither a state income tax nor a state sales tax. For revenue, it relies entirely on federal funding and various taxes on oil production in the state. Back in 2013, the oil taxes were cut by legislation passed under former Governor Sean Parnell (R). The logic of the cut was that it would spur renewed oil industry activity in the state, but that expected economic ferment has not materialized. And now, as the price of oil drops lower and lower, taking Alaska’s remaining tax revenue down with it, those cuts are leaving Alaska’s state budget deep in the red.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 05, 2014, 09:41:33 PM »
Israel Hit With Massive 600,000 Gallon Oil Spill

Policy and solutions / Re: We May Be Plugging In Sooner Than We Expected.
« on: December 05, 2014, 09:13:30 PM »
Why Elon Musk's Batteries Scare the Hell Out of the Electric Company

Yet Musk’s so-called gigafactory may soon become an existential threat to the 100-year-old utility business model. The facility will also churn out stationary battery packs that can be paired with rooftop solar panels to store power. Already, a second company led by Musk, SolarCity Corp. (SCTY), is packaging solar panels and batteries to power California homes and companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)
100,000 Plug-ins

In California, where 40 percent of the nation’s plug-in cars have been sold, about half of electric vehicle owners have solar or want to install it, according to a February survey by the Center for Sustainable Energy, a green-energy advocate. More than 100,000 plug-ins have been sold in California, according to data from and Baum & Associates, though EVs make up less than 1 percent of all U.S. car sales.
Tesla sees itself taking on a grand mission -- not just to lower emissions from cars and trucks, but to have a societal impact. “If we only do it on the transportation side, we ignore the utility side, and we are probably ignoring half of our responsibility,” said Mateo Jaramillo, director of powertrain business development at Tesla Motors, at the recent Platts California Power and Gas Conference in San Francisco.

Tesla and Oncor Electric Delivery, owner of the largest power-line network in Texas, have discussed a $2 billion investment in stationary battery storage to solve the problem of fluctuating output from wind and solar. Tesla and SolarCity are separate entities and only share management at the board level.

Smart Home
The time when residents can charge their electric cars with excess solar stored in their home batteries is “not decades away, that is years away,” said SunPower CEO Tom Werner.
In June, EEI issued a call to action, saying converting people from gasoline cars to electric vehicles is nearly essential for survival. The report concluded: “The bottom line is that the electric utility industry needs the electrification of the transportation sector to remain viable and sustainable in the long run.”

To that point, executives at some of the nation’s largest utilities from New York to California say they are preparing their grids for more plug-in cars, reaching out to automakers and working with regulators to make sure customers as well as the utilities benefit from the trend.
Grid Upgrades

There is yet another side to the argument -- can utilities manage the load?

“Electric vehicles can be the best thing to ever happen to our industry or the worst thing to ever happen to our industry,” said James Avery, a senior vice president at San Diego Gas & Electric.

Avery doesn’t foresee most customers leaving the grid, but does see the risk of an influx of electric cars that overtaxes the network. SDG&E, whose territory has the highest penetration of plug-ins in the U.S., plans to spend as much as $3.2 billion to upgrade its grid. It already offers cheaper rates for EV owners to charge overnight when power demand is lowest.

Southern California Edison is planning to spend about $9.2 billion through 2017 to allow the two-way flow of electricity on its system, said Edison International CEO Ted Craver.

“We are certainly big supporters of electric transportation,” Craver said.
“Utilities should look at Elon as a brilliant entrepreneur and innovator who is helping create the new electricity industry and betting against him hasn’t worked so well,” Lovins said. “I would look at ways to benefit from what he is bringing to the market.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Better Tomorrows
« on: December 05, 2014, 08:41:34 PM »
But would it affect local weather?

New paper in Nature documents a novel halfnium coating (seven layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide on top of a thin layer of silver) which reflects infrared energy at the precise frequency to radiate it into space without it being trapped by greenhouse gases.  It also "wicks" heat out of buildings, for an additional cooling effect.

Clean Technica article:

Stanford write-up:

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