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Messages - Sigmetnow

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Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: January 22, 2015, 08:42:54 PM »
Here's a video of Al Gore's presentation at Davos.  (30 min)
   First half highlights the extreme global weather, up to January 2015; second half shows the incredible growth in renewables around the world.  (In 2012, 62% of clean energy investment, $224 billion, was from private sources.)
   Plus, an announcement about a global digital/broadcast event for this June 18: Live Earth: Climate Action, to support progress in Paris next December.

Arctic Background / Re: Arctic Drilling and Shipping
« on: January 22, 2015, 07:56:40 PM »
WWF says granting oil exploration licenses by Norway "is the wrong decision."
WWF encourages all Nordic leaders to show the rest of the world what sustainable economy looks like. “Right now, they need to show leadership, we are in the middle of a transmission from oil economy into new renewable energy sources,” Samantha Smith says arguing that environmental sustainability is a precondition for economic sustainability in the north.

The oil companies that want to test-drill for oil in the Barents Sea get 78 percent of the costs covered by the government in tax refund. An average test drill on the Norwegian continental shelf had a price of NOK 600 million (€68 million) in 2013 of which NOK 500 million (€57 million) then are subsidised by the state.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: January 22, 2015, 07:48:46 PM »
The World Economic Conference goes "climate."
The president of the World Bank has urged the international community to help developing nations cope with a warming planet as the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos was dominated by calls to make 2015 a year of action on climate change.
Former Vice President Al Gore had started the first full day of events at the annual gathering in Davos by telling delegates: “This is the year of climate”.

Speaking against a backdrop of images intended to show the impact of climate change, Gore launched his plans amid criticism at the WEF of delegates arriving in private jets to attend the conference in 5,000 feet up in the Swiss Alps. The organisers of WEF urge delegates not to fly by private jet and use the train instead. Some attendees are transported in electric buggies.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: January 22, 2015, 07:41:01 PM »
From the World Economic Forum at Davos:
Financiers have gone from masters of the universe to pariahs to punching bags at the World Economic Forum over the past decade. This year they’re a sideshow as policy makers dominate the debate.

While the global banking industry is still grappling with the consequences of the financial crisis and atoning for past misconduct, its travails are overshadowed at this year’s conclave in the Swiss Alps by oil, new terror threats and the European Central Bank’s plan to start buying government bonds to revive inflation.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 22, 2015, 07:36:16 PM »
Yet another international report finds renewable energy systems are now cost-competitive with fossil fuels in many parts of the world.
IRENA’s report also finds that renewables are the best option for bringing power to the 1.3 billion people worldwide who are currently living without access to electricity, as well as isolated island populations that rely on diesel generators.

And the dramatic decline in oil prices – 60% since last summer – is unlikely to douse the success of renewables, with investments in the clean energy sector expected to continue, according to IRENA.

The report said:

Oil prices remain volatile, so for an investment with a lifetime of 25 years or more, today’s oil prices are not an accurate measure on which to base an investment decision in electricity generation.

States have a new ally in their search to figure out how they’ll reduce emissions under the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate change targets.
A new initiative launched Wednesday by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Heising-Simons family will help states come up with plans for emissions reductions that meet the standards of the Clean Power Plan, which was proposed in June and is currently being finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency. States will have flexibility in figuring out how to meet the targets, and the new initiative, dubbed the Clean Energy Initiative, will provide technical help for about 12 or so states that want to develop ambitious plans.

Louisiana struggles to preserve its vanishing coastline against the fossil fuel industry the state depends on.
A 2006 study by the U.S, Geological Survey and Gas Research Institute concluded that 36 percent of the wetland loss was directly caused by the oil and gas companies’ activity. As the state and its people wrestle with the impacts of this grave problem, an unprecedented court case is pitting the independent state agency responsible for protecting Louisianians from floods against the dozens of fossil fuel companies whose decades of largely unchecked extraction activities have put the state’s vital wetland ecosystem on life support.
Don Briggs, the President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, declined ThinkProgress’ request for an interview, but in a statement warned: “The negative impact of this suit will continue to be felt across the state as fewer dollars will be invested into our state economy, fewer rigs will be present, and in turn, fewer revenue dollars will be contributed to our state budget.”

The industry also has the full backing of Louisiana’s governor, newest senator and legislature, which passed a bill this summer attempting to kill the lawsuit. Governor Jindal, who has received generous donations from the oil and gas industry during his time in office, has blasted the lawsuit as “frivolous” and made attempts to appoint levee board members more favorable to corporate interests.

Policy and solutions / Re: Is this the Nuclear Fusion we are looking for?
« on: January 22, 2015, 04:08:12 PM »
Why It's Taking The U.S. So Long To Make Fusion Energy Work

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: January 22, 2015, 12:51:58 AM »
California's Big Trees are suffering.

I visited Sequoia National Park some years ago (late 90's?) because I thought the trees might not be around much longer, due to drought, insects, etc.  At the time, the rangers stressed how resilient the trees were, so not to worry, now that we had stopped human damage by logging, trampling the roots, taking pine cones as souvenirs, etc.  Climate change didn't come up.

"Enhanced" apparently meaning: "Made it sound better to Republicans."

The official website for House Republicans has posted on YouTube a version of President Obama’s State of the Union address which cuts out comments where the President was critical of Republican rhetoric on climate change, ThinkProgress has learned.

In the website’s “enhanced webcast” of the State of the Union speech, President Obama’s comments criticizing Republicans for saying they are “not scientists” when it comes to climate change are erased.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 22, 2015, 12:23:22 AM »
Dubai Triples Solar Energy Target by 2030 on Lower Costs
Dubai’s government-owned utility increased the amount of solar energy it plans to produce in 15 years to take advantage of lower building costs.

The goal is 15 percent of power capacity by 2030, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chief executive officer of Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, said in an interview in Abu Dhabi today. The previous target was 5 percent.

The U.S. Senate just voted that climate change is real! -- but not that humans are causing it. ::)

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 21, 2015, 09:33:47 PM »
To quote Elon Musk:  "I don't care if people say we will fail.  We're still going to do it."

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 21, 2015, 09:16:07 PM »
Here are 10 cities going completely, totally, 100% renewable energy.   Soon.  :)
...a new grassroots movement has launched petitions in hundreds of cities across the world calling for a transition to 100 percent renewable energy/zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. While this may have sounded like wishful thinking a few short years ago, these activists are actually building on a growing number of communities that have already taken such pledges — and some who appear to have achieved them.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 21, 2015, 08:39:51 PM »
Update on the Yellowstone River oil spill.  Benzene has now been found in the local drinking water.  And cleaning up oil on an icy river turns out to be much harder than usual.

The rest / Re: Arctic Café
« on: January 21, 2015, 08:32:19 PM »
Why it's good to laugh at climate change.
While climate change itself is never going to be a barrel of laughs, we seem to be suffering from a collective lack of imagination in teasing out the tragi-comic narratives that climate change surely provides.

Thinking harder about how to plug climate change into our cultural circuits – not as ‘edutainment’ but simply as a target of satire in its own right – will be crucial in overcoming the social silence around the issue. The science-communicators don’t seem to be making much progress with the public: maybe its time to let the comedians have their turn.

The rest / Re: Arctic Café
« on: January 21, 2015, 04:57:39 PM »
"In that moment, all your dreams and all your fears become real."
Cdr. Chris Hadfield on dealing with fear and danger.

Policy and solutions / Re: Why some still "DENY" and others "FAIL TO ACT"
« on: January 21, 2015, 04:34:19 PM »
Moving on. 

Value of an illustration.   :)

Policy and solutions / Re: Why some still "DENY" and others "FAIL TO ACT"
« on: January 21, 2015, 04:30:58 PM »
After you learn the difference between a huge climate article in the esteemed New York Times and a tiny article in the financial Wall Street Journal, maybe we can discuss.

Investors urge big oil to face up to climate risk

Companies, organisations and governments that continue to play down these fears are showing themselves to be increasingly out of touch.

Good review of President Obama's remarks on energy and climate change from his State of the Union speech last night.

Policy and solutions / Re: Better Tomorrows
« on: January 21, 2015, 01:41:16 AM »
Forget traditional cemeteries.  Use your ashes to plant a tree.

Nordea Asset Management is set to blacklist around 40 coal mining companies from its investment portfolio, as the company joins a growing trend of investors cutting their exposure to fossil fuel assets.

Nordea is the largest Nordic fund manager with $228bn of assets, making it one of the largest firms to date to take steps to exclude carbon-intensive assets from its portfolio.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 21, 2015, 12:53:01 AM »
UK: Battery-powered train replaces diesel engine on short run that has no electric lines.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 20, 2015, 08:06:18 PM »
France has become the latest European country to celebrate a strong performance by its wind energy industry during 2014, as new figures revealed over 1GW of new capacity was added last year.

France's wind energy trade body, France Énergie Éolienne (FEE), announced late last week that 1,042 MW of wind energy came online in 2014, up from 630MW in 2013. The performance marked the highest annual level of installation since 2011, taking total installed wind energy capacity to over 9GW.
The French government has set a goal of deliver 40GW of onshore wind power and 15GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, as part of efforts to source a fifth of its power from wind farms.

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: January 20, 2015, 07:36:17 PM »
BEIJING, Jan 20 (Reuters) - China beat a key energy efficiency target in 2014, cutting its energy intensity by 4.8 percent from a year earlier, the State Council said on Tuesday, as it tries to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The government had aimed for a 3.9 percent cut in energy intensity after a 3.7 percent drop in 2013 in order to meet its target of cutting energy intensity to 16 percent below 2010 levels by 2015.

Energy intensity is a measure of the amount of energy needed to increase GDP, and high levels of energy intensity indicate a high cost of converting energy into GDP.

China aims to lower the efficiency measure by relying less on energy-intensive manufacturing, mostly powered by coal, which is causing massive health problems and has made China the world's biggest emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Excellent question.  Although they do have a history of voting for money for their own states, while not voting for money for others (i.e., Superstorm Sandy relief).
Will Republicans provide the funds to deal with emergencies that extreme weather events will cause in the next two years while they are controlling Congress and to a large extent the fate of the nation? I don’t think so. Adaptation and mitigation will be ignored. The red states stand to lose the most as tornadoes wreak havoc in Tornado Alley. People there may be left to their own devices as Republicans in Congress, climate change deniers all, will also not be very charitable in putting up funds to assist those who have experienced weather related extreme events.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: January 20, 2015, 07:19:35 PM »
Nissan LEAF sales in Europe jumped 33% in 2014.  Over 56,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were purchased there last year.
"We can now see the impact that word of mouth is having on our sales, with 95 per cent of our customers happy to recommend their car to a friend and 50 per cent saying they would never go back to diesel or petrol," said Nissan Europe senior vice president of sales and marketing Guillaume Cartier, in a statement. "This kind of powerful advocacy, combined with an increasing awareness of the massive running cost savings electric car drivers experience, is why our Nissan Leaf sales continue to grow."

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 20, 2015, 04:55:46 PM »
Please don't say "explosion."  ;-)

The state of fracking in the U.S.

Policy and solutions / Re: Better Tomorrows
« on: January 20, 2015, 04:44:41 PM »

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 20, 2015, 04:34:00 PM »
Michigan's Governor Snyder eyes phasing out coal-fired power generation, unlike counterparts In U.S. midwest, coal-heavy states.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is setting his energy stall out early in the state's two-year legislative session, saying he wants to look into weaning the state off coal-fired generation.

Currently, Michigan sources about 50% of its power from coal-fired plants, but Snyder told the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Thursday that "now is the time to look at a long-term transition away from coal."

In the long term, Snyder sees potential replacements for coal such as natural gas and wind "as viable options for Michigan, both of which have begun to build a presence in the state," Dave Murray, the governor's deputy press secretary, said Friday.

And the former business executive and venture capitalist's stance on potentially expanding the state's 10% by 2015 renewable portfolio standard during this year's session could hold influence in the Republican-dominated state Legislature -- which began its session on January 13.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, renewables could supply 32.5% of Michigan's electricity needs by 2030 with virtually no effect on power costs and providing significant economic benefits.

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: January 20, 2015, 03:34:10 PM »
China's economy is slowing, with increasing emphasis on services and less on manufacturing.
President Xi Jinping is pushing pro-market policies to boost new economic drivers as China enters a “new normal,” a phrase he has adopted to reflect slower, more-sustainable expansion.
A commentary by state-run Xinhua News Agency said it was unsurprising that China’s “miraculous, break-neck growth is over” and that people should “get over it.” Much of the pain was self-inflicted by a government pushing ahead with market-driven change on all fronts, it said.
Secondary industry -- made up of activities including manufacturing and construction -- contributed 3 percentage point to growth, compared with 3.8 percentage point from services, “reflecting an undergoing structural change,” said Liu Li-Gang, head of Greater China economics at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Hong Kong.

Policy and solutions / Re: Why some still "DENY" and others "FAIL TO ACT"
« on: January 20, 2015, 03:22:24 PM »
Choose your news....

@AlecMacGillis: How the story of 2014 being warmest year on record played: huge A1 spread of [New York Times]; six paragraphs tucked on A6 of [Wall Street Journal].

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: January 20, 2015, 03:00:52 AM »
@EricHolthaus: Pope Francis to address Congress in September, and call for climate action at the UN:

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: January 20, 2015, 02:56:36 AM »
Northern California map, with lots of 0%'s.

@NWSSacramento: January shaping up to be a bad month rainfall-wise for #NorCal. Here's the percent of normal so far this month. #cawx

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 20, 2015, 02:07:32 AM »
Saw a piece on the news tonight that offered a reminder:  those oil and gas wells that are being shut down in the U.S. are marginal wells, which were not producing much anyway.  The U.S. supply is still projected to grow by 300,000 to 600,000 barrels a day.

Damage said to likely be ten times that of the previous worst flood in Malawi history.
In what is likely to be one of 2015's deadliest natural disasters, two weeks of heavy rains have hit the southeastern African nations of Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar, triggering rampaging floods that have killed at least 260 people and left 260,000 homeless....

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: January 19, 2015, 07:37:21 PM »
United Nations appoints the first-ever UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 19, 2015, 07:19:33 PM »

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: January 19, 2015, 07:15:59 PM »
The richest 1 percent are likely to control more than half of the globe’s total wealth by next year, the charity Oxfam reported in a study released on Monday. The warning about deepening global inequality comes just as the world’s business elite prepare to meet this week at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The 80 wealthiest people in the world altogether own $1.9 trillion, the report found, nearly the same amount shared by the 3.5 billion people who occupy the bottom half of the world’s income scale. (Last year, it took 85 billionaires to equal that figure.) And the richest 1 percent of the population, who number in the millions, control nearly half of the world’s total wealth, a share that is also increasing.

Policy and solutions / Re: The Solar Justice Movement
« on: January 19, 2015, 07:10:11 PM »
And even lower tech: using soda bottles to let sunlight illuminate a poor home.  Solar bottle Bulb.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 19, 2015, 06:58:35 PM »
Created last fall, "RE100" wants 100 companies to pledge to 100% renewable energy by 2020.
RE100 was officially launched at Climate Week NYC 2014. Fifteen companies have now joined the campaign and made a public commitment to going 100% renewable. RE100 brings together BT Group, Commerzbank, Formula E, H&M, IKEA Group, KPN, Mars, Nestlé, Philips, Reed Elsevier Group, J. Safra Sarasin Bank, SAP, SGS, Swiss Re and YOOX Group. Find out more about the campaign at
More links and infographic here:

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 19, 2015, 06:19:40 PM »
Largest-ever study found that U.S. home buyers were willing to pay more for homes with solar PV systems.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: January 19, 2015, 06:14:28 PM »
Re: Ivanpah
This article has maps showing the decreased irradiance in the southwest U.S. last year.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 19, 2015, 04:13:16 PM »
The UK government’s planned shale gas revolution has barely got out of the starting blocks with just 11 new exploratory wells for shale gas and oil due to be drilled this year even before the impact of plunging oil prices has fully begun to impact on the industry.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: January 19, 2015, 03:49:35 PM »
The chief executives of Saudi Aramco, Pemex and Total will face questions about their future in a warming world at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.

Crumbling oil prices and soaring greenhouse gas emissions feature heavily in the agenda for the annual event in the Swiss Alps, which attracts national leaders, heads of business and civil society representatives.

According to the WEF, the fossil fuel chiefs will be joined by Abdalla Salem El Badri, head of the OPEC oil cartel and will discuss, among other issues, the impact of falling oil prices on climate change.
A draft version of a global climate deal, due to be signed off in Paris at the end of 2015, includes references to a complete phase-out of fossil fuels by 2050.

Research from UK scientists published this month suggests a third of oil, half of gas and nearly all coal reserves will have to remain below ground if the world is to avoid dangerous temperature rises.

Private sector

Central to the 2015 WEF meeting are efforts to encourage business leaders to embrace low carbon energy sources and a “circular economy” – where resources are reused rather than binned.

  According to a major economic study released last year and backed by seven governments, an estimated $90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure by 2030. How that money is spent will determine whether the world avoids dangerous levels of warming.

Since we plan to spend that money anyway...  Spend it green!

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 19, 2015, 03:11:11 PM »
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is in poor health.  What about the country's future?

Policy and solutions / Re: The Keystone Pipeline
« on: January 19, 2015, 02:58:20 PM »
Snarky 2-minute video on Canadian tar sands pipeline, in the style of David Attenborough.  Ouch. :-[

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 19, 2015, 02:25:12 AM »
Oklahoma faces the painful truth as layoffs begin.
"The oil patch giveth, and the oil patch taketh away,” said Costello.

The rest / Re: Arctic Café
« on: January 18, 2015, 09:00:06 PM »
Naomi Klein, author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate," discusses what's in The New York Times.

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