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Messages - Sigmetnow

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Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2015 melting season
« on: June 12, 2015, 12:20:39 PM »
Usually, I find Alaska weather is opposite that of east coast of the U.S. -- when one is particularly warm, the other is abnormally cold.  But next week, both are in for a heat wave.

Special Weather Statement Issued by NWS Anchorage (Southern Alaska - Anchorage)
Event:   Special Weather Statement

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: June 12, 2015, 01:46:04 AM »
Tesla says it will double capacity of home battery
The home energy storage product that Tesla Motors Inc. unveiled one month ago is getting an upgrade and now will have twice its original capacity, company CEO and co-founder Elon Musk said yesterday.
"We've dramatically increased the power capability of the Powerwall," Musk told shareholders meeting in Mountain View, Calif. "It basically more than doubled the power output of the power pack, and the price is going to stay the same."
"The Powerpack is independent of renewables," Musk said. "You could actually take probably something close to half of all the power plants in the world and turn them off if you had batteries. I'm not sure this is well appreciated."

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: June 12, 2015, 01:09:33 AM »
UNFCC says:  Governments Shift Gear Toward Delivery of New Universal Climate Agreement
Groundswell of Action by Cities, Companies and Regions Fire Up Optimism on ‘Pre-2020’Ambition and Beyond
The path to Paris is now happening on both the political and negotiating levels and with a mood of exceptional confidence and engagement—what is being managed here is no longer resistance to an agreement but complexity, enthusiasm and an understanding that every nation is playing its part," said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"The negotiations are also occurring against the backdrop of an accelerating wave of climate action from non-state actors including cities, regions, territories and companies which is contributing confidence to the process," she said.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: June 12, 2015, 01:00:02 AM »
More on the Georgetown, Texas, story.

This Big Texas City Will Soon Be Powered Entirely By Wind And Sun
Ross said that a lot of “folks don’t really care what kind of electrons are flowing down the transmission lines,” they just don’t want to pay more for power. Once he explains the new setup to residents, even the most skeptical and politically conservative, they tend to come around.

“The main criticism I’ve heard about green energy is the worry that the tax credits might go away,” said Ross. “Well that doesn’t impact us because they are contractually obligated to deliver energy at that price for 25 years.”

Ross, who is a Certified Public Accountant by trade, took this idea one step further.

“And if you are really looking into that — in the tax code which industry gets the most deductions and credits of any industry out there? That would be fossil fuels. Renewable energy credits are minuscule compared to fossil fuels,” said Ross, who was elected as a Republican mayor earlier this year.

Policy and solutions / Re: The Hyperloop
« on: June 12, 2015, 12:23:33 AM »
New comparison of hyperloop to other travel modes.  And a fun little video.

This chart shows how the Hyperloop could destroy all other forms of transportation

Bill McKibben to Obama: You still have time to be a climate champion — but not much.
People in D.C. stay snakebit by things too long: Solyndra is long-forgotten outside the Beltway, and every poll shows Americans of all political stripes love solar panels. Heck, there’s a left-right Green Tea coalition pushing for progress in the Southeast. We need you pounding the bully panel, not on the stump but on the roof, day after day — reminding everyone that far more people work in solar than in mining coal.

Just maybe, you also could take that new vision and use it to make the climate talks in Paris more than they’ll otherwise be. At the moment they look set to ratify a global temperature increase of 3 or 4 degrees C — that is, to lock us into a kind of slow-motion guaranteed catastrophe. They lack a vision beyond the mediocre (and unenforceable) targets that countries are now producing. But given the changed economics of sun and wind, the talks could be the moment when the world commits to electrifying every house on Earth with a solar panel on the roof. That’s now not only possible, it’s a practical and a moral imperative.

Consequences / Re: General Drought Stuff
« on: June 11, 2015, 11:15:23 PM »
Lake Mead About to Hit a Critical New Low as 15-Year Drought Continues in Southwest

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: June 11, 2015, 02:55:41 AM »
UK leads European solar energy expansion to help renewables overtake output of nuclear power as industry leaders hail ‘tipping point’ for the technology.
“For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear..."

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 09, 2015, 10:05:03 PM »
Climate change will likely denude much of the forested ecosystem that supports Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks by the year 2050, a Jackson-based report says.

Rising temperatures increase the chance of catastrophic wildfire, The Coming Climate says. Instead of recurring once every 100-300 years, wildfires on the scale of those that burned Yellowstone in 1988 will happen only decades apart. By mid-century there will be “a very real chance that coniferous forests will disappear from most areas,” the report says.

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: June 09, 2015, 08:46:55 PM »
Thousands lose power in California in temperatures above 100°F, due to overheated equipment -- and a squirrel.

while that's true, most large-ish storms might kill a small amount of people, but can still cause hundreds of thousands or millions in property damage.  you have to remember property insurers get a much larger number of claims in a storm.  just look at the figures for any storm.  x people killed, y people injured, and z millions in property damage.  all those types of insurers pay out large amounts in claims during a catastrophe.  and the insurance business requires very accurate statistics and future projections.  i would not be the least bit surprised if that cook county lawsuit (not far from here, i live nw of chicago in mchenry county) was more to send a message that a municipality CAN get sued for infrastructure failures caused by climate change, because any community that decides to improve infrastructure because of their lawsuit could save them hundreds of thousands easy.

More on that, posted in the Legal thread:
Can Local Officials Who Ignore Climate Change Risks Be Sued?
The act-of-god defense for extreme weather impacts is being challenged in court

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: June 09, 2015, 07:34:19 PM »
California solar generation is growing fast:

Also from that article:
"We've had moments where the whole state was over 50 percent powered by renewable energy," said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, a national advocacy group. "Think about that: the seventh-largest economy of the world running on what was formerly an empty pipe dream. It's absolutely amazing."
Woot!   \o/   :)

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: June 09, 2015, 07:21:31 PM »
Do 'whatever it takes' for a deal, says majority in global climate survey
Nearly two-thirds of people believe that negotiators at key UN climate talks in December should do “whatever it takes” to limit global warming to a 2C rise, according to what is believed to be the most comprehensive survey of global public attitudes to climate change ever conducted.
Two-thirds (66%) thought that measures to combat climate change are “mostly an opportunity to improve our quality of life”, while 27% see it as mostly a “threat” to quality of life.

And 64% said the efforts of developing countries should “partly” depend on funding from developed countries, while 18% said it should depend “completely” on such funding.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: June 09, 2015, 06:40:11 PM »
Good grasp of the obvious:

UBS Analysts: Solar Will Become the ‘Default Technology of the Future’
Within a decade, solar photovoltaics could account for 10 percent of electricity supply globally, beating out coal and nuclear as "default" power generation technologies.

That's the conclusion of a new analysis from investment bank UBS, which found that global installed solar capacity will more than triple between now and 2025, and then triple again between 2025 and 2050. By the middle of the century, UBS estimates that nearly 3,000 gigawatts of solar will be installed worldwide.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: June 09, 2015, 05:36:20 PM »
Forget Greenhouse Gas Rules. Nearly 60 Percent of Kentucky’s Coal Plants May Be Gone by 2040.
The EPA is expected to finalize its carbon dioxide regulations later this summer, and many lawmakers have expressed concern and frustration that the rules will burden Kentucky ratepayers. Electricity rates in Kentucky may inevitably rise as coal plants retire, but that’s not directly related to the carbon dioxide rules. Regulators expect that Kentucky won’t have to do very much to comply with the EPA’s upcoming greenhouse gas regulations, because so many plants are going offline anyway.

New coal-fired power plants are unlikely to be built, because EPA rules finalized last year put limits on the greenhouse gas emissions those plants can emit. The EPA’s limit would mean that any new coal plant would need to incorporate some type of carbon capture technology; this may not be a deal breaker in the future, but right now, carbon capture equipment is prohibitively expensive.

Peters also told the committee that Kentucky’s demand for electricity has nearly flattened. That’s partly because one of the state’s major electricity users—the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant—has shut down. Increased energy efficiency has played a role, too. All of these factors mean that not all of the retiring coal units will have to be replaced to power the state.

You're About to See an Incredibly Rare Cloud, and It's Proof the Climate Is Changing
In a few weeks, you may get to see evidence the atmosphere is changing -- if you’re lucky.
That’s when noctilucent clouds, the world’s highest, peak in number and show up in the night sky just after sunset as electric-blue swirls in the mesosphere, the coldest place on the planet.
Usually visible only in the polar regions, the clouds now sometimes appear as far south as 40 degrees latitude in the Northern Hemisphere, according to Cora Randall, a professor at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder. That’s because the mesosphere, which nears the edge of space, is changing, possibly “due to a change in climate,” he said. “We believe that these clouds are a really sensitive indicator.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 09, 2015, 04:06:42 PM »
Exxon's Gamble: 25 Years of Rejecting Shareholder Concerns on Climate Change
For a quarter-century, stockholders have asked Exxon to confront the threat of climate change in all sorts of ways: by investing in renewable energy, cutting harmful emissions, providing carbon risk assessments and adding a board member with climate expertise. Year after year, the oil giant has said no, rejecting shareholders’ requests and downplaying their concerns long after scientists concluded that unfettered burning of fossil fuels is leading to catastrophic climate change. At Chevron and ConocoPhillips, executives have also routinely opposed climate-related shareholder resolutions.

Can Local Officials Who Ignore Climate Change Risks Be Sued?
The act-of-god defense for extreme weather impacts is being challenged in court

Republican pledges $175 million to push party on climate
  A North Carolina executive is pouring his own money into trying to sway people in the GOP to take global warming seriously.
“We think that there are real Republican solutions to the problem.”
“The problem with Republicans — a lot of Republicans, not all — they just don’t understand the issue,” said Andrew Sabin, owner of a New York-based precious-metal refining business and a longtime GOP donor. “If they saw some of the things they could do that wouldn’t affect the economy and in fact increases jobs and cleans the air, they’re all for it.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 09, 2015, 01:21:46 AM »

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: June 08, 2015, 10:13:11 PM »

Lindsey Graham Calls Out Fellow U.S. Republican Candidates Over Climate Change Views
“If I’m president of the United States, we’re going to address climate change, CO2 emissions in a business-friendly way,” Graham said during the interview, noting that he does “believe that climate change is real.”

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: June 08, 2015, 09:58:57 PM »

@nytimesworld: This photo is real. Caption contest?

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: June 08, 2015, 09:46:59 PM »
The U.S.’s Biggest Coal Company -- Peabody -- Can’t Pay To Clean Up Its Own Mines
Reuters reported last week that St. Louis-based Peabody Energy is “under scrutiny” from the federal government over concerns that the company is violating federal bonding regulations that are intended to guarantee that if a mining company goes bankrupt, it has sufficient insurance to pay to clean up its own mines. Instead of paying a third party for cleanup insurance, Peabody Energy has sought to comply with federal and state rules by promising regulators that it has sufficient financial resources on hand to pay for any cleanup costs — a practice known as self-bonding.

A review of securities filings by Reuters, however, found that at the end of 2014, Peabody’s assets were insufficient to meet federal and state self-bonding requirements. According to Reuters, “slumping coal prices and declining demand have put [coal] industry balance sheets under stress,” raising serious questions about whether Peabody and its competitors can continue to insure their own operations. In 2014, Peabody posted more than $700 million in losses.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: June 08, 2015, 09:43:47 PM »
@jackcushmanjr: Peabody, under severe financial pressure, will cut corporate HQ and regional staff to save $40+ million per year.

India's 2nd Deadliest Heat Wave in History Ends as the Monsoon Arrives

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: June 08, 2015, 09:26:19 PM »
G7 leaders agree on ambitious decarbonization goal but provide no plan on how they'll do it

Policy and solutions / Re: But, but, but, China....
« on: June 08, 2015, 07:53:07 PM »
China greenhouse gases: Progress is made, report says
China's greenhouse gas emissions could start to decline within 10 years, according to a report from the London School of Economics.
This would be five years earlier than expected and would offer a boost towards efforts to protect the climate.
The shift has been partly caused by a massive commitment to renewables. China is the world's top investor in wind and solar power.
It has also been replacing old coal plants with cleaner new stations.
They say China's actions will stimulate global markets for clean goods and services and harm exporters of coal and certain other raw materials.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: June 08, 2015, 02:20:24 PM »

Yes, looking back at prior agreements, it is hard to be optimistic about the outcome in Paris.  But the thing about Time, in this case, is that every month, the climate change situation is becoming worse -- and the solutions are becoming clearer (and cheaper!), so the impetus to act keeps increasing.  I think Paris will be a step -- a big, but not sufficient one -- towards the globe agreeing what needs to be done, and I'm seeing more talk about "ratcheting up" goals even after that.  Paris will not be the final word, but it will help us get our act together.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 08, 2015, 01:53:12 PM »
Today, June 8, is World Oceans Day!

Did you know:
- Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton release half of all oxygen in the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

- The ocean absorbs approximately 25 percent of the CO2 added to the atmosphere from human activities each year, greatly reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on the climate.

- Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.

- Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 2.6 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein.

The forum / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Forum Humor
« on: June 08, 2015, 01:40:30 PM »
And two more:

The forum / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Forum Humor
« on: June 08, 2015, 01:39:12 PM »
From June 2014:

9 Political Cartoons That Put Climate Change In Perspective
Last month, the Niels Bugge Cartoon Award asked illustrators and cartoonists from around the world to submit drawings based on a basic theme: climate. "Oceans are in our hands," the contest proclaimed, urging participants from 75 countries to put forth their best (and satirical) interpretation of the singular global concern.

Here are two of the entries:

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 08, 2015, 02:45:40 AM »
More on heat waves and wet bulb temperature.

The Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity
A human’s core temperature is about 98.6 degrees, but the skin temperature of the trunk is about 4 to 9 degrees colder, depending on how warm it is and how active a person is. But sweating, which helps keep the core body temperature constant, becomes increasingly ineffective in increasingly humid air, and it can never cool the skin to below the wet-bulb temperature.

A person who is physically active at a wet-bulb temperature of 80 degrees will have trouble maintaining a constant core temperature and risks overheating. A sedentary person who is naked and in the shade will run into the same problem at a wet-bulb temperature of 92 degrees. A wet-bulb temperature of 95 degrees is lethal after about six hours.

Policy and solutions / Re: UN Climate Treaty - Paris 2015
« on: June 07, 2015, 03:31:18 PM »
“Paris 2015” is now being referred to as the "Universal Climate Agreement."  Certainly puts a different spin on it....
May need to change the name of this thread.  :)


Green Climate Fund ready to help developing nations fight climate change
Once again, climate negotiators have gathered in Bonn to discuss the fate of the Universal Climate Agreement (UCA). The spiritual grandchild of the Earth Summit Rio agreement of 23 years ago, the UCA is the world's best chance to limit global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: June 07, 2015, 03:07:42 PM »
Op-Ed by Dianne Feinstein: How DC can help fight the drought in California
The federal government can and must play a significant role in proposals for new and expanded reservoirs to store water north and south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta. Most of the environmental studies necessary to evaluate these projects have been languishing for a decade or more, and they must be completed as quickly as possible.

Expanding these storage facilities will benefit not only urban areas, rural communities and farms, but also fish species that depend on the cold-water supplies held in reservoirs. In addition to expediting the federal environmental studies, there's also a role for federal dollars to leverage state investments.

Policy and solutions / Re: Energy Efficiency: The “First Fuel”
« on: June 06, 2015, 10:17:45 PM »
UNFCC:  Efficient Energy Needs Bigger Priority
Bonn Technical Experts  Meeting
Following on from Wednesday’s expert meeting on renewable energy, experts gathered again on 5 June in Bonn, Germany, for a Technical Expert Meeting on energy efficiency in urban environments. Making our cities more energy efficient is a key factor in finding a lasting solution to climate change. More than 50% of the world population lives in cities, which account for 75% of the energy use and 80% of CO2 emissions.
Lambert Schneider, Chair of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism, said “The key to investment in energy efficiency is policy intervention and incentives. In some cases, a carbon price can make a difference to overcome institutional barriers.”

Sou on:  The perversity of deniers - and the "pause" that never was with Tom Peterson
(regarding some responses to the latest paper correcting sea temperature data).

The piece includes a link to a TedX talk from Dr Tom Peterson on "What is Science: How it Differs from Art, Law and Quackery"

Article briefly describes a number of different fusion projects funded today.  Still looks like useable fusion is at least ten years off, though.

Rays of Hope: Fringe Fusion Ventures Take Small Steps Toward Energy Leap

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 06, 2015, 02:45:22 PM »
Fracking Returns, but Denton Vows to Keep Fighting
Two weeks after Denton's fracking ban was rendered illegal by a sweeping new state law restricting local control of oil-and-gas activities, residents of the north Texas town are frustrated, upset and conflicted about how best to respond.

... and planes.

Just Plane Wrong
Global aviation is the fastest-growing cause of climate change. And the EPA might let it off the hook.
By Eric Holthaus

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 05, 2015, 02:16:10 AM »
Joe Romm:  “We may not have reached ‘peak sand’ yet, but we have reached ‘peak beaches’.”

How Your Taxes Help Inflate The Value Of Coastal Properties Threatened By Climate Change

Policy and solutions / Re: Pope Francis' Encyclical on Climate Change
« on: June 04, 2015, 10:08:45 PM »
Pope's eagerly awaited environmental encyclical due June 18
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis' eagerly awaited environment encyclical will be published June 18.

The Vatican took the unusual step Thursday of announcing the release date in advance "to avoid confusion over the diffusion of unconfirmed information."

No papal document in recent times has elicited as much anticipation and anxiety as Francis' encyclical. The Vatican has helped fuel interest by mounting an unprecedented roll-out, featuring conferences, speeches and book launches tied to it.

Environmentalists are thrilled the pope is lending his moral authority to the climate change debate ahead of U.N. climate talks this year in Paris. Climate skeptics have voiced alarm that the pope is getting involved.

This week, U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said he wanted the pope to stop talking climate change and "leave science to the scientists."

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 04, 2015, 03:26:44 PM »

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: June 04, 2015, 02:01:03 PM »
Details in the link....
Top News This Week

Tech Giants Urge Halt To Green-Energy Freeze (Charlotte Observer)
Apple, Facebook and Google have called on North Carolina’s legislative leaders to halt a move to freeze the state’s renewable energy standard.

Texas Backing Away From Cutting Support For Wind, Solar Energy (Dallas Morning News)
Texas’ booming wind power industry is successfully challenging legislation that would end support for renewable energy.

Solar Panels Power Up In Connecticut (AP)
Connecticut’s rooftop solar business is thriving and becoming more common as utility rates rise.

Oil Billionaire Makes $450 Million Bid on Russian Solar Ramp-Up (Bloomberg)
Viktor Vekselberg is investing a fortune in solar farms through 2018 and says diversifying power generation will benefit the country.

'Moon Shot' Call On Clean Energy (BBC)
A group of scientists and economists want to mimic the urgency of the Apollo Space Program to spur greater global clean energy investment.

Quote of the Week
“The right and ability to access power from renewable resources is not merely a goal, but an expectation.” – Apple, Facebook and Google in a letter to North Carolina legislators calling on them to halt a move to freeze the state’s renewable energy standard (Charlotte Observer)

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 04, 2015, 03:38:47 AM »
Why You Should Be Skeptical Of Big Oil Companies Asking For A Price On Carbon
BP, Statoil, and Total might be actively calling for a carbon tax, but the three biggest U.S. oil companies — ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips — aren’t. (ExxonMobil says they would prefer a carbon tax to a cap-and-trade system, but they don’t outright support it). And those U.S. companies are spending much more to influence Congress than the letter-writing companies on campaign donations and lobbying.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewables Reach a Tipping Point...
« on: June 04, 2015, 03:09:45 AM »
We Could Power Entire World on Renewables by 2025, Says Global Apollo Program
“The objective is that, by 2020, renewable power should be cheaper than coal in all sunny parts of the world, and by 2025 in all parts of the world.”

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