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Why China's (and SA's) Environment Ministry should say No to Coal Gasification
From: Greenpeace East Asia  Posted: April 15th 2014

"It takes six to 10 litres of clean water to produce one cubic metre of SNG from coal, with more waste water and carbon emitted than when coal is simply burned for electricity or heat. And this will happen in the north-west, in places like Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, which suffer from water shortages and vulnerable environments."

"It’s not low-carbon, it’s not clean, it’s not renewable. It is uneconomic and inefficient. Coal has been disguised as gas, and the MEP’s stance of strict control in the east has been reversed for the west."

"Not only is it unconcerned about the overall environmental damage this will cause, it’s even spoken in support. It really is depressing."


Up To 1,000 Times More Methane Released at Gas Wells than US EPA Estimates
From: Climate Progress  Posted: April 15th 2014

"The researchers, who were attempting to understand whether airborne measurements of methane aligned with estimates taken at ground level — the method commonly used by the EPA and state regulators — flew a plane over the region of the Marcellus Shale for two days."

"They determined that the wells leaking the most methane were in the drilling phase, a period that has not been known for high emissions."

"Experts had thought that methane was more likely to be released during subsequent phases of production, including hydraulic fracturing, well completion or transport through pipelines."

IPCC - Mitigation now a Must
From: The Guardian  Posted: April 13th 2014

"The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades."

"Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Professor Edenhofer [who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team that published its report on Sunday] said, but only if it replaced coal burning."

"The authoritative report, produced by 1,250 international experts and approved by 194 governments, dismisses fears that slashing carbon emissions would wreck the world economy. It is the final part of a trilogy that has already shown that climate change is unequivocally caused by humans and that, unchecked, it poses a grave threat to people and could lead to wars and mass migration."

Bad news, ugly news and better news
From: Ian Perrin  Posted: April 10th 2014

"The changes we are now witnessing are much more rapid than even the extinction events, so we are compelled to conclude that we, too, are triggering a mass extinction and that we must take rapid action to prevent that happening."

"Exxon/Mobil now acknowledge that climate change is real, an improvement over their recent position, but are highly selective in the data they use to justify inaction on their part."

"Royal Dutch Shell, Adidas, Unilever, and some 70 other companies have released a communiqué urging world governments to keep carbon emissions since the industrial revolution to a cumulative of 1 trillion metric tons."

Solar PV on the March
From: Ian Perrin  Posted: April 8th 2014

"Citi Group tell us that onshore wind power costs only one third of coal for baseline electricity generation, whilst solar PV usage is increasing by leaps and bounds, both for peak power generation and for increasingly popular off-grid systems."

"Meanwhile a second report by Morgan Stanley advises us that due to rising electricity prices and falling battery and solar costs, we may be nearing a tipping point that will persuade home and business owners to go 'off-grid'. "

"A third report from UNEP and Bloomberg explores the similarities with the cellphone market, where prices seemed high at first, but suddenly everyone had one."


Exxon Mobil's response to climate change is Consummate Arrogance
From: Bill McKibben  Posted: April 3rd 2014

"As scientists laid bare the impacts of climate change, the oil and gas giant said climate policies are highly unlikely to stop it digging up fossil fuels."

"In formal response to a shareholder resolution that demanded they disclose their carbon risk and talk about how they planned to deal with the fact that they and other oil giants have many times more carbon in their collective reserves than scientists say we can safely burn."

"The company said that government restrictions that would force it to keep its reserves in the ground were highly unlikely, and that they would not only dig them all up and burn them, but would continue to search for more gas and oil. If Exxon Mobil and its ilk keep their promise to dig up their reserves and burn them, then the planet will no longer function effectively."

Climate Change a Threat to Security, Food and Humankind - IPCC
From:   Posted: March 31st 2014

"The report from the UN's intergovernmental panel on climate change concluded that climate change was already having effects in real time – melting sea ice and thawing permafrost in the Arctic, killing off coral reefs in the oceans, and leading to heat waves, heavy rains and mega-disasters."

"And the worst was yet to come. Climate change posed a threat to global food stocks, and to human security, the blockbuster report said."

"'We are now in an era where climate change isn't some kind of future hypothetical,' said Chris Field, one of the two main authors of the report."


Research shows that well leakage is an issue for shale exploitation
From: Durham University  Posted: March 25th 2014

"ReFINE (Researching Fracking in Europe), an independent research consortium focusing on the issue of shale gas and oil exploitation using fracking methods, has today published a research paper on well barrier and integrity failure. The key findings are:"

" - Studies of oil and gas wells that were drilled over the last 100 years reveal highly variable well barrier and well integrity failure rates of 1.9%-75%."

" -This variation in failure rates is probably due to the differences in the number of wells included in each study, their age, design and the geology they penetrate. For example, of 8,030 wells targeting the Marcellus shale inspected in Pennsylvania between 2005 and 2013, 6.3% of these have been reported to the authorities for infringements related to well barrier or integrity failure."

US Atmospheric Scientists Predict Intense El Nino
From: ABC Rural  Posted: March 24th 2014

"The sub-surface temperature of the eastern Pacific Ocean is measuring an 'astounding' six degrees warmer than normal for this time of year."

"A team of US atmospheric scientists says that points to a major El Nino event forming to rival the record event nearly 20 years ago. El Nino is associated with dry conditions and reduced monsoons in Australia and Indonesia, but wetter weather in Central America."

"Paul E. Roundy, associate professor of atmospheric science at the University at Albany, New York, says there's been a series of westerly winds that amplify waves, moving warm currents of water thousands of kilometres and moving a surge of warm water from west to east."

Climate Change Worsening California’s Epic Drought
From: Joe Romm  Posted: March 23rd 2014

"The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that the area of California under moderate drought (or worse) rose from 94.6 percent of the state to a stunning 99.8 percent. The area under extreme or exceptional drought rose from 65.9 to 71.8 percent, encompassing the entire agriculture-rich Central Valley"

"What precipitation there is will probably come in extreme deluges, resulting in runoff rather than drought alleviation. Warming causes greater evaporation and, once the ground is dry, the Sun’s energy goes into baking the soil, leading to a further increase in air temperature"

"California had its warmest winter on record…. The California winter temperature was 48.0°F[9°C], 4.4°F[2.4°C] above the 20th century average."

Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate
From: NY Times  Posted: March 18th 2014

"Early in his career, a scientist named Mario J. Molina was pulled into seemingly obscure research about strange chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere. Within a year, he had helped discover a global environmental emergency, work that would ultimately win a Nobel Prize."

"Now, at 70, Dr. Molina is trying to awaken the public to an even bigger risk. He spearheaded a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, which released a stark report Tuesday on global warming."

"The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing."

Luke Havemann

Bad News for Oil and Gas. Good News for the Planet
From: Ian Perrin  Posted: March 15th 2014

Our government has gone public with the resource ownership conditions it will impose on oil and gas companies seeking to explore for and to produce our oil and gas reserves.

They will own, without payment and on our behalf, 20 percent of any discoveries. That is normal and expected. What is new is that they will have the right to purchase the other 80 percent at an agreed price. That amounts to nationalisation of our resources.

Historically, nationalisation has occurred once the deposits have been confirmed and production has matured, so it will be interesting to watch the response from companies seeking exploration rights. Since the IPCC require four-fifths of fossil fuels to be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming, we applaud this desision and look forward to South Africa's energy focus becoming other than fossil fuels.

Read a BizNews interview with Luke Havemann about the issue by clicking on 'INTERVIEW' or download a 4.2Mb .mp3 podcast of the same interview by clicking on 'PODCAST'

Fracking revenue still not clear - Shell
From: IOL Scitech  Posted: March 11th 2014

"Shell says there is no certainty that fracking for shale gas in the Karoo will be economically viable"

"Julia Schünemann, a researcher from the Institute for Security Studies, told delegates that a research project on the future of fracking in South Africa had looked at various scenarios, including one in which the government levied an excise tax on gas from fracking, in addition to the energy tax, which would be invested in renewable energy production and infrastructure. South Africa would capitalise on the economic gains from shale gas by investing in renewable energy, which would drive long-term sustainability."

"Investment in renewable energy could drive production up to over 1.6 billion barrel of oil equivalent (BBOe) by 2050, making it a larger source of energy in SA than coal today."

World’s Greatest Crime against Humanity and Nature
From: Dr. James Hansen  Posted: March 10th 2014

"I have long been troubled by the injustice of human-made climate change to our children and grandchildren, which may soon constitute a tragedy of epic proportions. Now I stare in the face of another tragedy."

"Air pollution from coal kills over 1,000,000 people per year in China. Life expectancy in North China is reduced at least five years, and those living suffer many health effects. One scientist told me that he was using his savings to send his child out of the country, to grow for a while in clean air."

"What makes me sick is the realization that climate change and air pollution were both preventable. Thus they are true human-made tragedies. And I know that we in the West bear a moral burden."

Rajendra Pachauri

Higher Population, Lower Crop Yields
From: The Guardian  Posted: March 7th 2014

"The heaviest rainfall in 200 years, floods and gales experienced in Britain this winter are a foretaste of what is certain to occur in a warming world."

"Two types of extreme events are going to occur more frequently – extreme precipitation and heatwaves. It is important for societies to deal with climate change if we want to avoid the impacts"

"Pachauri was speaking ahead of the publication next month of a major global assessment of the impact of climate change on the world's food supplies, human health, cities and rural areas. Leaked copies seen by the Guardian warn of crop yields falling 2% a decade even as the demand from rapidly growing population increases by 14% per decade."


Obama: ‘If Congress Won’t Act Soon To Protect Future Generations, I Will’
From: Joe Romm  Posted: February 13th 2013

"For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods – all are now more frequent and more intense."

"We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late."

"I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."


TEDX study reveals more detail about the dangers of gas drilling
From Ian Perrin  Posted: 14th November 2012

"The study shows that air sampling near natural gas operations reveals numerous chemicals in the air, many associated with natural gas operations. Some of the highest concentrations in the study were from methane, ethane, propane, and other alkanes that occur as a result of natural gas operations"

"Although concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in this study appear low, they may have clinical significance."

We thank them sincerely on behalf of all South Africans for the effort they are making to understand the effects of drilling and fracking for natural gas that will result in better protection for our workers and communities alike. [Ian]

Greenhouse Gas Theory explained
From Ian Perrin  Posted: 24th October 2012

You might have gained the impression climate change caused by rising amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere is a contentious theory added only recently to our scientific understanding.

Not so – we can trace the basis for it all the way back to Isaac Newton's work in the early 1670's and the first, generally accepted theory around 1859, more than 150 years ago."

Here's our plain English version of the history of its development and some detail on the scientists involved.

IEA warns time is running out to prevent catastrophic climate change
From: Business Green  Posted: 25th May 2012

The IEA published a report showing CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel combustion hit 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011, just 1Gt below the threshold that scientists say could give the world a 50% chance of preventing a 2°C global temperature rise.

Large numbers of climate scientists are concerned that temperature increases of above 2°C could trigger runaway climate change whereby natural carbon sinks such as permafrost and the Amazon Rainforest start to release greenhouse gas emission.

Those scientists are also concerned that the 2°C limit, suggested in the 2007 IPCC AR4 report, is now out of date and should be set at 1.5°C. The surprising speeds of Arctic ice reduction and methane increase underpin that conclusion. The most recent science about the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is concerning. [Ian]

We Must Heed James Hansen
From: Joe Romm & Michael Mann  Posted: 9th August 2012

"During the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that 'it is time to stop waffling…. The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here.'" Much criticism followed.

"Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient – and his critics were proven overly cautious."

"Given the prescience of Hansen’s science, we would be unwise to ignore his latest, more dire warning."

"The time for debate about the reality of human-caused climate change has now passed. We can have a good faith debate about how to deal with the problem – how to reduce future climate change and adapt to what is already upon us to reduce the risks that climate change poses to society. But we can no longer simply bury our heads in the sand."

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