30 OF OUR RECENT ARTICLES
SHORT VIDEO CLIPS
Links in BOLD are recent (14 days or less)
|Assessing Dangerous Climate Change|
From: James Hansen et al Posted: December 3rd 2013
"The paper 'Assessing Dangerous Climate Change : Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature' is being published today in the leading open-access journal PLOS ONE. A 2-page paper summary + 4-page opinion (Hansen & Kharecha) re policy implications is also available from below."
"The paper draws attention to the moral and ethical issues caused by the inertia of the climate system, which causes most of the impacts of climate change to be felt by young people and future generations, as a consequence of action or inaction of the current generation."
"Business-as-usual only assures economic decline."
|Missouri Gas Pipeline Explodes|
From: Climate Progress Posted: November 29th 2013
"A 30-inch gas gas pipeline in a rural area of western Missouri ruptured and exploded early Friday morning and sent a 300 foot high fireball into the air."
"Local news reports said that by morning, a smoldering moon-like crater could be seen at the site of the explosion. The flames also destroyed seven buildings on a nearby hog farm."
"Though a 30-inch diameter pipeline may not sound very big, it is actually comparatively large for pipelines. It’s important to note that sizable explosions can come from seemingly small pipelines as well."
|News from 55 Million Years Ago|
From: Ian Perrin Posted: November 28th 2013
"They drilled cores which they explain are much less heavily compressed than normal, so that, they argue, they can see the progress of the PETM year by year and can detect the 13 years that it took for the carbon dioxide levels to reach their maximum."
"The PETM is no longer helpful in determining how the effects of our climate change will pan out in the coming decades and centuries."
"What we do learn is that the sudden impulse's effects took around 200 years to stabilise to a 'new norm.' and around 150,000 years for that condition to decay back to the conditions in play before the PETM. Our current climate change is not something we can reverse by pulling a switch. We are meddling with disaster."
|What a Sustainable Energy Future looks like for California and the Rest of the World|
From: Renewable Energy World Posted: November 27th 2013
"In the global competition for appealing clean energy solutions, a leading entry is the new West Village at the University of California at Davis (UC Davis)"
"Seven years ago UC Davis finished first in a distinguished field, and it has more than justified expectations in the years since."
"Among the Energy Efficiency Center’s proudest achievements is the beautifully designed space next to the main campus that bills itself as the nation’s largest planned community to reach net zero — annually consuming less electricity than it produces while emitting no carbon pollution."
|U.S. Has Greatly Underestimated Methane Emissions|
From: Ian Perrin Posted: November 26th 2013
Much lively debate has occurred in the US about the levels of 'fugitive methane' release to the atmosphere as a result of shale gas production. If the critics are right and the industry wrong, then the releases from the life-cycle of shale gas make it 'dirtier' than coal in GHG terms. We have argued that decisions on exploration and production should be delayed until this science is 'solid'.
Now a new, heavyweight report boosts that solidity and suggests that the critics are right and that consequently shale gas exploration should be halted. In removing the moratorium, our government ignored sober advice. Now it faces an embarrassing U-turn.
Andy Revkin (New York Times) has a good discussion of the report with comments from many involved.
|Long awaited Eestor Progress|
From: Sacramento Bee Posted: November 21st 2013
"Six patient years after Kleiner Perkins first backed Dick Weir's company Eestor to develop solid state technology for electricity storage, it has just announced a deal that brings its dream tangibly closer."
"It has had to endure ridicule heaped upon it by 'instant gratification' critics about the promises Dick has made and its difficulty in delivering them - through to watchers regularly counting the number of cars in their Cedar Park, Texas office car park."
"But today, they announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") toward an exclusive license for Utility Grid Applications in Canada and Africa with Power Symmetry Inc.of Toronto. Power will use Eestor's units to buy electricity during the night, store it and sell it for daytime use. Here comes real grid-scale electricity storage without subsidy........ Ian "
|Warsaw's widening climate chasm could lead to 4C warming|
From: The Guardian Posted: November 21st 2013
"Scientists say countries attending United Nations climate talks are going backwards on policy and risking 4C of global warming"
"There's a gap that's getting wider in the global climate talks taking place in Warsaw between the near unanimous pledge to keep global warming below 2C and the ability of current policies to achieve the goal."
"An assessment released yesterday by scientists found that current policies and pledges would deliver to the world global warming of 3.7C, but with increasing use of coal things could get worse."
|The High Cost of Cheap Gas|
From: AllianceEarth Posted: November 20th 2013
"The developments in Botswana have gone underway quietly. Until now only a few industry press releases have been made public, this is the first journalistic investigation covering this breaking news story."
"This project exposes the reality this type of development may unleash on ecosystems and it’s effects on the people relying upon them."
This looks like development of coal bed methane (CBM), which generally uses much less water than shale gas extraction. Otherwise all the downsides of fracking come into play. Only exploration so far, but what then? Clarification needed ......Ian"
|Climate Change Driving Weather off the Charts|
From: Earth Policy Institute Posted: November 18th 2013
"At the opening of the United Nations climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, the lead delegate from the Philippines, Yeb Saño, spoke of the hellstorm that left a vast wasteland of mud and debris and dead bodies."
"Despite the massive efforts…in preparing for the onslaught of this monster of a storm, it was just a force too powerful and, even as a nation familiar with storms, Haiyan was nothing we have ever experienced before, or perhaps nothing that any country has ever experienced before."
"The five most devastating typhoons recorded in the Philippines have occurred since 1990, affecting 23 million people."
Most of us 'know' that severe climate change is underway, even though scientists cannot ascribe single events like this as definitive. SA must not expect to remain relatively unharmed by it.
|Alberta - The Thomases|
From: AlbertaVoices Posted: November 14th 2013
"In the same week that they broke ground to make way for their new house, a horizontal well was drilled 300 metres from the edge of their property line. It was the first of its kind in the immediate neighbourhood."
"In the year and a half that followed, nearly 80 new wells were drilled and fracked in the area. During this period, most wells were not tied into gas conservation pipeline infrastructure and the effluent was instead burned off for months on end. "
"There is an industry mindset that less or no regulation of the unconventional industry will in some way lead to greater prosperity for us all. In our province, that mindset has been driven over the edge by some well-placed economists in the industry and government. That is a fallacy now and I believe the industry is quickly moving to a situation of higher costs, stakeholder revolts and, ultimately, unhappy shareholders. Somebody — government, the regulator, the industrial association or the industry — needs to wake up!"
|Coal replacing gas ... already|
From: Deborah Rogers Posted: October 30th 2013
When gas overtook coal for electricity production in the US, industry crowed that this was the shape of things to come with electricity costs plummeting for consumers and heralding the end of King Coal.
According to EIA (Energy Information Administration): "During the first half of 2013…the price of natural gas delivered to electric generators averaged $4.46 per MMBtu, 44 percent higher than the same period last year."
"Industry and its proponents including such entities as the Wall Street Journal, have made fantastical comments about nat gas providing benefits to the poor which will be long lived particularly with respect to lower electricity costs for the consumer. Such benefits are already evaporating. We do not live in Camelot regardless of industry and media hype."
The Emperor's new clothes story all over again ..... [Ian]
|The Numbers Don't Add Up|
From: Kurt Cobb Posted: October 20th 2013
"Energy independence sounds good, and that's why politicians and oil company executives love to say the words. It's so easy to say, but oh so hard to actually accomplish, which is why the United States has been a consistent importer of oil since the late 1940s."
"As several people have noted for some time, the primary problem with the tight[oil]/[natural gas] shale plays is the high decline rate."
"At a (probably conservative) 10%/year decline rate for existing U.S. crude oil production, in order to simply maintain current U.S. crude oil production, the industry would have to put on line the productive equivalent of every current oil field in the U.S. over the next 10 years, or in round numbers we would need the productive equivalent of 10 new Bakken plays over 10 years, in order to maintain current crude oil production."
|No Long-Term Climate Benefit From Shale Gas|
From: Joe Romm Posted: October 18th 2013
"Most claims that shale gas will significantly reduce US carbon emissions in the future are based on little more than hand-waving and wishful thinking."
"That’s because those claims assume natural gas is replacing coal only, rather than replacing some combination of coal, renewables, nuclear power, and energy efficiency — which is obviously what will happen in the real world"
"… natural gas begins to displace nuclear and renewable energy that would have been used otherwise in new power plants. "
|A $10 Trillion Opportunity… Here and Now|
From: Clean Technica Posted: October 16th 2013
"First, allow me introduce you to Mr. Jigar Shah, who will guide you on the path in his just released book, Creating Climate Wealth. He offers his reader a clear, engaging, easy-to-understand conversation about seizing this moment to make climate change a huge business opportunity"
"In this fast-paced, straight forward read, he describes in detail the opportunity in front of all of us: how to turn the biggest challenge of our lifetime — climate change — into a $10 trillion dollar new economy."
"He actually presents a New Economy Plan that identifies 100,000 businesses each selling $100 million in climate change solutions by 2020 — $10 trillion in total!"
|Smoking Kills, so does Climate Change|
From: Amy Huva Posted: October 15th 2013
"There’s a lot of things not to like about the way the IPCC communicates what they do, but for me the main one is that they speak a very specific dialect of bureaucrat that no-one else understands unless they’ve also worked on UN things and speak the same sort of acronym."
"What does the [AR5] report actually say? It works its way through each of the different climate systems and how they’re changing because humans are burning fossil fuels"
The AR5's conclusions were not taken into account when our government reviewed fracking. The confirmation of a budget for atmospheric carbon should now be taken into account and the process re-examined..... [Ian]
|World's Financial Institutions Agree|
From: Ryan Koronowski Posted: October 9th 2013
"On Wednesday, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría made the case that ignoring the risks posed by climate change is even more dangerous than the risks posed by a breakdown in the financial sector."
"The Asset Owners Disclosure Project estimates an average of over 55 per cent of pension funds’ portfolios is being invested in high carbon assets or sectors greatly exposed to climate change physical impacts and climate change-related regulation."
"The looming choice may be either stranding those assets or stranding the planet."
|Shell CEO talks about Disappointment in Shale|
From: Shale Energy Insider Posted: October 7th 2013
"The Financial Times spoke to Shell CEO Peter Voser, three months before he will be giving up this position, who said that he regretted the ‘huge bet’ – at least USD 24 billion – the company made on US shale."
"According to Voser: 'Unconventionals did not exactly play out as planned… We expected higher flow rates and therefore more scalability for a company like Shell.'"
"As for the US shale boom, he believes it is 'hyped' and exploration could lead to disappointment, and although he said China was one of the countries with the most shale potential, he thinks there could be problems because costs in China are higher than in the US."
|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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