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US EPA Failing to Stop Methane Leaks
From: Katie Valentine  Posted: July 26th 2014

"The Environmental Protection Agency isn’t doing enough to prevent methane from escaping from natural gas pipelines, according to a new report from the agency’s internal watchdog. Up until now, however, the EPA has only implemented a program that encourages natural gas companies to reduce their methane emissions voluntarily, but doesn’t require them to do so."

"Scientists have warned that methane emissions from the natural gas industry are a significant contributor to climate change, and in 2013, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan stated that 'curbing emissions of methane is critical to our overall effort to address global climate change.'"

So much for relying on oil and gas companies to follow best practice. Additionally, the EPA report uses a 100-year methane GWP that was superseded within AR5 in September 2013 and a value over a shorter period has more relevance to real life. Such a value would be substantially higher (I suggest x 3), would highlight more appropriately the GHG problem and show shale gas to be much worse than coal in terms of lifetime emissions .... [Ian]

Wind Energy Cheapest
From: Energy Digital  Posted: July 23rd 2014

"According to the government of Denmark’s energy agency, onshore wind power is the cheapest form of new electricity generation. This puts it ahead of both renewable and non-renewable sources, including biomass, coal, and solar power."

"The Danish Energy Agency found that onshore wind plants coming online in 2016 will [produce electricity at] around $.05 (R0.53) per kilowatt hour. Denmark has been a big investor in wind power for decades—since around the 1970s—and has benefitted from the falling costs. Now, it hosts several big renewable energy companies such as Siemens and Vestas."

"Large dedicated biomass plants and converted biomass power stations were found to be the most expensive, with an operation cost of $.15 (R1.58) per kWh."

Solar Power Soon to Dominate
From: Clean Technica  Posted: July 22nd 2014

"If a growth rate of over 41% continues until 2022, then the world will be producing/installing over 0.5 terawatts of solar PV panels per year and maybe as much as 1.0 terawatt per year. At this rate, solar PV will become THE major source of power throughout the world."

"Further, when including any additional growth in production/installation, this will happen in a few years, easily within the next decade. Total global power use is less than 20 terawatts. (This is all of the world’s power use, not just electricity.)"

" Will it really take 50 years for solar PV to provide most of our power? Or will it only take 10 to 20 years? Think about it."

CHINA  |   UPCOMING  |   40% LOWER YET?  |   SkS  |   RMI

Sandra Steingraber

Concerned Health Professionals of New York
From: Ian Perrin  Posted: July 21st 2014

"Health experts and scientific researchers with Concerned Health Professionals of New York have released a major new compilation – a Compendium – of the scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking."

"Its findings are directly relevant to what is proposed for the Karoo, once allowance for the differences between the shales encountered in the Marcellus and those of South Africa is made."

"We would add the difficulty of policing the application of the regulatory authority which is proposed by our government."


California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste
From: Abrahm Lustgarten  Posted: July 18th 2014

"California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there."

"The action comes as California's agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion (R23.4 billion) this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers"

"A 2012 ProPublica investigation of more than 700,000 injection wells across the country found that wells were often poorly regulated and experienced high rates of failure."

Global Inequality Risks Spread of Military Conflicts, Cameron Warned
From: The Guardian  Posted: July 18th 2014

"David Cameron is warned today by Graça Machel, widow of the late South African statesman Nelson Mandela, that unless world leaders made 2015 a year for development, the consequence would not just be poverty but also growing military conflicts from which the rich would be unable to protect themselves for decades to come."

"It is Machel's first global political act since the death of her husband last year."

"The letter to Cameron has also been signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the rock star Bono, the Nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the billionaire entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim and the 17-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai."

Naomi Oreskes

The Collapse of Western Civilization
From: Joe Romm  Posted: July 16th 2014

"The human populations of Australia and Africa, of course, were wiped out."

"To the historian studying this tragic period of human history, the most astounding fact is that the victims knew what was happening and why. Indeed, they chronicled it in detail precisely because they knew that fossil fuel combustion was to blame."

"Historical analysis also shows that Western civilization had the technological know-how and capability to effect an orderly transition to renewable energy, yet the available technologies were not implemented in time."

South Africa’s Largest Wind Energy Project Commissioned
From: Clean Technica  Posted: July 16th 2014

"South Africa has started sourcing electricity from its largest wind energy project. The 138 MW Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, which was allocated to a consortium, three years ago during the first phase auction of the RE-IPP"

"With the planned annual production of 460 GWh, it is expected Jeffreys Bay will avoid production of 420,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, and provide a source of renewable electricity for nearly 100,000 average South African households."

"The wind farm represents income for the local community; additional and clean electricity for the country; technological and skills development, and a positive experience for the wind farm’s foreign developers that is encouraging them to invest more in South Africa."

UN Receives Landmark Study on Mitigation
From: News24   Posted: July 8th 2014

"More than two dozen scientific institutes, in unprecedented advice to world leaders, on Tuesday urged major economies to unleash an energy revolution for slashing carbon emissions to safer levels by 2050."

"The experts pointed to fossil energy as the big carbon spewer, calling for a revolution in favour of cleaner transport and architecture, and low-carbon fuels and electricity."

"The collaborative effort was authored by around 30 institutes in 15 countries [including South Africa] accounting for more than 70% of global emissions. To have a 'likely' chance of meeting 2°C, and factoring in a global population set to rise from 7.2 billion to 9.5 billion by mid-century, countries must reduce average per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from 5.2 tonnes today to 1.6 tons in 2050, the report said."

What is Missing from the Fracking Debate?
From: Andrew Nikiforuk  Posted: July 2nd 2014

"The federally funded Council of Canadian Academies .... recommended a go-slow approach given the absence of good science on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing as well the lack of effective groundwater monitoring for hydrocarbons in Western Canada."

"The Hydraulic Fracturing Review in Nova Scotia seems to think that good regulations can manage the impacts of this sprawling and intensive mining technology on people, water and the land."

"All of these papers share a critical disconnect from the real world, where best practices are ignored; captive regulators turn a blind eye to rule breakers; and government knowingly abuses public water resources with impunity."

Ignoring the best science and failures of oversight are common threads where fracking is planned or used. Our government should review the latest science and anticipate common practice, not best practice ...... Ian


40% of wells forecast to fail in NE Pennsylvania
From: Cornell Chronicle  Posted: June 30th 2014

"About 40 percent of the oil and gas wells in parts of the Marcellus shale region will probably be leaking methane into the groundwater or into the atmosphere, concludes a Cornell-led research team that examined the records of more than 41,000 such wells in Pennsylvania."

"These results, particularly in light of numerous contamination complaints and explosions nationally in areas with high concentrations of unconventional oil and gas development ... should be cause for concern"

"Both conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells are 8.5 times more likely to leak methane in northeastern Pennsylvania than throughout the rest of the state, according to the study."


R1.5billion for SA's Thermal Solar
From: Clean Technica  Posted: June 30th 2014

"Project Xina in the Northern Cape Province has secured R1.5 billion from the African Development Bank including a concessional financial support of R440 million from Clean Technology Fund."

"The project was awarded to Abengoa during the third round of auctions of projects under the REIPP program back in October 2013, will use parabolic trough reflectors to set up a generation capacity of 100 MW and have a 5 hour storage capacity equivalent to 1,650 MWh."

"It is part of South Africa’s short-term policy to install 3,725 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2016 and 9.4 GW of solar power capacity by 2030, so reducing GHG emissions by 42% by 2025 from business-as-usual levels."

PEROVSKITES  |   12 x BY 2030  |   PV GOLD RUSH

Africa’s leaders need to be vocal on climate urgency
From: RTCC  Posted: June 27th 2014

"Addressing leaders at an African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Friday Ban Ki-Moon said they owed it to their populations who are likely to suffer from rising global temperatures."

"Because African countries have least contributed to climate change and yet at the same time, they are the most and the worst affected."

"The UN chief said unless world leaders arrived at his New York Climate Change Summit in September with 'ambitious national targets and ambitious goals' the world would be in 'serious danger'."


The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States
From: riskybusiness.org  Posted: June 24th 2014

"Damages from storms, flooding, and heat waves are already costing local economies billions of dollars."

"With the oceans rising and the climate changing, the Risky Business report details the costs of inaction in ways that are easy to understand in dollars and cents—and impossible to ignore."

"The research focused on : Damage to coastal property and infrastructure from rising sea levels and increased storm surge, climate-driven changes in agricultural production and energy demand, and the impact of higher temperatures on labor productivity and public health."


Study shows greater potential for low-cost CSP plants
From: Imperial College, London  Posted: June 23rd 2014

"In a new study, researchers from the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, Stellenbosch University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have calculated for the first time that connecting ‘concentrating solar power’ (CSP) plants could supply a significant amount of current electricity demand, alleviating concerns over the reliability and intermittency of renewable power."

"CSP technology uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate light from the sun, which it converts into heat to power a turbine and produce electricity."

"The researchers simulated the construction and operation of connected CSP systems in the Mediterranean, South Africa, India and the United States of America. Results showed that if CSP plants are connected, they could provide up to 80 per cent of current electricity demand, at little to no extra cost."


The State of the Climate Debate
From: Ian Perrin  Posted: June 13th 2014

"Kevin Anderson's blog of 5th June examines the US commitment to cut its emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and concludes that: The maths accompanying obligations to avoid 'dangerous climate change' demand fundamental change rather than rousing rhetoric and incremental action."

" View a 7 minute video clip of Michael Mann explaining the IPCC's conservatism and note that even the IPCC tells us that South Africa can expect temperature increases of 3 to 5C, without emissions reduction and that in turn implies consequences for food production."

"Ezra Klein, until recently a highly regarded political commentator with the Washington Post, wrote a piece entitled '7 Reasons America will fail on climate change' and Joe Romm of Climate Progress responded. Here we look at each of his 'Reasons' in turn and Joe Romm's response to each. "


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.

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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