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Response to WorleyParsons' EIA on behalf of PetroSA
From: Fractual  Posted: October 28th 2014

PetroSA plan to frack offshore of Mossel Bay and to dispose of the returned fracking and flowback fluids directly into the open ocean, without SA regulation or supervision.

The resulting gas will be piped ashore. Its GHG credentials will be worse than coal and burning it will add to climate change, which will hit our poorest communities hardest.

There is no benefit provided by this project that cannot be bettered economically, contain less financial risk, provide more, cleaner employment and protect the environments of both the ocean and land than those provided by renewable energy sources. Wind and/or solar PV are ready to provide South Africa with electricity and, via EVs, transportation. We are experiencing a paradigm shift, but our government's eyes are closed to it. SA risks being left behind, whilst pouring our resources into fading technologies.


Fossil Fuels will have to Stay in the Ground
From: The Guardian  Posted: November 25th 2014

"The world’s fossil fuels will 'obviously' have to stay in the ground in order to solve global warming, Barack Obama’s climate change envoy said yesterday."

"In the clearest sign to date [that] the administration sees no long-range future for fossil fuel, the state department climate change envoy, Todd Stern, said the world would have no choice but to forgo developing reserves of oil, coal and gas."

"A global deal to fight climate change would necessarily require countries to abandon known reserves of oil, coal and gas, Stern told a forum at the Center for American Progress in Washington."

Climate Change is not just about Science
From:   Posted: November 22nd 2014

"The discussions in Paris in 2015 will be informed by the latest climate science. In our play 2071, which recently completed its inaugural run at the Royal Court theatre in London, we explore the science, its implications and the options before us. A key aim is to leave the audience better placed to participate in the public discourse, in which we all need to play a part."

"Climate change is a controversial subject that can raise strong emotions. We are all susceptible to being less open-minded and rational about it than we may appreciate. The climate system is very complex, yet its discussion is often oversimplified."

"In order to stay below the 2C “guardrail”, human carbon emissions have to drop to 50% of the present level by 2050 and thereafter drop to zero. This would mean leaving 75% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. They would become economically worthless."

Methane Leaks Could be Halved
From: Jeff Spross  Posted: November 20th 2014

"According to a new report — co-written by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club and the Clean Air Task Force — specific new regulations could reduce these emissions by 42 to 48 percent, and thus prevent the release of anywhere from 3.2 to 3.7 million metric tons of methane per year."

"Along with cutting carbon pollution from power plants and vehicles, these practical steps are the one-two punch we need to stave off the worst effects of a disrupted climate."

"The net cost of these measures is very low because they keep gas in the system instead of wasting it. Some of the measures pay for themselves because of this reduced waste."

Even if that's achieved, shale gas is still a fossil fuel which might then not be worse than coal, but still adds to the GHG burden when burned ..........[Ian]

Why US fracking is biggest red herring in history of oil
From: Giles Parkinson  Posted: November 19th 2014

"Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham has delivered another stinging assessment of the global oil industry, suggesting that it is in inevitable decline."

"They have drilled, as always, the best parts of the best fields first, and because the first two years of flow are basically all we get in fracking, we should have expected considerably better financial results by now."

"Fortunately, a continued steady decline in the cost of wind power is likely, and a rapid decline in solar and energy storage costs is almost a certainty. It is vital therefore ..... to emphasize fuel efficiency, reduce wastage of all kind, and encourage the rapid development of sustainable 'alternative' forms of energy, particularly those that displace oil."


SA Manufacturers Express Anxiety over Renewables Delay
From: Engineering News  Posted: November 18th 2014

"Manufacturers of renewable-energy inputs have called on government to urgently finalise the financial closure for the 17 projects identified as preferred bids following the third procurement round under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP)."

"The third-round preferred bidders were identified on October 29 last year and the projects were initially scheduled to reach financial close on July 30, 2014. However, financial close was subsequently delayed, primarily as a result of grid-connection problems and a senior Department of Energy official recently indicated that the revised deadline of the end of November might also be missed."

"In a statement released through the South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec), green-economy manufacturers warned that the viability of their facilities, together with the accompanying jobs, could be threatened unless there was finality before year-end."


The World will have to Cease all Carbon Emissions by 2040
From: Jeff Spross  Posted: November 17th 2014

"By 2040, the world will emit all the carbon it can afford while remaining within safe ranges of climate change, according to a report released last week. Scientists and policymakers have generally settled on 2°C as the amount of global temperature increase, over pre-industrial levels, the climate can take without creating truly dangerous upheavals."

"Because the effect of carbon in the atmosphere is cumulative, staying below that threshold requires a hard limit on the amount of carbon the world emits between now and 2100. We’ve already blown through a bit over half of that 'carbon budget.' Last week’s World Energy Outlook 2014 from the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that, on our current course, we’ll chew through the rest by 2040."

"To remain under 2°C, all world carbon emissions would have to immediately drop to zero after that year, which of course they won’t."


How Tesla Updates Change The Game
From: Clean Technica  Posted: November 17th 2014

"Kim Reynolds, the Testing Director of Motor Trend, has formed an attachment to the Tesla Model S P85, with large part due to its frequently updated software."

"'The next night, while driving down the street to my house, the car automatically rose on its air suspension a few seconds before I turned into my steep driveway,' Kim noted. 'Previously — and only if I remembered — I had to stop and push buttons to raise it.'"

"Kim notes that expected future updates, such as opening one’s garage door and parking itself, will be rolled out quietly in a similar fashion."


IEA Warns Signs of Stress must not be Ignored
From: Clean Technica  Posted: November 13th 2014

"As our global energy system grows and transforms, signs of stress continue to emerge. But renewables are expected to go from strength to strength, and it is incredible that we can now see a point where they become the world’s number one source of electricity generation."

"Renewables are expected to account for nearly half of the global increase in power generation by 2040, and overtake coal as the leading source of energy generation. However, as has been noted time and time again, integrating this much renewable energy is going to be the major sticking point."

Fortunately solutions that will ease their adoption are at hand and some are now making it to market........[Ian]

Why The US-China CO2 Deal is an Energy, Climate and Political Gamechanger
From: Joe Romm  Posted: November 12th 2014

"The U.S.-China deal is truly a game-changer. In fact, you could make a strong case that prior to this deal, neither the U.S. or China were seriously in the game of trying to stave off climate catastrophe. Now both countries are."

"When you add the recent European Union (EU) pledge to cut total emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, we now have countries representing more than half of all global emissions making serious commitments — and that in turn puts pressure on every other country. If the developing countries were to all follow China’s lead, and the non-EU developed countries follow it, a 2015 global deal would slash carbon pollution this century by a whopping 2500 billion tons of CO2."

"The Chinese commitment to more than double carbon-free electricity generation is also a game-changer. It guarantees that the recent explosive growth — and amazing price drops — experienced by renewables like solar and wind will continue for decades to come. And that means the long-predicted ascendance of carbon-free energy has now begun in earnest."

Cash from Solar ATMs
From: Clean Technica  Posted: November 11th 2014

"The Mpumalanga province ... has been prone to frequent load-shedding like the rest of the country. Now this is ironic because 'Mpumalanga' literally means 'the place where the sun rises.'"

"Just over a week ago, Eskom was forced to implement rolling blackouts for the second time this year after the coal silo of its 4.1-GW coal-fired power plant collapsed. This affected much of the country, including Johannesburg."

"There could not be a better time to report the news that South Africa’s first solar ATMs have started operating in Mpumalanga. A number of solar ATMs were rolled out across the state by ATM Solutions, which is a subsidiary of Johannesburg-based payment service provider Paycorp Holdings."


Shell Accused of Hijacking Clean-up Process in Niger Delta
From: desmogblog  Posted: November 10th 2014

"[Monday was] the nineteenth anniversary of the murder of the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa by the Nigerian junta for his campaign against the oil giant Shell. Saro-Wiwa was the leader of a campaign by the Ogoni against Shell’s chronic pollution and gas flaring in the Niger Delta."

"Whilst the oil giant quite clearly operated to double standards and made huge profits, the locals were on the front line of Shell’s pollution, but they received no compensation in return."

"Their health project is in Oloibiri, where Shell first found oil in the late fifties. 'I have explored for oil in Venezuela, I have explored for oil in Kuwait, I have never seen an oil-rich town as impoverished as Oloibiri' remarked one BP engineer back in 1990."

Tracking Frackers from the Sky
From: Smithsonian.com  Posted: November 10th 2014

"Citizen scientists eyeing Pennsylvania's natural gas drillers in aerial images may help determine if there is a link between fracking and certain illnesses. Ever since the natural gas boom took off in Pennsylvania in 2006, some people living near the drilling rigs have complained of headaches, gastrointestinal ailments, skin problems and asthma."

"But there’s a hitch: the exact locations of many active fracking sites remain a closely guarded secret."

"So the Johns Hopkins researchers turned to a small nonprofit called SkyTruth, which scrutinizes satellite and other aerial imagery. .They enlisted more than 200 volunteers in public meetings and on social media from as far away as Japan, who have collectively spent thousands of hours poring over satellite images of Pennsylvania’s bucolic landscape. SkyTruth trained its recruits to distinguish regularly-shaped waste ponds from natural ponds and wetlands. Ten different volunteers examined each image to ensure the accuracy of the data."


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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