Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Tackling Climate Change: Lord Nicolas Stern discusses changes taking place in economic costs of climate change. Who is paying in money vs. paying in lives and future prosperity? The subject involves science, politics, ethics, psychology and may not be addressed as an isolated subject. The evidence, changes and impacts are changing faster than anticipated and adaptation must be undertaken with urgency.
Photo credit: YouTube capture
IMF's Lagarde Calls For "Wise" Taxes to Foster Greener Fuels: The International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde called for tax reforms to be included in a global climate deal. She believes this will incentivize consumers to reduce their energy consumption. She believes the price of greenhouse gas emissions should be at the center of a climate deal. She added that after 10 years of emissions trading with the EU Emissions Trading System there has yet to be meaningful change from the big polluters. She said the best way to proceed is from the consumer side through fuel taxes and a carbon levy that would encompass coal, natural gas and other oil products. The key is for the taxes to be levied wisely in a step by step program that would allow the consumer and big polluters to transition them into their budgets, technological advances, and operating costs.
Photo credit: Reuters/Mariana Bazo
A Deceptive Spin by The Heritage Institute on "Capitalism vs. the Climate:" Naomi Kline recently published the article in The Nation magazine about her experiences at the Institute's sixth international conference on climate change.
"Denialists are dead wrong about the science. But they understand something the left still doesn't get about the revolutionary meaning of climate change."
A dried-up riverbed at Huangyangchuan reservoir in Lanzhou, China. (Reuters/China Daily)
"THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING"; Naomi Kline speaks at Seattle Town Hall about capitalism vs. climate change. (YouTube Video)
Bernie Sanders' Low Income Solar Act: In an effort to help poverty and low income people the energy bills and energy availability, Senator Bernie Sanders has presented a bill to subsidize solar energy distribution. Independent Sanders has been a long standing supporter of sustainable energy and supporter of programs to raise people out of poverty, provide low cost education, and regulate corruption in government, banking, and corporate manipulation in the media.
Meet China’s Clean Energy Wildcatters Who Are $9 Billion Richer: Share prices of the best-performing clean energy companies are outperforming the Shanghai Composite and the S&P 500. Emerging entrepreneurs are creating fabulous wealth as China upsizes sustainable energy plans backed by mega-bucks.
Photo Credit: Keren Su/Getty Keren Su/Getty Images/China Span RM
Whirlpool windmill produces power without blades: Cheaper, cleaner, safer, and produces almost as much power with less wind than conventional three blade wind generators; that is the potential of the oscillating wind generator. "Galloping Gertie" is what they called the Tacoma Narrows bridge that collapsed in 1940. The bridge design was a failure as bridges go but apparently not bad for generating oscillating motion from the wind. This principle has now been converted to generating energy that can be used to produce electricity according to David Yanez and his company Vortex Bladeless.
How Canada made the Koch brothers rich: If you control the media you control perceptions. Billionaires Hairy and David Koch don't like it when the media criticizes their John Birch, Tea Party, deregulation policies. When the Edmonton Journal wrote a story about Koch Industries Inc. hiring a lobbyist in Alberta they went after the reporter. They went on the offensive in "vivid red type" on their website, kochfacts.com lashing out at the reporter. At the same time Reuters ran a story was reporting that the Koch brothers would be "big winners" if the Keystone XL Pipeline was approved, detailing their holdings in Canada. The brothers typically distort their own facts but use the tactic of accusing the media of distorting theirs. Editors of both organizations defended their reporters pointing out the errors in Koch distortions.
Among their many other holdings it turns out that the Koch brothers control between 1.1 and two million acres of Alberta's oil sands worth tens of billions of dollars. Business acumen is not one of the Koch failings. Their social morals and environmental ethics certainly raise eyebrows on closer scrutiny.
Climate denial and their political machine are the way the Koch brothers manipulate public opinion. Their father was a founder of the John Birch Society. The politics of fear and conspiracy continues in at least 17 different Koch sponsored organizations, including the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation. Burning fossil fuels causes global warming so the Koch brothers spend many tens of millions denying the connection. They plan to spend a reported $889-million on the 2016 election cycle more than double the Republican National Committee spent in 2012.
Illustration by Victor Johasz
AC or DC — Long-distance Energy Transport in a Superconducting Grid: Research groups found a superconducting material magnesium diboride (MgB2) has huge potential for power transmission. DC allows large amounts of power transport without resistive losses. A comprehensive evaluation by European scientific institutions, industries and others are participating in an EU FP7 project on innovative transmission systems. One phase is the construction of a prototype 6.5 mm MgB2 sub-cable to be tested at full operational conditions.
The first successful test of a 20 kA superconducting cable was investigated in collaboration between the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
Big energy-storing batteries make rapid inroads in Europe to support power grid: The big problem with sustainable energy sources has been grid-scale battery storage for when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. Storage solutions have arrived in Europe and are coming on line in Germany and Italy. Investments have resulted in rapid technological advances. England is also making rapid progress in energy storage capacity. As the technology improves costs are reduced. In the U.S. Texas, Duke Energy Corp. is leading the pack with installed capacity. The most common new distribution plans appear to favor connected micro-grids instead of the traditional huge central distribution pattern common in the U.S.
Photo credit: Younicos AG
REPORT: Wind and solar energy have tripled since 2008: Looking back over the past few years it becomes obvious that progress has been impressive. A paradigm shift is underway as old technologies are replaced by clean energy and more efficient technologies. Since 2007 U.S. clean energy investment has reached nearly $400 billion. That is a five fold increase over 2004. Perhaps surprisingly this still fell short of China's clean energy investment. Electricity demand has actually been flat in the U.S. since 2007 while carbon emissions from the energy sector have declined nine percent. Renewable energy use has doubled since 2007 to nearly 13 percent. The two most successful sectors have been wind and solar as they have increasingly become cost-competitive with fossil fuels. The trend is real and it's not going away.
Obama's New Budget Puts Billions Toward Fighting Climate Change: Lame Duck? I don't think so. Obama's $4 trillion budget proposal includes more than $4 billion to mitigate and adapt to the effect of global climate change. Funding is spread across several agencies from EPA to the Department of Energy and to reduce emissions from the electricity sector. In the proposal oil and gas companies would be stripped of billions in tax incentives and renewable energy companies would reap the benefits. Obama is also calling for a $4 billion Clean Power State Incentive Fund to go "above and Beyond" state carbon pollution reduction goals set out under the Clean Power Plan. The budget proposal also includes $7.4 billion to fund research and development for clean energy, clean energy science, and technology development. This would include development of clean capture and storage (CCS) technologies for carbon sequestration. Another $1.29 billion for its Global Climate Change Initiative for further funding to provide climate assistance to developing countries. An additional $184 million is proposed to increase FEMA flood preparedness funding. The budget is expected to receive strong opposition by the new right wing Congress as anti coal and a job killer despite $55 million in the proposed budget for job creation efforts for out-of-work coal miners.
Utility to Allow Customers to Receive All Their Electricity From Community Solar: Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) customers will soon have the option of up to 100% of their electricity to come from community solar. It is PG&E's green option. It will carry an extra of about 2 or 3 cents a kilowatt-hour but that is likely to come down as the cost of solar comes down. At present PG&E gets 19% of its energy from renewable sources. They will also be spending $250 million over the next five years to convert their fleet to plug-in. Only one in four homes are suitable for solar so this may offer another option.
Could Global Tide Be Starting To Turn Against Fossil Fuels?: The U.S.- China agreement on climate change and other recent developments raise a question: Could this be the beginning of the decline for oil and coal industries. New limits on carbon emissions, gains in sustainable energy and energy independence growth of many EU countries cast a different light. Investors are now thinking that reserves may not be money in the bank as much as a "stranded asset". The governor of the Bank of England has warned that "stranded assets" are a growing risk for fossil fuel companies. Around the world new coal mines costing billions of dollars are being mothballed. Brazil's Petrobras is the most deeply indebted company in the world because of investments in deep-sea oil in the South Atlantic. Recent reports indicate that Petrobras would need $120 a barrel to break even. At present prices below $50 a barrel Petrobras is in danger of going under. At the present price break Keystone would also be a poor investment.
GO LOW CARBON TO MAKE MONEY, URGE BUSINESS LEADERS: As New York Climate Week gets under way, a group of prominent CEOs insist that low carbon practices boost profits.
TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE WOULD BOOST GLOBAL ECONOMY: Findings from the World Bank appear to put to rest claims that the world could not afford to act on climate change.
THE COST OF DOING NOTHING: (The Economist, June 28th 2014), Climate change and the economy; As temperatures rise around the world, the usual seasonal and climate patterns are disrupted. Increases in the frequency and severity of droughts, floods, cyclonic storms, and heat waves are costing trillions to the global economy. As sea levels rise coastal properties and industry is threatened. Major crops are subject to massive failure when an exploding population demands 50% increase in food production by 2050. Jobs are also impacted as fisheries fail, traditional industries transform, and skill requirements change with a changing world.
THE NATIONAL GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PLAN 2012-2021: A strategic plan for the U.S. Global Change Research Program; The Environment is changing rapidly. Population, industrialization and other human activities are altering the atmosphere and geomorphology of the planet at an unprecedented scale. President Ronald Reagan created, and Congress Codified in 1990, the United States Global Change Research Program (The Global Change Research Act of 1990 - Public Law 101-606) The Plan (pdf).