When is it time to act on Low probability but potentially high impacts: Sounds like the big risks from a hotter planet.

There exists a huge amount of scientific publications and virtually every climate scientists agree that our planet is getting hotter due to manmade GHGs (mostly CO2 from burning fossil fuels). (REF: NAS; NASA, NOAA: WMO: World Bank; Every country’s equivalent to our National Academy, etc).

This extra energy in turn is causing rapid melting of Arctic ice and the Greenland glacier and Net loss of ice from Antarctic ; & more frequent extreme storm events; & more prolonged droughts and massive forest fires and oceans changing acidity; etc. This leads to huge risks to humans and wildlife across the planet.

This is a risk greater than from Al-Qaeda and on a par with the destruction from a nuclear war.If we look at the doctrine espoused by former Vice President Dick Cheney, on dealing with terrorism. This was: “If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.” “It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.”
The climate science and risk assessments are well over 1% chance of catastrophe changes and in fact more like 90% certainty. So what is Congress waiting for?

The longer we wait- the more expensive the solutions become and the hotter the planet and the greater the risks to our economy and our children.

What are the Options fo fossil fuel industry to Drastically Reduce CO2 ?
Can we reduce CO2 without them at the table?

Background: First time is running out. EG:
PricewaterHouse Coopers: “7F is incompatible with organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’; is devastating to the majority of ecosystems and is not stable but lead to higher temperatures. …world needs RADICAL transformation… rapid uptake of renewable energy…sharp falls in fossil fuels or massive deployment of CCS…”

2nd: Where is energy generated in America & for what  http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/


Note  that 93% of oil is for transportation. Note also only 9% (2012) is renewable; mostly old hydro. This is a mountain to climb.

The largest most concentrated energy use is for making Electricity = 40% of Total USA generation (of which 40% is from coal; 27 % Nat gas; 19% nuclear; 8 %Hydro = 94.5% and ONLY 3% wind and 1% each from geothermal & Biomass ; Solar is less than 0.5%
If we do not drastically reduce CO2 from a large % of Utilities & steel and cement plants then the planet will get much too hot. It does not matter how efficient in use we become, nor if we switch all cars to EV –these sites generate too much CO2. It is generation that must be controlled.

Ideally this would all be renewable energy; BUT with Trillions of $ at stake and many good paying jobs & cheap Nat gas and 94% of the current energy generation – the fossil fuel industry will NOT just roll over and play dead.
Nor will the public support more expensive energy; until huge catastrophes with direct links to climate change are seen.

Thus , It is doubtful that we can switch to over 50% renewables or nuclear in the next 30yrs fast enough to reduce CO2 without the option of CCS.
Currently the fossil fuel industry refuses to discuss the science or the risks. But they must be at the solutions table with CCS –if we have any chance in hell of dramatically reduce their Greenhouse emissions.

So what is the global status of CCS? A informative report is: The Global Status of CCS: 2012. http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/publications/global-status-ccs-2012

Key points: “CCS is the only technology available for decarbonisation in the iron, steel & cement industries “ – I would argue the Electricity sector also, unless you move to Renenergy or nuclear..
* This technology is being tested globally but most of the units are capturing CO2 for EOR (enhanced oil recovery) and not put into deep aquifers.
* The US emits approx 5.4 billion tons of CO2 every yr.
* There are only 8 large scale projects underway with 8 more in construction. Just 2 in the electricity sector.
* 130 must be in operation by 2020 to avoid 2 C temp rise
* Governments must provide regulations and money to make this happen

* While deep well storage is a well used and understood technique. Each formation is unique and requires millions of dollars just to assess each formation. And these should be within 100 mile of the capture point (eg: utility) for cost containment. These can be under the ocean.
Geological storage is the most important public perception challenge and greatest long term financial liability associated with CCS projects.
* Cost estimates should include both the capture & condensing of the CO2 and then transport in pipelines to deep formations . Thus costs range from 40 % to 100% increase in electricity . So early units will be pricey. But off shore wind and nuclear are also expensive. And they are probably more complex.

* Norway has opened a billion $ industrial scale test center for carbon capture (not deep storage). China has 5 locations working on scale up and burial; The USA should begin operation in 2014 at the Kemper county power utility and Canada at the Boundary Dam. These operations will “learn by doing”.

South Africa and Australia have large scale units under construction.

So my assessment is that we can fight until the temperature gets so hot billions of people die (and sea level washes away cities or famines set in) or we can work with them to encourage CCS as one of the key important solutions.

Yet, I never hear CCS mentioned by any advocacy groups. I suggest they are not being realistic. Perhaps I have missed something ?

What is CCS?

Carbon capture and sequestration, is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) (various technologies ) from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants, transporting it via pipelines to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally an underground geological formation (with centuries of monitoring,tho the CO2 should react with the minerals and stay in place). Although CO2 has been injected into geological formations for several decades for various purposes, including enhanced oil recovery, the long term storage of CO2 is a relatively new concept.


Did Climate Change Cause Hurricane Sandy?

This is a short version of a article in Sci American- By Mark Fischetti | Oct, 2012 | Sci. American. Good insight into how a warmer planet does not act alone but has Huge contribution.  
If you’ve followed the U.S. news and weather, you have no doubt run across a journalist or blogger explaining why it’s difficult to say that climate change could be causing big storms like Sandy. Well, no doubt here: it is. Image

Scientists have long taken a similarly cautious stance, but more are starting to drop the caveat and link climate change directly to intense storms and other extreme weather events, such as the warm 2012 winter in the eastern U.S. and the frigid one in Europe at the same time. They are emboldened because researchers have gotten very good in the past decade at determining what affects the variables that create big storms.

Here’s where climate change comes in. The atmospheric pattern that sent the Jet Stream south is colloquially known as a “blocking high”—a big pressure center stuck over the very northern Atlantic Ocean and southern Arctic Ocean. And what led to that? A climate phenomenon called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)—essentially, the state of atmospheric pressure in that region. This state can be positive or negative, and it had changed from positive to negative two weeks before Sandy arrived.
Recent research by Charles Greene at Cornell University and other climate scientists has shown that as more Arctic sea ice melts in the summer—because of global warming—the NAO is more likely to be negative during the autumn and winter. A negative NAO makes the Jet Stream more likely to move in a big, wavy pattern across the U.S., Canada and the Atlantic, causing the kind of big southward dip that occurred during Sandy.

Climate change amps up other basic factors that contribute to big storms. For example, the oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. And the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us.
These changes contribute to all sorts of extreme weather.

In a recent op-ed in Washington Post, James Hansen at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York blamed climate change for excessive drought, based on six decades of measurements, not computer models: “Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.”

Hurricane Sandy has emboldened more scientists to directly link climate change and storms, without the hedge. On Monday, as Sandy came ashore in New Jersey, Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, tweeted: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? ‘Yes, Fueled by many factors’. Is the storm stronger because of climate change? ‘Yes.”

Now, as promised: If you still don’t believe scientists, then believe insurance giant Munich Re. Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, issued a study titled “Severe Weather in North America.” “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” … While many factors have contributed to this trend, including an increase in the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the report identified global warming as one of the major culprits: “Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.”

Let’s remember that the Earth will not cool back for many thousands of years. And it continues to get hotter.  So storms will get stronger.

Someone asked me if they should sell their shore home. Of course there are lots of variables including how close you are to the water & elevation, resiliency of your house.  But i suggest the biggest issue is:  when will the general public make a shift in belief that shore homes are at risk?   and stop buying.. 

Reply by 4CP: Chester County Citizens 4 Climate Protection
To: The 6 Think tanks & 8 Tea Party Groups letter: “Reasons they Oppose Carbon Taxes” 12/26/12
Dear Pennsylvania Elected Officials:

We read with interest the recent letter sent to all US members of the House and Senate by 6 Conservative Groups & 8 Tea party groups (14CG- see below for names)-  Urging Congress to Oppose Carbon Taxes.

As constituents in your Districts representing grassroots organizations focused on Greenhouse gas emissions; We feel compelled to present a response to the speculative, misleading, and in some cases, false claims made.

We welcome a dialogue on these issues and would be happy to meet with any of their representatives. We believe that we share similar concerns for America’s future.

Rather than follow the order in the 14CG letter; let’s start with the most important issue: The science and risk assessments. Everything else flows from this. And let us remember that science and technology have been the major drivers behind America’s economic engine for 100 yrs.

First the Consensus on Science: Is the “fear from global warming overstated”? The 14CG provide neither references nor links to peer reviewed articles to support their misleading statements.
If you’re going to make risk statements that have huge consequences then you need to back them up. We have listed on the last page the credible Scientific sources we believe: (See the links at the end of this paper).
We also note there have been 13,925 peer reviewed articles on climate change in the last 25 yrs vs. 24 articles that made mention of other causes of climate change. The scientific consensus is Real.
Here are a few of the science statements, we urge you to go to their links below for better understanding.
National Academies of Sciences: “Man Made” & “Serious” & “Risk of crossing Thresholds that Result in Abrupt Changes”
The National Academy of (UK Royal Society & China & Germany, France; Korea; Japan; Sweden, etc) : “Seize all opportunities” to address global climate change that “is happening even faster than previously estimated.”
World Meterological Organization: “Our science is solid and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities”
Ducks Unlimited:  “After examining the best available science on the issue, DU’s conservation staff has determined that climate change poses a significant threat to North America’s waterfowl that could undermine achievements gained through more than 70 years of conservation work.”

World Bank: “We are on track for a 7 F hotter world marked by Extreme Heat waves, declining global Food stocks; loss of Ecosystems & biodiversity; & life threatening sea level Rise & Risk of triggering Non linear tipping points”

• Pricewaterhouse Coopers: “7 F is “incompatible with organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’; is devastating to the majority of Ecosystems & is not stable but lead to higher Temps.” & “ World Needs RADICAL transformation… Rapid uptake of Renewable Energy, Sharp falls in fossil fuels or Massive deployment of CCS……….” Etc.

Second: Risk Assessments: The risk from global warming is greater than that posed by Al-Qaeda. The free market – which we support, is not capable of reacting to those forces that would destroy our way of life and threaten our children. A hot planet presents a huge threat to America and our way of life.
A hotter planet is very likely to cause lot of bad things: (prolonged droughts and massive crop failures; more extreme storm events; an acidic ocean in which fish and shell fish populations will decline dramatically; storm surges and a rising sea level will force large areas of the coast to be abandoned; and salt water contamination of water intakes for cities will be extremely costly; warmer winters are now allowing beetles to live and reproduce longer thus killing many millions of forests in the west leading to huge forest fires) and few good things. These impacts will be very disruptive and may destabilize our economy.

Water shortages caused by prolonged heat will lead to wars. Let’s remember that global warming is irreversible for many thousand years and we must avoid feedback loops like warming permafrost or huge loss of Greenland ice.

What the “14CG” must provide is an independent risk assessment of the scientific data and the potential for harm. Let the chips fall where they may. Until they support this, then their comments are merely speculative adding confusion to a serious issue.

Third: “Reducing US emissions vs. China and India will not stop climate change” We agree, a global effort is needed. First some perspective: America has 5% of the population but emits 25% of the greenhouse gases. And has been doing so for 100 yrs. Thus most of the C02 “out there” is from us. We now have outsourced a lot of manufacturing and now buy back many products from developing nations including China. Thus those CO2 emissions are being generated due to our demand.
In fact China is spending large amounts of money on lower carbon energy generation and now dominates the world in sales of solar PV & wind turbines and carbon capture & sequestration technologies and investment in new battery storage technologies. These are technologies and jobs that should be in America.

Fourth: Their comment that reducing carbon dioxide concentrations in the air will lead to lower crop yields is not valid. Please name one respected agricultural scientist who would sign their name to that statement.

Fifth: Their comment that carbon taxes will force substitution of wind and solar for fossil fuels- thus killing birds and bats is extremely misleading. The reality is that high rise buildings are responsible for many more bird deaths than wind turbines. Current site selection procedures avoid bird & bat migration pathways. The impact of white nose fungus on bats is million time more deadly than wind turbines. Please use real data.

Sixth: A statement that we agree in principle with – is that “promises of revenue neutrality will be broken”. This is a concern. We must insist that all politicians focus the revenues on reducing greenhouse gases and not for pet projects.

Seventh: Now for the final comment from the “14 CG” regarding “carbon tax killing jobs”.

Actually, the opposite is true. Economic assessments of proposed policy to put a price on carbon are in widespread agreement that the net economic impact will be small. Moreover the benefits outweigh the costs several times over.

Moreover, if we examine this from the perspective of leadership in innovation: once there is a significant cost on energy generation then virtually every corporation in America will work on techniques and products to reduce energy and move to lower carbon footprint generation sources. Every home and building owner will take steps to become more energy efficient. Every vehicle owner will assess their energy costs in purchasing decisions.

The defense of “Free Markets” should encourage innovators, not suppress them. America has lead the way in innovative uses of fossil fuel, however continued CO2 emissions pose a high risk to our economy and way of life. We agree that fossil fuels will remain the backbone of our economy for many decades, but the time has come to put in systems managing the huge risks while still generating and deploying clean power, energy and resource productivity and conservation.

There are millions of jobs in America waiting for money to be unleashed to develop extremely high efficiency appliances; vehicles; air planes; military weapons; heating and cooling equipment; advances in solar and wind and offshore installations and revival of nuclear.

Every product & service in every company will be closely examined with a new metric – the cost of energy and carbon footprint. We note that already wind power has more people involved than all of coal mining.

Finally, America is lucky to have abundant resources of gas natural gas. This will fuel a boom in very competitive chemicals and plastic production in the USA and low cost energy. However, in order to not heat the planet to death – the CO2 from its combustion must be captured and sequestered safely long term underground (or ocean). This technology will create many jobs and can be sold across the globe.

Thus Carbon tax – far from “killing jobs”- will position America for the next hundred years as the job creator king. And America won’t get so hot that our very civilization would be threatened.

However – a word of caution. The cost of energy will rise during the transition from burning fossil fuels to low carbon footprint energy generation. Off shore wind and utility scale solar are significantly more expensive than natural gas or coal (lots of reason and externalities not charged- but let’s ignore them for now). And CCS will be very expensive.

Thus there needs to be a energy strategy of phasing in low carbon sources and using cheap nat gas as the cost buffer. Utilities should be required to reduce their emissions of CO2 annually and the oil & gas industry should either pay for CCS or move to low carbon generation. Our children’s lives are at stake.   Thank You.

Bryan Hutchinson, President: 4CP http://www.chescocooler.org; Chester County Citizens 4 Climate Protection
David Mazzocco, LEED AP for West Chester BLUER (www.wcbluer.org)
Contact: Billhaaf@verizon.net

Who do we believe? – US National Academies of Science, NOAA, NASA, World Meteorological Organization, World Resource Council, World Bank; Price Waterhouse Coopers; Re Munich; & the equivalent of our National Academy of Science in Every developed country including UK, Germany, China Japan, France and the Vatican, & 98 % of climate scientists working in the field
Links and References:
NCAR: Weather and climate basics
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: Global Warming basics
NASA: Global Warming update
National Academy of Science: America’s Climate Choices (2011)
Encyclopedia of Earth: Climate Change Collection
Global Warming FAQ (Tom Rees)
The UK Govt. has a good site on The Science of Climate Change (added Sep 2010).
The portal for climate and climate change of the ZAMG (Zentralaanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Vienna, Austria). (In German) (Jan 2011)
Those with some knowledge: The IPCC AR4 Frequently Asked Questions (here (pdf)) are an excellent start. These cover:
• What Factors Determine Earth’s Climate?
• What is the Relationship between Climate Change and Weather?
• What is the Greenhouse Effect?
• How do Human Activities Contribute to Climate Change and How do They Compare with Natural Influences?
• How are Temperatures on Earth Changing?
• And many others
Informed, but seeking serious discussions:
• New Scientist: Climate Change: A guide for the perplexed
• RealClimate: Response to common contrarian arguments
• NERC (UK): Climate change debate summary
• UK Met Office: Climate Change FAQ

Names of the 14 Conservative Groups: The Heartland Institute; The American Conservative Union; Americans for Limited Government; Cascade Policy Institute; Barrett Kidner; Nashville Tea Party; Maryland Taxpayers Association; Freedom Action- Competitive Enterprise institute; the John Laska Foundation; The Tea party patriots; The Cherokee tea party patriots; the Tennessee Tax Revolt; American Tradition Partnership; The Liberty 21 institute.

JULY 2011 NEWSLETTER: Chester County Citizens 4 Climate Protection

Good News vs. Bad News: First the Bad-(just to get it out of the way)    

Energy generated from new coal-power stations in this single state (India) could eclipse emissions from entire countries: John Vidal;guardian.co.uk, July 2011   

So; if not coal; what should India use for power?  Should the USA help with money for another power source?  Should our military use force block these sites? Is this not a huge risk to our security & Children?   

A single Indian state is to build a new fleet of coal-power stations that would make it one of the world’s top 20 emitters of carbon emissions – on a par with Spain or Poland. The proposed coal plants in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh are part of a wider Indian “coal rush” to bring power to the country’s hundreds of millions living without electricity.

India last year approved plans for 173 coal-fired power stations expected to provide an extra 80-100 gigawatts (GW) of electricity capacity within a few years.   Many are expected to be fuelled by cheap coal imported from Australia, Indonesia and southern Africa.

The epicentre is Andhra Pradesh which, with a population is 84.7 million people, is now expanding its power production by 800%. Seven major and more than 30 smaller coal-powered power stations are planned, together intended to have a capacity of 56GW. In comparison, the UK’s installed electricity capacity is 75GWThe largest plant, expected to be opened in two years, will be the $4bn Krishnapatnam power station, India’s first “ultra-mega” class of coal-fired power station. With 4GW, capacity it will be one of the world’s 25 biggest electricity sources (and will emit huge amounts of Mercury & Acid Rain and prolonged droughts).

More Coal:  Utility Shelves Ambitious Plan to Limit Carbon 

Is this Bad or Good News? – See above story – India & China will burn cheap coal thus pushing the world hotter; so we need CCS. Tho it would be more cost effective and easier  to burn natural gas and then capture that CO2.  This would provide time to build off shore wind and  huge solar arrays.

American Electric Power has decided to table plans to build a full-scale carbon-capture plant at Mountaineer, a 31-year-old coal-fired plant in West Virginia, where the company has successfully captured and buried carbon dioxide in a small pilot program for two years.    The technology had been heralded as the quickest solution to help the coal industry weather tougher federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. But Congressional inaction on climate change diminished the incentives that had spurred A.E.P. to take the leap.

Whitebark pine tree faces extinction (Deniers say build more fireplaces)

The Fish and Wildlife Service determined Monday that whitebark pine, a tree found atop mountains across the American West, faces an “imminent” risk of extinction because of factors including climate change.

The decision is significant because it marks the first time the federal government has identified climate change as one of the driving factors for why a broad-ranging tree species could disappear. The Canadian government has already declared whitebark pine to be endangered throughout its entire range; a recent study found that 80 percent of whitebark pine forests in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem are dead or dying.

Finally, Good News:

Australia leads World in Debate on Carbon Tax & Climate Change: The prime minister stakes her future on Reducing CO2. (Would our leaders do this?)

A RARE moment of triumph settled on Julia Gillard, Australia’s prime minister, on July 10th when she unveiled a plan for a carbon tax to fight climate change. Few issues have divided Australians more bitterly. Earlier plans to curb carbon emissions had toppled at least two political leaders, including Kevin Rudd, Ms Gillard’s Labor predecessor. She justly boasted that she had knocked down the brick walls others had hit. But then political reality kicked in. An opinion poll two days later (conducted before the carbon plan’s details were disclosed) gave the Labor government record low support of 27%. With the next election due in two years, Ms Gillard faces the task of rescuing her government by selling her bold carbon plan to a skeptical public.

Australia emits 1.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases primarily because it generates about 80% of its electricity from coal, one of the dirtiest sources of power. It is roughly as polluting as South Korea, Britain and France, which have populations two to three times Australia’s 22m people—making Australia the biggest carbon emitter per person of any rich country.   And climate change has not been ruled out as a cause of its recent bouts of extreme weather: a ten-year drought, and floods and cyclones early this year.

Next July; 500 of Australia’s biggest polluters will have to pay a tax of A $23 (US $25) a tonne on their own carbon emissions. Three years later, a market-based emissions-trading scheme will replace a fixed tax.      The government will spend half the tax’s revenue compensating households for higher electricity and other living costs that polluters pass on. Another 40% of revenue will help industries to lower their costs by switching to cleaner forms of energy, if they face competition from untaxed foreign competitors.

About A$10 billion will be invested over five years in wind, solar and other renewable sources. A raucous chorus of radio “shock jocks” and tabloid journalists has accused Ms Gillard over her broken promise and echoed a campaign by Tony Abbott, the opposition leader, who is warning about the tax’s possible impact on jobs and the cost of living. (Sound familiar? This is a critical debate we should be having). 

Concentrating Solar Power feeds 24 hr electricity

Gemasolar power-tower installation has become the world’s first concentrating solar power (CSP) plant to feed an uninterrupted supply of electricity into the grid over 24 hours.   Gemasolar, which uses a 19.9MW steam turbine, is the world’s first CSP plant based on power-tower technology to incorporate molten-salt  storage.    Though power-tower technology is still in its infancy compared to the dominant parabolic-trough design, it is seen by many analysts as the future of CSP as it supports hotter temperatures, and therefore higher efficiencies.      In future, Gemasolar will feed electricity into the grid an average of 20 hours per day – reaching 24 hour operation during the summer.

Wal-Mart’s Supplier Sustainability Assessment

Wal-Mart is leading the way on environmental issues and it is asking its global supply chain to improve.

ALL corporations should do this15 Questions for Suppliers: http://walmartstores.com/Sustainability/9292.aspx

Energy and Climate: Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
1. Have you measured your corporate greenhouse gas emissions?
2. Have you opted to report your greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)?
3. What is your total annual greenhouse gas emissions reported in the most recent year measured?
4. Have you set publicly available greenhouse gas reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets?

The rest of the Qs address:  Material Efficiency: Reducing Waste and Enhancing Quality; & Natural Resources: Producing High Quality, Responsibly Sourced Raw Materials; & People and Community: Ensuring Responsible and Ethical Production.

Finally:  We did Not make these Up!

 Mayor Bloomberg:  The time has come for our nation to begin transitioning away from coal-fired power plants towards cleaner, more efficient and more cost effective energy sources. If we succeed, and I fully believe that we will, we will save millions of lives and we will help millions of children avoid asthma and its debilitating effects.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today that he is giving $50 million to the Sierra Club campaign to shut down dirty coal plants around the nation.

Peter H. Gleick;  CEO,  Pacific Institute: “ It’s Hotter Than It Used to Be; It’s Not as Hot as It’s Going to Be”

But not only is it hot, it’s hotter than it used to be. And it’s our fault. Welcome to the future of climate change.

Let’s keep this simple: We know the Earth is warming up — the data are unambiguous. We know that humans are largely responsible — the scientific community has been clear. And we know that the massive efforts to deny these two facts have confused policy makers, the public, and the media, and have seriously delayed taking any sort of effective policy action to slow climate changes.

What this delay means, however, is rarely discussed, but in the most straightforward terms:
It’s going to get even hotter. A lot hotter.

Global warming is causing or worsening some of the extreme weather we’re seeing. This influence of climate change on some extremes, including especially heat waves and heavy precipitation and some kinds of storm and flood events must no longer be waved away, swept under the rug, or otherwise ignored. It must become part of our daily discussion and debate.

Until then, our politicians, in their air-conditioned chambers, under pressure from lobbyists and others who fear the policies that must inevitably be put in place to reduce our atmospheric pollution, will continue to look the other way. You know the old conversation starter?   “Is it hot enough for you?”  Well, just wait.

* “The indicators show unequivocally that the world continues to warm,” said Dr. Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center.  “There is a clear and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,”  said Dr. Peter Thorne of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina State University.   Also; Stanford climate scientists forecast permanently hotter summers:  “ Large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that by the middle of this century even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years”. Ref:  Aug.  journal Climatic Change Letters.

► THE BBC was criticized by climate change skeptics yesterday after it emerged that their views will get less coverage because they differ from mainline scientific opinion.   In a report by its governing body, the BBC Trust, the corporation was urged to focus less on opponents of the “majority consensus” in its programmes.    It said coverage should not be tailored to represent a “false balance” of opinion if one side came from a minority group.

The report was partly based on an independent review of coverage by Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London.    Although he found no evidence of bias in BBC output, he suggested where there is a “scientific consensus” it should not hunt out opponents purely to balance the story.    He highlighted climate change as an example along with the controversy over the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine potentially leading to autism.

* Texas Republican Joe Barton, sponsored a bill that would strip away any “federal, state or local requirement or standard regarding energy efficient lighting” that uses light bulbs containing mercury. In other words, all compact fluorescent bulbs.

Barton’s bill targets the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which increases the efficiency of incandescent light bulbs by 27% through 2014. It was a completely non-controversial bill that had bi-partisan support, was strongly supported by light bulb manufacturers (and still is) and was signed into law by George W. Bush.

► Mitt Romney says: 

He doesn’t think carbon pollution threatens human health and would not green-light EPA climate regulations if he were in the White House. “I don’t think that was the intent of the original legislation, and I don’t think carbon is a pollutant in the sense of harming our bodies.”   Hmm- very scientific !

See cartoon below—send us your ideas or links.

One of the most effective things we can do is to call our Elected representatives: . You don’t need to know the bill name or be an expert ; – just say  your opinion.   You can be sure the Flat earth people call frequently.     A staff member will answer the phone. It’s their job to take calls from constituents, so don’t be shy. To make the most impact, make it personal. EG:  I am concerned about climate change;    Please follow the Science ;   We need to take action…

Senator Robert Casey: (202) 224-6324

Senator Pat Toomey: (202) 224-4254

These calls really have an impact !

Don’t believe in the science of climate change?   Unless you can point to peer reviewed articles that refute the science;  then the worlds climate scientists and every, yes every Academy of Science in every country will tell you that this is real and man made and very serious.  We risk lots of bad things happening.    The worst in my view is crop failure due to droughts and prolonged heat waves.

Of course there are Bozos in Congress (mostly Republican)  who don’t accept the science; but have no scientific backing. They are leading us to a dangerous future. They are putting my grandchildren at hi risk.

The real problem is burning coal.  Yes – it is cheap now but look down the road.  And I am not talking about the mercury, lead, arsenic, particulate matter, acid gases  coal burning emits every  hour every day.  I am talking famines..

Ok – what are scientist saying:  Lets try some from outside the USA.  WE know what the National Academy of Science has published:  ( “Serious and we risk crossing abrupt thresholds”).

Apocalyptic is the only word for it,  and understanding the implications is equally important for policymakers, business and the  community. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute and climate adviser to the German Chancellor and to the EU, has  said that in a 7 Fdegree warmer world, the population “carrying capacity estimates [are] below 1billion people”.

Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change in Britain, was quoted in The Scotsman  ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen conference saying the consequences were ‘‘terrifying’’.

‘‘For humanity it’s a matter of life or death … we will not make all human beings extinct, as a few people with the right sort of resources may put themselves in the right parts of the world and survive. But I think it’s extremely unlikely that we wouldn’t have mass death .

‘‘If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 7 F degrees;   you might have half a billion people surviving.’’

Do we as Americans think we will some how bypass this event?   It won’t get hot here?   Sure – and you will win the lottery next week.

Why do you think that the scientific community is so concerned about green house gas emissions from burning coal and oil ?

Note:  The coal and oil industry are not publishing any scientific studies that challenge the science – yet they have billions of $$ and good scientists.   Their only argument is this will cost the consume some money.

But later many humans will pay with their lives.  And the ocean ecosytems will collapse  – ok maybe jelly fish will live.

Pay me now or pay be later.  There is no escape from planet earth.

June Newsletter


Good News vs. Bad News:

First the Bad (just to get it out of the way)

Climate change scientists warn of 7°F global temperature rise

A team of experts says such an increase would cause severe droughts and see millions of migrants seeking refuge.  Think Famines!  [From a special January 2011 issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society:  “Four degrees C and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications,” lays out this 4°C (7°F) world.]

Also: Two economists, Wolfram Schlenker of Columbia University and Michael J. Roberts of North CarolinaStateUniversity, have pioneered ways to compare crop yields and natural temperature variability at a fine scale. Their work shows that when crops are subjected to long term average temperatures above a certain threshold — about 84 degrees for corn and 86 degrees for soybeans — yields fall sharply.

This line of research suggests that in the type of climate predicted for the United States by the end of the century, with more scorching days in the growing season, yields of today’s crop varieties could fall by 30 percent or more.

A few weeks ago, David B. Lobell ofStanfordUniversitypublished a paper with Dr. Schlenker suggesting that temperature increases inFrance,Russia,Chinaand other countries are suppressing crop yields, adding to the pressures on the food system.


“I think there’s been under-recognition of just how sensitive crops are to heat, and how fast heat exposure is increasing,” Dr. Lobell said.   

Some Comments:  Many fantasize that all we have to do is move agriculture northward: a ridiculous self delusion.  The soil mantle in northern temperate areas (roughly coinciding with the northern arboreal forestsNorthernMN, UP,Northern MI, toMaine, is about 1/4 inch thick and low in humus and high in acid.  IT won’t save us.   Think Famines = many dead..

Solution:  China & India & Russia & USA must stop burning Coal!

Oh NO!  …..    A $1.9 billion, 600-megawatt plant under construction inArkansaswill burn 2.5 million tons of coal a year; carried by rail car 1,300 miles fromWyomingtoArkansas. Wyomingsupplies more than 40 percent of the coal for theUS.  (This plant should be Required to sequester its CO2 or not be built). 


Weeds From Hell in a Greenhouse World Flora & FaunaStates of ChangeUnited StatesBy Michael D. Lemonick 

Beekeepers love yellow starthistle. “It makes fantastic honey,” says Jeffrey Dukes, an ecologist at PurdueUniversity. “But for ranchers, it’s a real problem.” That’s an understatement.  A 2007 study pegged the plant’s economic damage inIdaho alone at more than $12 million annually.

All of that being the case, a new study published by Dukes and several colleagues in the journal Ecological Applications is not exactly cause for celebration. The short version: if you think it’s bad now, just wait. Increasing greenhouse gases — specifically, carbon dioxide, or CO2 — will aggravate problems related to yellow starthistle.      Carbon dioxide acts as sort of fertilizer, making yellow starthistle grow like… well, it’s already a weed, so perhaps a “super-weed” is the right term.

Dukes and his colleagues found this out on the grounds of StanfordUniversity’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.   Since 1997, the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment has been artificially subjecting small plots of grassland to the climate conditions scientists are projecting for later this century — higher temperatures, changes in precipitation, increased soil deposits of nitrogen compounds from air pollution, and higher concentrations of CO2 due to continued burning of oil and coal for energy.

“The take home message,” he says, “is that there are a bunch of species that are going to benefit in the future, and there’s reason to believe that in many cases they’re the species we don’t like.    PS: Poison ivy benefits immensely from increased CO2; it’s more competitive, and it produces worse toxins.”

Solar energy output is outpacing PA mandate – By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer

While the sun beat down last week on a $187,000 rooftop solar system on hisChesterCountybarn, Edward Frankel watched his electrical output add up.  For every 1,000 kilowatt-hours the system produces, Frankel earns one Solar Renewable Energy Credit – an SREC, the coin of the realm in green energy.

Last year, Frankel was more enthusiastic about SRECs, when utilities paid him more than $300 for each credit. Now a cloud is gathering over his cash flow. The SREC price has crashed to under $100.

“I think you’d be nuts to build a system inPennsylvaniatoday,” said Frankel, 73. He canceled plans to install a second solar system on his veterinary practice, theHoneyBrookAnimalHospital.

But about 71 megawatts of solar capacity is now in place inPennsylvania, while a 2004 law requiring utilities to buy a steadily increasing portion of renewable power envisions a demand of only 42 megawatts. The result: SREC prices are falling faster than anticipated.

The solar industry says the market may remain oversupplied for several years unless the legislature steps in. It is lobbyingHarrisburgto accelerate the annual increases for solar-power mandates for the next three years.      But conventional power producers and big industrial electrical customers, who have defeated efforts the last two years to increase renewable mandates, are likely to resist the latest effort to boost solar markets.

Now Good News:    

 Fuel-cell maker Bloom Energy to hire 900 in DE 

California-based Bloom Energy says it plans to hire 350 construction workers this

year and 900 permanent workers by 2012, for a new factory at the former Chrysler auto factory inNewark,Delaware, which will produce Bloom Box-brand “fuel cells” to make electricity from natural gas.

Bloom has already built 150 of the 100-kilowatt units at its plants near Sunnyvale, Calif., and installed them at locations operated by Wal-Mart, Federal Express, Safeway, and other big companies in California, and plans to deliver 300 more this year.  It takes two to three units to power a Wal-Mart.

First Fuel Cell to Power Residential Building in NY

The Octagon, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) Silver 500-unit apartment community on Roosevelt Island, made green history by becoming the first residential building in the State of New York to be powered and heated by a 400 kilowatt (kW) fuel cell from UTC Power.


Fly Wheel Spins:      Beacon Power has installed a 20-megawatt energy fly wheel storage system in Stephentown, N.Y on the grid, which the company says is the largest in the world.   The storage system takes the place of natural gas plants, which grid operators ramp up and down to create an even match between electricity supply and demand.

Gemasolar solar plant in Seville, Spain, 2,650 large mirrors concentrate sunlight to generate 19.9 megawatts                                                            

Saudi Arabia to Become the Saudi Arabia of Solar Electricity:(why not the USA?)

“Saudi Arabia  plans to generate solar electricity equaling the amount of its energy from crude exports, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said.” Wait, what?

That sounds like a ridiculous quantity of solar electricity.  Saudi Arabia exports about 2.7 billion barrels of oil per year, each containing the equivalent of 1,700 Kilowatt hours of electricity for a total of 4.59 × 1012 kWh per year, or the equal of about one quarter or the world’s annual electricity demand.

Okay, so obviously solar electricity equal to the energy in all ofSaudi Arabia’s crude exports is far more than the Saudis could ever use.

Why would the world’s largest oil producer wish to so quickly become the world’s largest solar electricity exporter?  I’m sure the Saudi leaders, looking around their country, had a conversation that started with, “so, apart from our rapidly depleting oil reserves, what natural resource do we have that could be exploited on an equally massive scale?” The Saudis realize the only answer is sunlight.


Closer to Home:    Solar Trust of America breaks ground on the Blythe Solar Power Project, expected to be the largest solar thermal power facility in the world.    The Blythe, Calif.-based project will have 1,000 MW of generating capacity, or enough to power more than 300,000 homes a year, making it the first solar facility to compare in scale to the largest coal and nuclear power plants.

Small Nuclear Reactors Get a Customer:    

One of the biggest obstacles to constructing nuclear power plants is that they tend to be extremely large and expensive. Now one utility is taking steps toward constructing a plant that uses small modular reactors that can be built faster and more cheaply than conventional ones.

This week the Tennessee Valley Authority signed a letter of intent with nuclear-reactor maker Babcock & Wilcox to work together to build up to six small reactors near Clinch River, Tennessee. If the plan goes ahead, these could be the first small modular commercial nuclear power plants.


NetZeroCommercialBuilding:   South Korea is showing off what it says is the world’s first totally eco-friendly business building; a structure that emits zero carbon and uses only renewable energy, Reuters reports.    See 2 min Video: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/06/13/zero-carbon-office-building-unveiled

A link between climate change and Joplintornadoes? Never.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhCY-3XnqS0&feature=player_embedded

Finally:  We did Not make these Up !  

Australia’s chief scientist Ian Chubb says the ”science is in on climate change” and that too much public air time has been given to unproven and untested climate change skepticism.          ”Unfortunately we seem to be living in a world where sport, celebrity and the 24-hour news cycle, or more accurately, a 24-hour commentary cycle sprinkled with news, seem to dominate relentlessly.

”Does it really matter who wins Master Chef?

See cartoon below—send us your ideas or links.

One of the most effective things we can do is to call our Elected representatives: . You don’t need to know the bill name or be an expert ; – just say  your opinion.   You can be sure the Flat earth people call frequently.     A staff member will answer the phone. It’s their job to take calls from constituents, so don’t be shy.  To make the most impact, make it personal. EG:  “I am concerned about climate change;    Please follow the Science.  We need to take action!”

 Senator Robert Casey: (202) 224-6324

 Senator Pat Toomey: (202) 224-4254

These calls really have an impact !