President Carter Adds His No

In an open letter to President Obama, former president Jimmy Carter put it plainly”

“You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced — climate change,” reads the letter from Carter and nine other Nobel Peace Prize recipients. “As you deliberate the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, you are poised to make a decision that will signal either a dangerous commitment to the status quo, or bold leadership that will inspire millions counting on you to do the right thing for our shared climate.”

Talking Points Memo  and Bloomberg can help you out on the celebrity No list, if you like.


CO2 Accumulating Faster than Ever

Front page around the world about the latest IPCC report/warning.  It’s bad and getting badder….

The countries of the world have dragged their feet so long on global warming that the situation is now critical, experts appointed by the United Nations reported Sunday, and only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off potentially disastrous climatic changes later in the century.

NY Times

Global greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade were the “highest in human history”, according to the world’s leading scientific body for the assessment of climate change. Without further action, temperatures will increase by about 4 to 5C, compared with pre-industrial levels, it warns, a level that could reap devastating effects on the planet.

The Independent

Though it’s small solace, innovations keep coming.  Here’s one from Seattle.

At the end of last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the go-ahead for a 10-year project testing our ability to generate electricity from the movement of the ocean.

The license permits Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County to install two underwater turbines in the Admiralty Inlet near Seattle, Washington. The turbines will be provided by OpenHydro, and should produce 300 kilowatts a piece. Each turbine is nearly 20 feet high and will be mounted to the sea floor by triangular bases, about 200 feet underwater. They’re designed to generate power over a range of water flow velocities regardless of which direction the tide is flowing. Two 7,000 foot cables will carry the electricity they generate to shore.

Climate Progress

 

 


Drought and Desalinization

Even as we bask in a Northern California smirr, not quite a rain, the multi-year drought that threatens to turn the Central Valley from a fruit basket to archeological site continues.  Desperate minds turn to the ocean: there’s an awful lot of water there! How to get and use it?  Desalinization has been used on naval ships for decades – potable,barely, but certainly good for showers and washing down decks.  What’s the situation of large-scale terrestrial projects?  Here’s a brief, recent, report from Grist.

Enter the ongoing construction of 17 desalination plants across the state. A $1 billion plant being built in Carlsbad, Calif., expected to be ready by 2016, will pump 50 million gallons of drinkable water out of the ocean daily — making it the largest such facility in the Western Hemisphere. Another project underway near San Francisco (a discount at only $150 million) could supply 20 million of the 750 million gallons of water guzzled daily in the Bay Area by 2020.

Desalination involves sucking up seawater and pushing it at high pressure through a series of very thin membranes, to strip away the salt and ocean gunk. Water purists (ha) know it as reverse osmosis. It’s not an ideal process, since it uses an enormous amount of energy to turn about two gallons of seawater into one gallon of potable water, plus there are the aforementioned ocean gunk leftovers, but it does keep working rain or shine.

I didn’t know so many were in progress, albeit with delays and frustrations.  Given the increase in population, even with lots of water savings, many more plants would be needed if the drought continues.

Weaning So Cal off water imported from other areas would mean building a Carlsbad-scale plant every four miles along the coast, which adds up to 25 plants just between San Diego and L.A.


Two Huge New Solar Projects on Public Land

“The Obama administration on Wednesday announced that it has given final approval to two sizable solar projects on public lands near the Nevada-California border, which when operational are expected to provide a combined 550 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power about 170,000 homes and create 700 jobs.

The announcement represents a milestone for President Obama’s renewable energy efforts. With the approval of both projects, there now are currently 50 utility-scale renewable energy projects either currently generating energy or slated to be generating energy on public lands. This is a huge number compared to the amount of renewable energy projects had been approved on public lands before Obama took office.

There were none.”

Climate Progress

More more more….

As of 2012, public lands and waters housed approximately 43 percent of all the coal and 20 percent of the natural gas produced in the United States, according to a report from the Center for American Progress. Conversely, only 1 percent of the country’s wind and practically none of its solar power were derived from federal lands at the time.


Debating Cause of Climate Change is Moral and Scientific Equivalent of Debating Gravity

A Republican, a meteorologist and a business owner weighs in on Climate Change and the deniers>

To the heart of your question, why don’t more climate scientists enter into the public debate? Because the debate is over. It’s the moral and scientific equivalent of debating gravity. The experts have spoken, and because a very small minority of stakeholders and shareholders don’t care for the implications there is vociferous push-back from certain special interests. I worked in television news for 35 years. Mainstream media likes a good on-air food-fight, a protagonist and antagonist, shouting at each other about their worldviews. It attracts curiosity and eyeballs – it’s ultimately good for ratings. But it’s a false equivalent, and it’s a terrible way to conduct science. We put a handful of (paid) climate skeptics and industry lobbyists on a stage with thousands of the world’s leading climate PhD’s, and think this is somehow serving the public interest? It’s not. It’s creating more confusion, more delay and more denial, as viewers and readers pick and choose their reality as easily as changing channels on their TV or grazing over their morning horoscope. I can absolutely understand why more professionals don’t want to subject themselves to inane banter with science-deniers.

Scott Mandia via Open Mind


California Gets a Tease of Rain; England Under Water

A monster storm named Ruth will bring winds of up to 80mph and as much as 1.6 inches of rain to parts of southern and central England this weekend. Perhaps most dangerous are the huge waves — some may reach 35 feet — expected to crash into the Cornish coast. In response to Ruth, the Environment Agency has issued three severe flood warnings, which indicate risk of loss of life, as well as 187 flood warnings and 280 flood alerts. In the Chertsey area of Surrey, the River Thames has burst its banks and home-owners are bracing for flooding.

Records from the world’s longest-running weather station at Oxford University show that the rainfall measured there in January was the most for any winter month since 1767, and was three times the average precipitation recorded.

flooded-638x377

Some scientists believe that the melting of the Arctic ice cap has caused the jet stream to track further south, leading to more storms channeled across the UK. Over the last two months, more than 5,000 homes in Britain have been flooded and a key stretch of railroad between Devon and Cornwall remains impassable.

Think Progress

And huge storms and waves have already destroyed enormous, millennial old landscapes.

ukrocks2

And California, finally!  Hoping for more, more….


If There’s Global Warming … Why Is It So Cold?


Courtesy Yale video series, Peter Sinclair at Climate Denial Crock of the Week, and Jeff Masters.


Missing Waxman Already

“Following 40 years of sustained fighting on behalf of human health, the environment, and a livable climate, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced on Thursday that he would retire from Congress after this year.

“In 1974, I announced my first campaign for Congress,” he said Thursday in a press release. “Today, I am announcing that I have run my last campaign. I will not seek reelection to the Congress and will leave after 40 years in office at the end of this year.”

Climate change stayed a national legislative priority. “To me, this is an issue more important than all the other things we’re spending time on,” he told the National Journal in 2013. “It’s more important than the budget, sequestration, the debt ceiling — 10 years, maybe five years from now, people aren’t going to say, ‘What did we do on those issues?’ They’re going to say, ‘What did Congress do on climate change?’”

For much else to thank him for see Think Progress

“I still feel youthful and energetic, but I recognize if I want to experience a life outside of Congress, I need to start soon. Public office is not the only way to serve, and I want to explore other avenues while I still can.”

It’s unclear who will step into his shoes to forcefully advocate for climate legislation, but the nearly three dozen other House members in the Safe Climate Caucus (such as Reps. Lois Capps, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison, Tulsi Gabbard, Raul Grijalva, Jared Huffman, Jerry McNerney, Chris Van Hollen, and Peter Welch) could be a place to start.


Divestment from Fossil Fuel Companies Increases

Seventeen foundations controlling nearly $1.8 billion in investments have united to commit to pulling their money out of companies that do business in fossil fuels, the group announced on Thursday.

In addition to the foundations, 22 cities, two counties, 20 religious organizations, nine colleges and universities and six other institutions had signed up to rid themselves of investments in fossil fuel companies, frequently defined as the top 200 coal-, oil- and gas-producing companies identified in a report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative based in London.

NY Times


Alaska Warmer than Alabama

On the graph above, orange and red stuff is warmer than average, “average” being defined as the average on this date between 1979 and 2000. Blue/purple stuff is colder.

On the graph above, orange and red stuff is warmer than average, “average” being defined as the average on this date between 1979 and 2000. Blue/purple stuff is colder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A record warm air mass has resulted in many locations tying or setting record daily temperatures  across northern Alaska the past several days.  Some long term stations have broken all-time January high temperatures…including Denali National Park and Nome…

from Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Meanwhile, in the United States Congress:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday voted down an amendment that would have stated conclusively that climate change is occurring. … Twenty-four E&C members — all Republicans — voted against the amendment. Among them was E&C Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who has said before that he doesn’t think climate change is caused by human activity, and Joe Barton (R-TX), who also questions humans’ role in climate change. In total, the Republicans who voted to deny climate change have accepted about $9.3 million in career contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, according to analysis by the CAP Action War Room.