So far, my call is right on track: “I predict U.S. carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 2007!”
In fact, Ken Bossong of the SUN DAY Campaign notes that in April, wind, solar, hydro, biomass and other clean energy sources that never run out hit 13% of total electrical ouput.
The renewable energy revolution under way in the US appears to be gathering pace according to new figures from the Energy Information Administration suggesting that zero carbon energy sources are successfully replacing fossil fuel-based forms of energy production.
According to the Administration’s July Electric Power Monthly report, green energy generation accounted for 11.1 per cent of total electricity production in the country between April 2008 and 2009.
Input from hydroelectric sources rose 18.4 per cent to make up seven per cent of the total, while other renewables such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal sources now account for 4.1 per cent. Wind power was the biggest success story in the renewables sector with net generation increasing by over a third.
And the stimulus boost to renewables has barely begun (see “EIA projects wind at 5% of U.S. electricity in 2012, all renewables at 14%, thanks to Obama stimulus! Now can we get a stronger renewable standard?“ Plus, more states are taking action every day: “Last week, for example, Kansas and West Virginia both adopted legislation for the first time that mandates the use of renewable energy.
FISH have lost half their average body mass and smaller species are making up a larger proportion of European fish stocks as a result of global warming, a study has found.
“It’s huge,” said study author Martin Daufresne of the Cemagref Public Agricultural and Environmental Research Institute in Lyon, France.
“Size is a fundamental characteristic that is linked to a number of biological functions, such as fecundity – the capacity to reproduce.”
Smaller fish tend to produce fewer eggs. They also provide less sustenance for predators – including humans – which could have significant implications for the food chain and ecosystem.
“¦They found the individual species lost an average of 50 per cent of their body mass over the past 20 to 30 years while the average size of the overall fishing stock had shrunk by 60 per cent.
On naked patches of land in western Canada and United States, scientists are planting trees that don’t belong there. It’s a bold experiment to move trees threatened by global warming into places where they may thrive amid a changing climate.
Take the Western larch with its thick grooved bark and green needles. It grows in the valleys and lower mountain slopes in British Columbia’s southern interior. Canadian foresters are testing how its seeds will fare when planted farther north “” just below the Arctic Circle.
Something similar will be tried in the Lower 48. Researchers will uproot moisture-loving Sitka spruce and Western redcedar that grace British Columbia’s coastal rainforests and drop their seedlings in the dry ponderosa pine forests of Idaho.
All of this swapping begs the question: Should humans lend nature a helping hand?
During his trip to China, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told a business leaders [sic] that the United States should pay for the carbon content of goods it imports.
“It’s important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America — and it’s our own consumption activity that’s causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that,” Locke said today in remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.
Locke met this week with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo and other officials to discuss how the countries could jointly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. During those meetings, Locke said officials raised concerns about the “carbon tariff” measures included in the House of Representative’s recent climate bill.
State mandates intended to drive renewable power growth have seen mixed results, according to an analysis by the financial firm SNL Energy.
SNL looked at the 28 states with renewable portfolio standards and found that such mandates, which direct utilities to build renewable energy, have generated 5.3 percent renewable power, on average, in those states. That is 28 percent below the 7.3 percent target in the 2010 to 2012 time frame, the firm said.
Of that power, wind generation makes up 67 percent of the total, with hydroelectric at 17 percent and other types (including biomass and solar) netting 15 percent.
Five states — Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, Texas and Washington — are on track to comply with their targets by 2015. Most other states, the study found, “are well short of targets.”
Trading in global carbon markets rose 61% last year, and European carbon trading during the first half of 2009 exceeded all of the activity during 2008, according to a report published Monday.
International Financial Services, London, or IFSL, said global markets trading in carbon dioxide emissions last year rose 61% from 2007 to 4.81 billion metric tons, as opposed to 71% growth between 2006 and 2007. And trading in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System rose to 3.2 billion tons during the first six months of the year, above the 2.7 billion tons traded during all of 2008, the group said.
The 2008 growth came as the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Japan plan their so-called “cap-and-trade” systems. There already are regional carbon trading systems in the U.S., but whether to adopt cap and trade broadly has touched off much controversy in Washington.
It was supposed to be a showcase for how the United States and India can find common cause in fighting climate change: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton toured an innovative, energy-efficient office building on Sunday in this city on the outskirts of New Delhi.
But simmering grievances about how countries should share the burden of cutting greenhouse gases abruptly changed the mood. No sooner had Mrs. Clinton marveled at the building’s environmentally friendly features “” like windows that flood rooms with light but keep out heat “” than her hosts vented frustration at American pressure on India to cut its emissions.
American retailers looking to save energy are aiming high “” just below the roof rafters. That’s where a small revolution is underway to replace 70-year-old magnetic-ballast lighting technology with efficient electronic circuitry. By using electronic ballasts “” the transformers that regulate the current and voltage needed to operate the lamps “” and a software-based energy management system, Wal-Mart, Publix and other retailers say they can typically cut a store’s lighting costs in half.
The nation’s largest green-power program has seen enrollment fall far short of expectations as its wind power prices have soared.
Austin Energy, which offers homeowners and businesses the chance to power their homes with renewable energy (mainly wind) through its GreenChoice program, has signed up only 1 percent of its hoped-for customers for its latest wind power offering, according to The Austin American Statesman.
Buying wind power now costs substantially more than conventional power (which has recently fallen in price as natural gas prices have plunged), and Austin Energy may be forced to spread the cost among all of its customers, according to the paper.
BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, will exit its jatropha biofuel project with D1 Oils Plc to focus on production of ethanol in Brazil and the U.S. and advance biobutanol development.
“To ensure the success of these investments, BP is concentrating new business development in these areas and will no longer be directly involved in the jatropha as a biofuel feedstock,” Sheila Williams, a London-based company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mail.
“¦The partners had planned to plant 1 million hectares of jatropha over four years, of which 220,000 hectares had been planted by April.
BP Alternative Energy has earmarked $8 billion for project investment in the decade through 2015. BP, which expects biofuels to account for 11 percent to 19 percent of the world’s transport-fuel market by 2030, supplied about 10 percent of global biofuels last year, according to company estimates.
Biofuels derived from renewable sources can be produced in large quantities and address many problems related to fossil fuels, including greenhouse gas emissions, but only if they are made from certain sources, according to a new article by a team of scientists and policy experts that included several Princeton researchers.
“The world needs to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, but recent research findings have thrown the emerging biofuels industry into a quandary,” said David Tilman of the University of Minnesota, a noted ecologist and lead author of the paper. “We met to seek solutions. We found that the next generation of biofuels can be highly beneficial if produced properly.”
A new method for capturing significantly more heat from low-temperature geothermal resources holds promise for generating virtually pollution-free electrical energy. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will determine if their innovative approach can safely and economically extract and convert heat from vast untapped geothermal resources.
The goal is to enable power generation from low-temperature geothermal resources at an economical cost. In addition to being a clean energy source without any greenhouse gas emissions, geothermal is also a steady and dependable source of power.
The Tennessee Valley Authority informed federal officials yesterday that four of its coal ash impoundments could cause fatalities and serious environmental damage if they rupture.
In a letter to U.S. EPA, TVA officials said that an assessment of wet storage coal combustion impoundments at 12 utility plant sites revealed that four present a “high” hazard potential, meaning that a containment failure would likely result in loss of human life and severe damage to the nearby environment.
Anda Ray, senior vice president of TVA’s Office of Environment and Research, wrote that the reclassification is based on recommendations made by Stantec Consulting Services Inc., an independent engineering firm that was contracted to evaluate the integrity of the utility’s facilities after an impoundment at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tenn., ruptured in December 2008, spilling 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash.
“¦When mountains are demolished with explosives to harvest their coal seams, the millions of tons of crushed shale, sandstone, and coal detritus have to go somewhere, and the most convenient spots are nearby valleys. Mining operations clear-cut the hillsides and literally “fill” mountain hollows to the brim “” and sometimes higher “” with rocky debris. At the mouth of the hollow, the outer edge of the fill is typically engineered into a towering wall resembling a dam.
“¦ Of all the environmental problems caused by mountaintop projects “” decapitated peaks, deforestation, the significant carbon footprint “” scientists have found that valley fills do the most damage because they destroy headwater streams and surrounding forests, which are crucial to the workings of mountain ecosystems.