Energy and Global Warming News for August 12th: Lobby groups fund angry protests to oppose climate bill; Coal use to drop 7.9% in 2009 — EIA

Here’s a followup to “Coal lobby hires top GOP voter-fraud company to run massive ‘grassroots’ efforts to undermine climate and clean energy action“:

Lobby Groups to Use Town Hall Tactics to Oppose Climate Bill

Taking a cue from angry protests against the Obama Administration’s health care restructuring, the oil industry is helping organize anti-climate bill rallies around the nation.

The American Petroleum Institute, along with other organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers opposed to the climate legislation Congress will consider again in the fall, is funding rallies across 20 states over the August recess.

In template fliers for rallies produced by the API-founded alliance, EnergyCitizens, the public is warned that “Climate change legislation being considered in Washington will cause huge economic pain and produce little environmental gain.”

U.S. CO2 emissions from fuels seen falling 5 percent in 2009

Annual U.S. emissions of the main greenhouse gas from the burning of coal, natural gas and petroleum should fall 5 percent in 2009 as the recession crimps demand, the government’s top energy forecaster said on Tuesday.

“The economic downturn, combined with natural gas displacing some coal as a source of electricity generation, is projected to lead to a 5 percent decline in fossil-fuel based (carbon dioxide) emissions in 2009,” the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly forecast….

Fuel switching by electricity generators and declines in industrial use were projected to lead to a 7.9 percent decline in carbon emissions from coal in 2009, EIA said. Emissions from coal were expected to rise 1.1. percent next year….

Petroleum emissions were expected to fall 4 percent in 2009, mostly due to declines in transportation.

July sees big jump in fuel efficiency of new cars

Cars and light trucks sold in July got more miles per gallon than those sold in previous months, say researchers, who credit the Cash for Clunkers program.

The average mileage for new vehicles rose from 21.4 miles per gallon in June to 22.1 mpg in July. That may not sound like much, but it’s the highest mileage researchers at the University of Michigan have seen since the Environmental Protection Agency reconfigured mileage estimates in October 2007. It’s also the biggest one-month jump.

Study co-author Michael Sivak noted the improvement came even as gas prices fell and unemployment levels shrank somewhat. Normally, those factors lead to the purchase of more gas guzzlers. The higher mileage shows the effect of Cash for Clunkers, Sivak said, and he expects the jump to be even bigger when August figures come out. That’s because the trade-in rebate program only got going late in July.

A Record for Wind in Ireland

Wind industry proponents have been celebrating a record set in Ireland on Friday, July 31, when output from the country’s turbines peaked at 999 megawatts, which is enough to supply over 650,000 homes.

“Much attention has focused on high wind penetrations in Denmark and Spain, but Ireland is emerging as another real world example showing that very high wind penetrations are achievable,” wrote Christine Real de Azua, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association, in an e-mail message to Green Inc.

The record-breaking power reached customers across Ireland, ranging from large industries to households, according to Michael Kelly, a spokesman for Eirgrid, the Irish grid operator. “No wind farm which was able to generate had its output reduced,” he said in an e-mail message. (Some places with a lot of wind power, like Texas, must shut down some turbines at times of strong winds due to a lack of transmission capacity, among other problems.)

Environmental demands grow for peacekeeping troops

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s visit today to Goma, a city in the heart of the war ravaging the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is meant to draw attention to renewed U.S. support for U.N. peacekeeping and to press thinly stretched troops deployed there to do more to protect innocent civilians.

But how much more can overburdened peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere be expected to do? Increasingly — and controversially — they find themselves busy doing environmental cleanups, climate change mitigation projects and providing relief from natural disasters on top of their security duties.

For example, troops with MONUC — the French acronym assigned to the U.N. Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — have spent time planting trees in their area of operation, a scene repeated at other peacekeeping operations in Africa, East Timor, Lebanon and elsewhere.

Global 2008 CO2 emissions rose 2 percent: German institute

Global carbon dioxide emissions in 2008 rose 1.94 percent year-on-year to 31.5 billion metric tons, German renewable energy industry institute IWR said on Monday, based on official information and its own research.

The private institute, which is based in Muenster and advises German ministries, said climate-harming carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose for the tenth year in succession, running counter to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol aimed at trying to cut CO2 emissions by 5.2 percent by 2012.

DOE chief, ethanol advocate spar at Las Vegas summit

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the co-chairman of an ethanol advocacy group sparred at an energy conference here yesterday over the roles of second- and third-generation biofuels.

Chu told the National Clean Energy Summit that such fuels should take precedence over corn ethanol. “I think that by using agricultural waste and crops grown specifically for energy, there will be no competition between food and fuel,” he said.

But retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Midwestern ethanol group Growth Energy, said the need to promote U.S. energy independence calls for a leading role for ethanol.

Iraqis Learn Green Techniques in Oregon

Iraq may have obligations that are more pressing than green building “” but that has not stopped 19 of the country’s academics from touring Oregon for two weeks of seminars on the subject.

“There is a great interest in bringing sustainable concepts into our daily lives,” said Dalshad Ismael, director of engineering projects at the Kurdish Ministry of Higher Education, during a session on buildings of the future at a Portland community center this week.

“People may not understand it as such,” he added, “but they know we must protect what resources we have.”

China’s Incinerators Loom as a Global Hazard

“¦After surpassing the United States as the world’s largest producer of household garbage, China has embarked on a vast program to build incinerators as landfills run out of space. But these incinerators have become a growing source of toxic emissions, from dioxin to mercury, that can damage the body’s nervous system.

And these pollutants, particularly long-lasting substances like dioxin and mercury, are dangerous not only in China, a growing body of atmospheric research based on satellite observations suggests. They float on air currents across the Pacific to American shores.

Rich nations offer 15-21 percent CO2 cuts by 2020: U.N.

Industrialized nations excluding the United States are planning cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of between 15 and 21 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 under a new U.N. climate pact, official data showed on Tuesday.

The numbers, issued to delegates at August 10-14 U.N. climate talks in Bonn, fall short of cuts of between 25 and 40 percent outlined by a U.N. panel of scientists to avert the worst of global warming such as heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.

New Zealand defends climate change targets

The New Zealand government Tuesday denied it had failed to accept its country’s share of the burden for tackling climate change after announcing greenhouse gas emission targets.

The government said Monday it would target greenhouse gas emission reductions from 1990 levels of between 10 and 20 percent by 2020.

New Zealand will cut its emissions by 10 percent if other developed nations sign a comprehensive treaty and by 20 percent depending on the form of the final treaty.

Climate change fight seen costing $300 billion a year

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming and adapting to impacts such as droughts and rising sea levels are likely to cost about $300 billion a year, the top U.N. climate change official said.

Yvo de Boer also told Reuters on Tuesday, on the sidelines of August 10-14 U.N. climate talks in Bonn, that cuts in emissions by 2020 so far promised by rich nations were “miles away” from long-term goals set by a Group of Eight summit last month.

“Over time, according to my own analysis, we are going to need $200 billion a year for mitigation and probably in the order of $100 billion a year for adaptation … from 2020 onwards,” he said.

India’s Groundwater Disappearing at Alarming Rate

Farming is a thirsty business on the Indian subcontinent. But how thirsty, exactly? For the first time, satellite remote sensing of a 2000-kilometer swath running from eastern Pakistan across northern India and into Bangladesh has put a solid number on how quickly the region is depleting its groundwater. The number “is big,” says hydrologist James Famiglietti of the University of California, Irvine–big as in 54 cubic kilometers of groundwater lost per year from the world’s most intensively irrigated region hosting 600 million people. “I don’t think anybody knew how quickly it was being depleted over that large an area.”

7 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for August 12th: Lobby groups fund angry protests to oppose climate bill; Coal use to drop 7.9% in 2009 — EIA

  1. Rick Covert says:

    Oh boy I can hardly wait to see what tall tails they spin on ACES. I’m sure they’ll regurgitate the $3100.00 cost to each family per year or the rolling blackouts. Now rolling blackouts… where has that occurred before? Oh yeah, that happened during the fleacing of California by Enron and other utility providers under the guise of the deregulated utility market. Wasn’t it the Enron brokers who joked about how they were going to sockit to Granma? So how much of a haul did Enron and the other utility giants walk away again? Oh yeah, it was around 20 million dollars. So who is really costing utility payers the most?

  2. John Redford says:

    Good news about the 5% US decline, although it happened for reasons we didn’t like. A 7.9% drop in CO2 from coal will be especially welcome, and shows how much pressure that industry is under. CO2 output will pick up as the economy revives, but that might be offset by Waxman-Markey and the astounding growth of renewable energy supplies. It could be that 2008 will actually be the peak emissions year for the US.

    But then a later story said that world emissions rose by 2% in 2008 even though the global recession had already kicked in part way through the year, and oil prices had spiked even earlier. Something doesn’t jibe there.

  3. sarah says:

    Other dirty tricks:
    Rep Markey (D-MA, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming) is launching an investigation into falsified letters sent to members of congress and claiming to be from various legitimate organizations, but actually originating from a group, Bonner & Associates, that works for a “clean coal” coalition. Groups such as the NAACP and the American Assoc of University Women had their logos and names used fraudulently and are not happy about being misrepresented.
    news article here:

    Markey news release here:

  4. paulm says:

    Couple of good links….

    New Film on Ocean Acidification Reveals Unseen Face of CO2 Pollution

    Sven Huseby.

    Over the last two and half years he went around the world to investigate the face of climate change as he found it reflected in the oceans, a journey he undertook for the sake of his attentive five-year old grandson, Elias.

    The story of the journey and the poignant dialogue between Sven and Elias were captured on film by award-winning director Barbara Ettinger, who has created a tale of moral justice out of the fabric of undeniable ocean science, a tale which vibrates with the deep question of what we owe to future generations.

    The film is called A Sea Change, and even conservative audiences filled with aggressive global warming naysayers find themselves afterward caught up in humbling discussions, persuaded that “it really is about the CO2, isn’t it?” as many of them end up saying.

    “Are we screwed? Ya, to a considerable extent. A world of 500 parts per million is a world of enormous environmental destruction. We ought to recognize that and say it.”

  5. paulm says:

    The Rising Sea
    Orrin Pilkey, Rob Young

    On Shishmaref Island in Alaska, homes are being washed into the sea. In the South Pacific, small island nations face annihilation by encroaching waters. In coastal Louisiana, an area the size of a football field disappears every day. For these communities, sea level rise isn’t a distant, abstract fear: it’s happening now and it’s threatening their way of life.

    In The Rising Sea, Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young warn that many other coastal areas may be close behind. Prominent scientists predict that the oceans may rise by as much as seven feet in the next hundred years.

  6. paulm says:

    Physical and biogeochemical modulation of ocean acidification in the central North Pacific (GRAPH)