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Energy and Global Warming News for July 28: Wind drives growing battery use; Chevy Volt vs. Nissan Leaf

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"Energy and Global Warming News for July 28: Wind drives growing battery use; Chevy Volt vs. Nissan Leaf"

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Wind Drives Growing Use of Batteries

The rapid growth of wind farms, whose output is hard to schedule reliably or even predict, has the nation’s electricity providers scrambling to develop energy storage to ensure stability and improve profits.

As the wind installations multiply, companies have found themselves dumping energy late at night, adjusting the blades so they do not catch the wind, because there is no demand for the power. And grid operators, accustomed to meeting demand by adjusting supplies, are now struggling to maintain stability as supplies fluctuate.

On the cutting edge of a potential solution is Hawaii, where state officials want 70 percent of energy needs to be met by renewable sources like the wind, sun or biomass by 2030. A major problem is that it is impossible for generators on the islands to export surpluses to neighboring companies or to import power when the wind towers are becalmed.

X Prize to offer millions for Gulf oil cleanup solution

The X Prize Foundation launches a competition this week promising millions of dollars for winning ways to clean up crude oil from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The nonprofit group will hold a press conference in Washington on Thursday to reveal details of an Oil Cleanup X Challenge inspired by the disaster.

It added that the competition is “designed to inspire entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface.”

X Prize categories include mapping genomes, making an incredibly fuel efficient car, and exploring the moon’s surface with a robotic vehicle.

For three months, a massive slick threatened the shorelines of Louisiana and other southern US Gulf Coast states as BP tried everything from top hats to junk shots and giant domes to stanch the toxic sludge.

A cap stopped the flow on July 15 after between 2.8 and 4.5 million barrels (117.6 million and 189 million gallons) had gushed out. Only one quarter of that was collected by BP’s various collection and containment systems.

Chevy Volt vs. Nissan Leaf: the electric car price war

After more than three years of buzz and critics’ skepticism, General Motors on Tuesday finally put on sale the Chevrolet Volt – the company’s first plug-in hybrid electric car that many say represents GM’s future. The sticker price: $41,000.

That cost is higher than some had expected for a vehicle that can go 40 miles on all-electric battery power before an onboard gasoline engine kicks in as a “range extender” for 300 more miles.

Will consumers bite at a car that costs that much? Some assuredly will – at least initially: GM has legions of wannabe Chevy Volt owners in online and dealer waiting lists at almost any price. But what about a year or two from now, when competitors have electric cars on the road, too?

Ground broken for wind energy project in Mojave

Renewable energy developers broke ground Tuesday for a major expansion of wind-power generation in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles.

The Alta Wind Energy Center is planned as the world’s largest wind project, with nearly 600 turbines capable of producing 1,550 megawatts of electricity when completed, with the potential to be doubled, according to developer Terra-Gen Power LLC of New York City.

The currently funded first five phases will produce 720 megawatts, according to a company statement.

Financing for the initial phases totaled $1.6 billion, the company said.

The project is being developed in a region already studded with turbines that use the energy of winds sweeping across the Tehachapi Mountains to produce electricity.

Michigan: 800,000 Gallons of Oil Spill After Pipe Breaks

Crews were working Tuesday to contain and clean up more than 800,000 gallons of oil that poured into a creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan, coating wildlife. Battle Creek and Emmett Township authorities warned residents about the strong odor from the oil, which leaked Monday from a pipeline that carries about eight million gallons of oil a day from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario. The pipeline company, Enbridge Energy Partners, said the oil spilled into Talmadge Creek. As of Tuesday afternoon, oil was reported in about 16 miles of the Kalamazoo River downstream of the spill. Representative Mark Schauer, Democrat of Michigan, called the spill a “public health crisis,” and said he planned to hold hearings to examine the response. The spill’s cause is under investigation.

Former Green Jobs Czar Identifies With Shirley Sherrod

Van Jones, the former White House adviser for green jobs, says he can personally relate to Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA official who was forced to resign last week after her comments about overcoming racial prejudice were taken out of context. Both individuals resigned from the Obama administration amid strong political pressures. Host Michel Martin talks to Jones about the parallels he sees between his highly publicized resignation in 2009 and Sherrod’s, and what he’s learned since leaving the White House.

The resignation of the Obama administration’s “green jobs” czar, Van Jones, has caused an uproar within progressive circles.

Jones recently came under scrutiny after it was revealed that he signed a 2004 petition questioning whether the U.S. government allowed the Sept. 11 attacks to occur, and after remarks in which he used a derogatory word to describe Republicans.

Spain sees temperatures rising 3 to 6 degrees by 2100

Spanish daytime temperatures will rise by an average of between 3 and 6 degrees Celsius by 2100, and rainfall will tumble to 15-30 percent of recent levels, according to forecasts on Tuesday by the Met Office.

The Met Office said it produced the forecasts in order to plan for the impact of climate change.

“Madrid will be like (southern city) Seville, and Seville like Tucson. This is a report for action,” Met Office President Ricardo Garcia told journalists.

Climate Change Secretary Teresa Ribera added at a news conference that Spain, which already suffers from water shortages and is building desalination plants, was particularly vulnerable to climate change.

“To the extent that temperatures change, animals and other living things will have to grow in different places to today, and that will also lead to significant changes in economic activities,” she said.

In order to combat climate change and reduce its extensive dependence on imported fossil fuels, Spain has invested heavily in subsidizing renewable energy sources in recent years.

U.K. Carbon Calculator Shows 80% Emissions Reduction Is Achievable By 2050

The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change announced a “carbon calculator” that shows the country’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in the six decades through 2050 is achievable.

The calculator is an online tool that allows power consumers to gauge how to achieve the necessary cuts by adjusting 34 measures of energy demand and supply, ranging from the temperature of people’s homes to nuclear power generation.

Each of the categories, 17 for demand and 17 for supply, has four scenarios. They range from one, where no attempt is made to fight climate change, to four, which the department describes as a “extreme upper effort.” The calculator shows that an 80 percent cut could be achieved by a mixture of twos (effort viewed as achievable) and threes (unlikely to happen without significant changes.)

France to Seek Bids for Offshore Wind Power Farms

France will seek bids for offshore wind farms by the end of the year to raise renewable energy production and catch up with its neighbors in building sea-based turbines, a government official said.

France will designate 5 to 10 offshore areas that have been evaluated for their “environmental compatibility,” Pierre- Franck Chevet, an official at the Environment and Energy Ministry, said in Paris yesterday.

The country, which doesn’t have any offshore wind parks, is seeking to emulate neighbors such as the U.K. in sea-based wind energy, considered more reliable and less intrusive on local communities than onshore turbines. GDF Suez SA, owner of the French natural-gas network, is planning a 1.8 billion-euro ($2.3 billion) windpark offshore northern France, which is being publically assessed for its environmental impact.

China’s Environment Accidents Double as Growth Takes Toll

China, the world’s largest polluter, said the number of environmental accidents rose 98 percent in the first six months of the year, as demand for energy and minerals lead to poisoned rivers and oil spills.

“Fast economic development is leading to increasing conflicts with the capacity of the environment to absorb” demands, the environmental protection ministry said in a faxed statement in response to Bloomberg questions.

An acid leak at Zijin Mining Group Co.’s copper and gold mine this month poisoned enough fish in the Ting River to feed 72,000 for a year, and Dalian’s beaches and port were closed by an oil spill at the nation’s largest crude terminal. The accidents underscore the toll from two decades of growth averaging 10.1 percent that made China the third-largest economy.

California’s clean energy future threatened by federal delays, state officials say

Plans for a massive expansion of clean energy in California are being jeopardized by federal foot-dragging, according to state officials who say that more than 20 nearly shovel-ready solar and wind projects are being held up by the U.S. Department of Energy. Seven major solar-mirror projects “” enough to provide power to 3 million Southern California homes “” along with plans for at least a dozen wind-turbine and solar-panel complexes have been cleared or almost cleared by state authorities and the U.S. Department of Interior. The projects are valued at as much as $30 billion, according to estimates by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office.  But the Department of Energy’s laborious procedures to guarantee loans threaten to stymie construction financing for many of the projects, and builders could lose out on more than $10 billion in federal stimulus funding if they can’t start digging by the end of the year.

Western Climate Initiative offers cap-and-trade

A coalition of seven western states and three Canadian provinces on Tuesday offered its most detailed strategy yet for controlling greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change, saying they hope it will stand as a model for national systems in the United States and Canada. At the core of the Western Climate Initiative is a cap-and-trade system that would go into effect in January 2012, gradually ramping down emissions levels. The system, which gives financial incentives to reduce carbon emissions, would start with power plants, then extend to large industrial producers and transportation.

Cities Seek Clout for ‘Green’ Taxi Rules

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and five other big city mayors are asking Congress to give them a lift in a long-running fight over turning traditional yellow-cab taxis into green, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Mr. Bloomberg and the mayors of Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington are trying to add a so-called “green taxi” law to Senate legislation aimed at cleaning up the BP oil spill.

Cut the budget, save the environment

Cutting the federal budget by axing environmentally harmful subsidies and taxpayer-funded programs sounds great, right? The Green Scissors 2010 report has identified more than $200 billion in government subsidy programs that are wasteful from a financial and an environmental perspective. The Green Scissors Campaign, which is led by several organizations including Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, is focused on generating bipartisan support for cutting federally funded programs that are harmful to the environment.

This year’s report focuses on programs in four key areas: energy, agriculture and biofuels, infrastructure, and public lands. Energy, especially clean energy, is getting attention from the president as the Obama administration is helping push our country towards a green economy. The energy section of the Green Scissors 2010 report targets three main energy industries: oil and gas, coal, and nuclear.

Senate energy plan bolsters electric cars

The Senate energy bill unveiled Tuesday contains several provisions to bolster the fledgling market for electric cars that Nissan Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and several other companies are developing.

The electric car plan is based on bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The broader bill “” which also contains oil-spill response measures “” is slated for debate on the Senate floor ahead of the August recess.

Inclusion of the vehicle provisions follows a campaign by electric car advocates, who call the technology a promising way to curb oil imports by allowing drivers to charge up rather than fill up at the gas station.

California’s climate change law backer donates $5 million to fight Prop 23

Thomas Steyer, a San Francisco hedge fund manager and a big backer of Democratic candidates, will donate $5 million to a group opposing the ballot measure to roll back California’s landmark climate change law.

Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management LLC, has joined George Shultz, former U.S. secretary of the state, as co-chairman of the No on 23 committee, giving the group’s leadership a bipartisan mix.

California’s greenhouse gas reduction law, or AB 32, aims to cut emissions to 1990 levels statewide by 2020.

Backed by Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. of Texas, Proposition 23 seeks to suspend AB 32 until the statewide unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.

With Steyer’s donation, the No on 23 committee has raised more than $7 million. Proponents of a rollback collected more than $3 million.

“Proposition 23 really boils down to one thing,” Steyer said in a news release. “Do we want California to continue moving forward as a leader in a clean energy economy, including continuing to create new jobs, new economic development and new investment, or do we want to allow two Texas-based oil companies “¦ to take our state backward and see the clean energy jobs, business and investment in our state go offshore to (a) place like China?”

Report: U.S. energy policy a “serious threat” to economic, national security

The country’s energy policy – particularly on climate change – poses a “serious threat” to economic and national security, a new report finds, but one group says that threat can be turned into an opportunity.

The report, released Tuesday by the nonprofit research firm CNA, says the predicted effects of climate change “have the potential to disrupt our way of life” and “create sustained natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale far beyond those we see today.” That, in turn, will likely foster political instability both at home and abroad.

The result, the report argues: The country cannot afford business as usual when it comes to energy.

“The United States government should take bold and aggressive action to support clean energy technology innovation and significantly decrease the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels,” it says.

‹ Curry Favor

Billionaire polluter David Koch: Global warming is good for you ›

45 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for July 28: Wind drives growing battery use; Chevy Volt vs. Nissan Leaf

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    Gulf Oyster Workers “Facing Tremendous Amount of Uncertainty” (Video) http://blogs.nwf.org/arctic_promise/2010/07/gulf-oyster-workers-facing-tremendous-amount-of-uncertainty-video.html

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    Ordinary soot key to saving Arctic sea ice http://www.agu.org/news/press/pr_archives/2010/2010-20.shtml

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    Flooding Threatens to Overwhelm China’s Three Gorges Dam http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/28/flooding-threatens-to-overwhelm-chinas-three-gorges-dam/

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    According to the state-run news agency, the dam is at 90 percent capacity. The government has also defended the dam — the world’s largest hydroelectric project, whose construction displaced a million people — by saying that it would control flooding along the Yangtze River.

    The rains are expected to continue.


    It is the world’s largest electricity-generating plant of any kind. cost 30 billion USD.

  5. paulm says:

    Storms of our Children…

    Monstrous Hail Falls, Possible New National Record?
    http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/34648/monstrous-hail-falls-possible-1.asp

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    GM Wheat Yields 48-56 % Less In Field Experiments

    Fertilization generally increased GM/control differences in the glasshouse but not in the field. Two of four GM lines showed up to 56% yield reduction and a 40-fold increase of infection with ergot disease Claviceps purpurea compared with their control lines in the field experiment; one GM line was very similar to its control.

    Interestingly, when you dwell deep, you find that in the glasshouse experiments, the researchers found that while the control lines benefited from the fungicide treatment, the GM lines reacted negatively. The next line is more significant. It says: The yield of GM lines dropped lower than the yield of the sprayed controlled lines. According to researchers, it means that the cost of resistance might be high if the pathogen is absent. http://www.countercurrents.org/dsharma190710.htm

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Plankton decline across oceans as waters warm

    The amount of phytoplankton – tiny marine plants – in the top layers of the oceans has declined markedly over the last century, research suggests.

    Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say the decline appears to be linked to rising water temperatures. They made their finding by looking at records of the transparency of sea water, which is affected by the plants.

    The decline – about 1% per year – could be ecologically significant as plankton sit at the base of marine food chains. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10781621

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Earth’s climate future may be etched in Greenland bedrock

    Ice core samples from 130,000 to 115,000 years ago — the last time Earth’s climate was a few degrees warmer than today — could help forecast the impacts of current global warming, the researchers said.

    “Our findings will increase our knowledge on the future climate system and increase our ability to predict the speed and final height of sea level rise,” said Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, an ice expert at the University of Copenhagen and head of the project. Without steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the global thermometer could rise 6.0 C compared to pre-industrial times, making large swathes of the planet unlivable, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned.

    Voluntary national pledges made after the Copenhagen climate summit in December would likely cap that increase at 3.5 C to 4.0 C (6.3 F to 7.2 F), still fall far short of the 2.0 C (3.6 C) limit that most scientists agree is the threshold for dangerous warming.

    Over the last century, temperatures have risen by about 0.8 C http://www.physorg.com/news199550264.html

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    EPA Slams State Department on Proposed Oil Pipeline
    White House could intervene as environmental security takes equal place next to energy security as concern of national interest http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100727/epa-slams-state-department-proposed-oil-pipeline

  10. Mike says:

    Another source for #8:

    Vital ocean phytoplankton a casualty of global warming?
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0728/Vital-ocean-phytoplankton-a-casualty-of-global-warming

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Tiny Tax on Wall Street Trades to Pay for Climate Mitigation?
    Secure California Democrat introduces bill into Congress ahead of the midterm elections http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100728/tiny-tax-wall-street-trades-pay-climate-mitigation

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    Recently Elected Dem Senators Want More ‘Passion,’ ‘Political Clarity,’ And ‘Fight’ For Green Economy http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/07/28/new-class-climate/

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Senator calls for probe of BP tax plans

    A senator from Florida called on Wednesday for a congressional inquiry into BP Plc’s plan to use losses from the Gulf oil spill to reap $10 billion in tax benefits.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66R5K120100728

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Wetlands Front Group Funded by Big Oil Wants Taxpayers to Foot the Bill for BP’s Gulf Destruction
    A group of oil companies including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Citgo, Chevron and other polluters are using a front group called “America’s WETLAND Foundation” and a Louisiana women’s group called Women of the Storm to spread the message that U.S. taxpayers should pay for the damage caused by BP to Gulf Coast wetlands, and that the reckless offshore oil industry should continue drilling for the “wholesale sustainability” of the region.

    Using the age-old PR trick of featuring celebrity messengers to attract public attention http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/wetlands-front-group-fund_b_662739.html

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    Oil catastrophe wasn’t just an accident http://us.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/07/28/safina.oil.lessons/index.html

  16. Bob Wallace says:

    “As the wind installations multiply, companies have found themselves dumping energy late at night, adjusting the blades so they do not catch the wind, because there is no demand for the power.”

    And someone wants to build a new nuclear plant in that economic environment? Conservatively, nuclear will have to sell it’s power for about $0.16/kWh to stay in business.

    “Give-away” wind means lots of hours with zero income for nuclear plants which can’t be turned off when demand is low. That means that they will have to charge a lot more than sixteen cents during other parts of the day.

    More bad news. PV solar has now dropped below $0.16/kWh in moderately sunny places like North Carolina. Certainly a lot less in the sunny Southwest. There goes new nuclear’s lucrative afternoon income. Best they can do when the sun is out is break even.

    And more bad news. Wind plus CAES storage is about $0.13/kWh. That means they can never sell for high enough prices to break even.

    Hummmmmmmmmmmm…..

    “And grid operators, accustomed to meeting demand by adjusting supplies, are now struggling to maintain stability as supplies fluctuate.”

    Time to build them some storage, don’t you think? PG&E is working on a large underground CAES site, as is Iowa. There are also new pump-up hydro facilities being developed.

  17. paulm says:

    So we will soon find out how high how fast seas will rise….

    Earth’s climate future may be etched in Greenland bedrock
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hHCf3mtufTcJWUypQMe069Hc9P6A

    What I can understand is why the minimum height now expected is still being under reported. Some times people just don’t want to believe…

    The current status of the continent-sized ice block is sharply debated, with some scientists predicting it will remain largely stable, and other saying it could shed enough water over the coming century to raise the global water mark by a metre (39 inches) or more.

  18. Leif says:

    Great post there Bob Wallace, @18: There sure looks like a lot of clean jobs in that line up as well. Paid for with fuel savings not going to folks that don’t particularly like us. Delivering clean fuel for the working life of the equipment. Circulating every cent within the borders and communities. Cutting out huge profits to obnoxious people, propping up questionable governments, the list goes on.

    The GOBP and Koch et. al. don’t want any part of it. Gosh, I wonder why?
    The GOBP will filibuster any democratic, (small d,) attempt to achieve those goals.
    The GOBP will sell and has sold out earth’s life support systems for their profits under the gauze of what is good for EXXON is good for Humanity. Well looks like they got the “good for EXXON” part right. Humanity sure looks like it deserves a break however.

    The worst part, The Democrats can’t beat them…

    as Jeff says, sigh…

  19. Robert says:

    In a carbon based world economy GDP is a good proxy for CO2 emissions. This chart http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?t=0&v=66&l=en ranks countries by GDP growth – China is 17th at 9% and India is 28th at 7.4%. This means their economies are DOUBLING in size every 7.8yrs and 9.4yrs respectively. By comparison the US and UK are languishing down in 169th and 182nd places.

    Now look at the population. http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?t=0&v=21&l=en China and India are 1st and 2nd with 44% of the world’s total population. No surprise then that China and India’s CO2 emissions are going through the roof, both in absolute and per-capita terms:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/prc.html
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/ind.html

    China and India already produce about 1/4 of the world’s CO2. With their economies (and CO2 output) doubling every 8 or 9 years the situation is deteriorating fast. The huge populations and exponentially growing economies of the far east will soon dominate the alarm over CO2 emissions, whatever we do (or more likely don’t do) in the west.

  20. Leif says:

    It is spooky Robert, @ 21: All the more reason to get an energy bill that emphasizes sustainability. The Chinese have trumped us with wind and solar development. The Japanese with automotive, electronics and air conditioners and more. Perhaps there is still a window for us yet in sustainable technology. Or will we be importing that as well.

    The more I read about the availability of fresh water supplies, it is obvious that purification is in our future. Purification is energy hungry. Great job for off hour wind energy. Lousy job for imported oil.

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    Biologist: Ocean pollution ‘threatening the human food supply’ http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0624/biologist-ocean-pollution-threatening-human-food-supply/

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    Is the cure (geoengineering) worse than the disease (global warming)?

    Geophysicist Kate Ricke of Carnegie Mellon University and her colleagues show that one of the more feasible geoengineering methods—injecting reflective particles into the atmosphere to mimic the world-cooling effects of a volcanic eruption—will have effects that vary from place to place. So, for example, India might be rendered too cold (and wet) by a level of particle injection that’s just right for its neighbor China while setting the levels to India’s liking would toast the Middle Kingdom. http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=is-the-cure-geoengineering-worse-th-2010-07-19

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    What’s worse, the computer models that show that such injections might work in the short term also show that they will change global weather patterns by making part of the atmosphere more stable—and therefore less likely to promote storms. That means less rainfall to go around—and these side effects become worse with time. http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=is-the-cure-geoengineering-worse-th-2010-07-19

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    As China’s Economy Grows, Pollution Worsens Despite New Efforts to Control It

    figures show a jump in industrial accidents and an epidemic of pollution in waterways. The report also found that more than a quarter of the country’s rivers, lakes and streams were too contaminated to be used as drinking water. Acid rain, it added, has become a problem in nearly 200 of the 440 cities it monitored. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/world/asia/29china.html

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGC) was established in 1982 with the approval of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and officially registered with a registered capital of 228 million RMB in the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. As one of the 166 state-owned enterprises under the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), it bases its head office in Beijing, the Capital of China http://www.chinageo.com.cn/en/about/index.asp

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Michigan oil leak polluting Kalamazoo River; Governor declares disaster area

    Michigan oil leak is not on the same scale as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But it is causing concern in southern Michigan. http://www.csmonitor.com/From-the-news-wires/2010/0728/Michigan-oil-leak-polluting-Kalamazoo-River-Governor-declares-disaster-area

    The animal in the photo is not a brown pelican.

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    A century of phytoplankton decline suggests that ocean ecosystems are in peril.

    Phytoplankton are the basis of the entire marine food chain, and have an important role in the global carbon cycle. Through photosynthesis, they produce around half of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere and drive the ‘biological pump’ that fixes 100 million tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide a day

    Since 1950 alone, algal biomass decreased by around 40%, probably in response to ocean warming — and the decline has gathered pace in recent years. “Clearly, 40% is a huge number” http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100728/full/news.2010.379.html

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    DoD, DOE Collaborate for Clean Energy
    U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding during a White House forum to discuss clean energy in relation to national security.

    The MOU demonstrated a collaboration between the two departments to commit to fostering a clean-energy economy and improved efficiencies through on-site renewable power generation. http://www.executivegov.com/2010/07/dod-doe-collaborate-for-clean-energy/

    I hope there is a task force for biochar – to defuse the global warming time bomb.

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Global warming makes heat waves the new normal
    Following a furious thunderstorm on Sunday, the temperature here dropped more than ten degrees, allowing residents of the capital city to venture outdoors again http://blogs.ajc.com/cynthia-tucker/2010/07/28/global-warming-makes-heat-waves-the-new-normal/

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    New poll shows steady support for state’s climate-change law, while opposition to drilling shoots up http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/07/new-poll-shows-steady-support-for-states-climate-change-law-opposition-to-drilling-shoots-up.html

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    Leaked: Ten warming signs that climate change is unmistakeable fact

    The 2009 State of the Climate report, published last night, showed that air and sea temperatures were rising, while Arctic sea ice, glaciers and snow cover in the northern hemisphere were all declining.

    It confirmed the past decade was the hottest on record and that the Earth has been growing progressively warmer for more than three decades.

    The study drew on data from ten key climate indicators which, the scientists said, pointed to the finding that the world was warming. http://news.scotsman.com/news/Ten-warming-signs-that-climate.6445624.jp

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    Apparently the annual budget for air conditioning tents in Afghanistan and Iraq ($20 billion) is larger than the budget of NASA ($18 billion).

    “Forward Operating Base” or FOB. The US has many FOBs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The large ones have many tents and other structures where personnel live and work. And all of them need to be heated in the winter, and cooled in the summer. That can take a lot of fuel.
    http://www.theworld.org/2010/07/28/military-base-close-to-the-front/

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    A picture worth a thousand words …

    WWF says sorry to Saudi Arabia over vandalism
    Environmental group WWF has apologised to Saudi Arabia after one of its workers vandalised the country’s nameplate at a climate conference.

    The employee broke the plastic nameplate into two pieces, threw it into a toilet, took photographs of it and distributed the pictures. Saudi Arabia, a major oil producer, is often criticised by environmentalists. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10798108

  34. Mike says:

    The decline in phytoplankton is the news story – or should be. Here a WSJ article:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704895004575395273977526844.html

  35. Robert says:

    Leif, @22 and 21

    It goes beyond spooky. We have 2.4 billion people hurtling down the same path we have followed and within a couple of decades they will have caught us up on emissions.

    Interesting though the internal squabbling over the climate bill may be, the real focus should be on the global situation. I also think that just encouraging renewable energy will never be enough if the world continues to consume all the fossil fuel it can lay it hands on in parallel. Hard limits on fossil fuel extraction are required, otherwise it’s all just talk.

    No idea how we get there. It is first and foremost an international political problem and the world has a poor track record at solving such problems.

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate capsules for a changing world
    How will people protect themselves from pollution and other climate hazards in the future? http://news.cnet.com/2300-11128_3-10004308.html?tag=mncol

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    ‘The Cove’ Director Louie Psihoyos Working on 3D Movie About Mass Extinction http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/07/the-cove-director-louie-psihoyos-working-on-3d-movie-about-mass-extinction.php

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    Greenpeace exposes Indonesian palm oil firm’s ‘broken’ rainforest pledge

    New evidence shows country’s largest palm and pulp group is breaking its environmental commitments by destroying critical habitats http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/29/palm-oil-indonesia-greenpeace

  39. Prokaryotes says:

    REFILE-US Senate bill to force fracking fluid disclosure http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2817990120100728