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Energy and Global Warming News for July 30th: Solar-power industry hits magic number; Fight gears up on biomass; Fossil fuel subsidies are 12 times support for renewables — study

By Climate Guest Contributor on July 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm

"Energy and Global Warming News for July 30th: Solar-power industry hits magic number; Fight gears up on biomass; Fossil fuel subsidies are 12 times support for renewables — study"

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Solar-Power Industry Hits Magic Number

While some investors feel they’re still waiting for the sun to rise on the solar energy industry, it’s already high noon for some parts of the sector.

In some places in the U.S. today, solar photovoltaic, PV, technology””the iconic glass panels being deployed on home and business rooftops””already allows users to beat what their local utility charges for electricity generated from coal-fired power plants.

“It makes sense if you look at it as a [retail] ratepayer,” says Ted Sullivan, senior analyst at Lux Research. “We’re there today.” For example, Californian utilities charge up to 40 cents/kwh for retail power users, while an installed solar PV system costs up to 18 cents/kwh.

The cost-benefit analysis, of course, depends mainly on local issues, like the rates utilities charge, the premium cost of using energy at peak demand times and the intensity of the sun in any given area. Generally speaking though, solar energy users can expect a quick return on investment for installing PV panels and enjoy cheap energy for the system’s lifetime, often guaranteed for 20 years or more.

Is Solar Energy Affordable and Appropriate for Your Home?

This morning on “Good Morning America” you saw Lynn Jurich of SunRun, a San Francisco-based home solar company.

Jurich, SunRun’s co-founder and president, said the benefits of solar powering homes include controlling electricity costs and making a difference in the environment.

Solar power can help reduce greenhouse gases, lower the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and increase a home’s resale value, she added. Jurich said there were two ways to obtain solar power for a home.

Homeowners can purchase a home solar system outright, or they can purchase solar electricity from a home solar company. Options for solar electricity include a solar lease, also known as a solar power purchase agreement.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are 12 Times Support for Renewables, Study Shows

Global subsidies for fossil fuels dwarf support given to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power and biofuels, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Governments last year gave $43 billion to $46 billion of support to renewable energy through tax credits, guaranteed electricity prices known as feed-in tariffs and alternative energy credits, the London-based research group said today in a statement. That compares with the $557 billion that the International Energy Agency last month said was spent to subsidize fossil fuels in 2008.

“One of the reasons the clean energy sector is starved of funding is because mainstream investors worry that renewable energy only works with direct government support,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of New Energy Finance.

Fight Gears Up on Biomass

There is evidently no form of energy, including renewable energy, that lacks opposition. A big spat right now centers on biomass power plants.

Biomass is a broad category that encompasses everything from burning whole trees to burning leftover wood chips, agricultural residues or household garbage. The focus of the argument is currently in Massachusetts, where state regulators are considering raising the bar for biomass plants.

Supporters say that cutting down trees to make electricity is carbon-neutral, because the trees will regrow and absorb carbon dioxide from the air. But a recent study suggests that the trees will take years to do that, offering little short-term help. (The same argument can be made about solar cells; manufacturing them involves releasing carbon dioxide, then takes some time to break even before yielding a net benefit in decreased carbon dioxide emissions.)

Biomass is a favored form of renewable energy because its generation can be reliably scheduled; the wind and sun can merely be predicted, and not always very well, leading to a need for extensive storage.

Chevron shines with California solar array

A solar energy project in southern California will remove more than 86,000 tons of emissions from the atmosphere, energy company Chevron said.

Chevron’s subsidiary Chevron Energy Solutions teamed with officials in Brea, Calif., to launch a 1.8 megawatt solar energy project.

The solar farm will position Brea as the largest contributor of solar energy to the electrical grid in Orange County, the company said in a statement.

Brea Mayor Ron Garcia was quoted as saying the installation of the solar facility will bring his city one step closer to environmental benchmarks.

U.S. Crackdown Forces Calif. To Yank Home Solar, Energy-Retrofit Loans

California pulled funding for its home solar and energy-retrofit loans yesterday in response to federal mortgage overseers’ negative ruling on the program.

The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) decision removes $30 million in federal stimulus funds awarded by the state last February to five counties for county and municipal home energy loans. The state said the five were expected to create 4,400 jobs and avoid 187,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions through 2012.

Loans from the property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program are tied to property tax bills, allowing homeowners to extend payments and carry loans over when the house is sold.

A 2009 bill expanded California’s program to cover water-efficiency improvements in addition to energy projects, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) signed a bill last April establishing a $50 million reserve fund to back local government bonds.

EPA Rejects Challenges to Finding That Climate Change Is Threat to Health

The Obama administration rejected challenges to its finding last year that climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases is a danger to public health.

The Environmental Protection Agency found that 10 petitions contesting the decision as flawed “provide no evidence to undermine our determination,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said today in a statement. Industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have said the EPA’s carbon rules will be a drag on the economy.

The agency’s action removes a potential obstacle barring the U.S. from regulating carbon-dioxide emissions from cars, trucks, power plants, oil refineries and factories under the Clean Air Act. Congress has failed to pass legislation to limit carbon emissions that would mandate pollution cuts by statute.

Spill Reignites California’s Anti-Drilling Fervor

What a difference an oil spill makes. Californians, whose dislike of offshore drilling dates back to the Santa Barbara spill of 1969, had begun to see virtue in new sources of oil as gasoline prices soared in 2008, polls showed.

That year, for the first time since 2000, when the first poll of the state’s environmental attitudes was taken by the Public Policy Institute of California, a majority “” albeit a bare one, 51 percent “” was willing to allow more drilling off the California coast. The majority was about the same in 2009, and opposition dwindled to 43 percent.

The latest poll, however, shows the opposition snapping back after the offshore oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In the institute’s survey this month of 2,502 Californians, 59 percent opposed new offshore drilling; the proportion supporting more drilling dropped to 36 percent, down 15 percentage points.

Spain Nearing Accord With Solar Producers on Reducing Subsidies

The Spanish government and solar- power producers are moving toward an agreement aimed at reducing subsidies to the industry and reining in electricity prices without damaging the country’s renewable energy industry.

A draft document forming the basis of talks between executives and government officials said subsidies for plants already operating would be cut 10 percent to 15 percent over the next three years, compensated by three extra years of payments. An Industry Ministry spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the document and said the government will seek deeper cuts.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government wants to keep a lid on electric costs by paring back a 2007 law granting above-market prices for clean-energy producers. The measures would hurt solar-plant developers including Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA and Solaria Energia y Medio Ambiente SA.

Europe Slashes Low-Carbon Energy Subsidies as Budgets Shrink

What appears to be a bonfire of low-carbon energy subsidies has been lit in Europe as cash-strapped countries grapple with their empty coffers and start to cut back on what many see as over-generous support for industries from wind to solar that has created a green energy bubble.

Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic have all announced subsidy cuts, and there are fears that the United Kingdom, making budget cuts across the board as it desperately seeks to reduce a deficit of over 160 billion pounds, will be tempted to go even further.

The United Kingdom’s independent Committee on Climate Change called earlier this week for the government to safeguard the £550 million a year it spends supporting clean energy, which it said was a paltry amount that needed, if anything, to be increased when economic circumstances allow. Yet cuts have already been announced.

Exxon Mobil sees 91% jump in profit

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s profit rose 91 percent in the second quarter as the economy sputtered toward recovery.

The Irving oil giant enjoyed higher crude oil and natural gas prices. But Exxon sold less diesel, jet fuel and gasoline, indicating consumers are doing less shopping, traveling and driving to work.

“We’re certainly seeing some recovery in demand in the U.S., not as strong as Asia,” said David Rosenthal, Exxon’s vice president of investor relations.

“But it’s really hard to tell, given the level of activity and the level of economic progress,” he said. “I think we need a couple more quarters to go before we can answer that question affirmatively.”

Exxon’s net profit rose to $7.56 billion for the second quarter, or $1.61 a share, from $3.95 billion, or 81 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 24 percent to $92.49 billion.

The rise is largely due to higher crude oil and natural gas prices. Sales of petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, dropped 3.8 percent.

Raising appliance efficiency: A big win for consumers and the climate

There are enormous opportunities to use energy more efficiently. Investing in energy efficiency is often far cheaper than expanding the energy supply to meet growing demand. Efficiency investments typically yield a high rate of return, saving consumers money, and can help fight climate change by avoiding carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning additional fossil fuels. Just as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) offer great electricity savings over incandescent light bulbs, a similar range of efficiencies is available for many household appliances, such as refrigerators and home electronics.

The U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 was designed to exploit some of these potential savings. It raises appliance efficiency standards high enough to close 29 power plants that burn coal, the most carbon intensive of the fossil fuels. Other provisions in the act — such as tax incentives that encourage the adoption of energy-efficient technologies, a shift to more combined heat and power generation, and the adoption of real-time pricing of electricity (a measure to discourage optional electricity use during peak demand periods) — would cut electricity demand enough to close an additional 37 coal-fired power plants. Appliance efficiency standards and other measures in the bill would also reduce natural gas consumption substantially. All together, these measures are projected to reduce consumer electricity and gas bills in 2020 by more than $20 billion.

U.S. Great Plains, Southwest at ‘extreme risk’ of water shortage, report says

More than one-third of all counties in the continental United States face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century, according to a new report.

The reason? Global warming, according to the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council. According to the report (.pdf), 14 states face an “extreme or high risk to water sustainability,” with limitations on use expected as demand exceeds supply by 2050.

“The more than 400 counties identified as being at greatest risk in the report reflects a 14-times increase from previous estimates,” the NRDC said in a statement.

Capped

NO ONE expected a bang; but the idea of a cap on America’s carbon emissions died with barely the bathos of a whimper. Despite months of legislative fiddle piled on procedural faddle, no one ever drafted a bill with a carbon cap, and the sort of trading system necessary for industry to meet its demands, that stood a chance on the Senate floor. So the majority leader, Harry Reid, finally decided the whole issue should be quietly flushed away (see article). With the mid-term elections sure to swing heavily away from Mr Reid’s Democrats, there is now no possibility of comprehensive climate-change legislation in America for years.

Given the murkiness of some of the bathwater involved (maybe we’ll let you have a little cap and trade if you’ll let us go on emitting neurotoxic mercury, said the electric utilities), it is easy to lose track of the attractions of the baby. America is the largest per-person emitter of carbon dioxide among the world’s big economies, and the second-largest emitter overall. If the risks of global damage through climate change are to be reduced, America’s emissions need to come under some sort of control, both because of what they do to the climate and because of the message such control would send to the world’s other large emitters””and in particular to China, the largest.

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67 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for July 30th: Solar-power industry hits magic number; Fight gears up on biomass; Fossil fuel subsidies are 12 times support for renewables — study

  1. Peter Smith says:

    US industrial titan General Electric has agreed to pay over 23 million dollars to settle allegations that it bribed Iraqi officials.

  2. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Exxon profits $7.56B for the QUARTER. CRAP these are monstrous companies!!

  3. _Flin_ says:

    Subsidies for Solar need to be reduced. It is way too expensive and if companies dont manage to bring the price down the money is better spent for other things like wind, biogas or geothermal plants. What really needs to be cut to zero though, are the oil subsidies. Companies with billions of profits dont need subsidies.

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    Pakistan flood death toll hits 430

    Under-equipped rescue workers have struggled to reach up to 400,000 stranded villagers, while the highway connecting Peshawar to the capital city Islamabad had to be shut down.

    There are also only 48 boats available for rescue.
    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/07/30/pakistan-flooding-death-toll.html

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    “A newly constructed part of a dam in the Charsadda district collapsed, while the UN said it had reports of 5,000 homes underwater in that area.”

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    Flood Watch: roundup of severe floods around the world

    There has been severe flooding around the world in 2010, with many regions experiencing the worst torrential rain and storms in a generation.

    The report warned that the flooding could continue for several more weeks.

    “It is expected that these floods will continue until early September based on the frequency of the rains,” it predicted, “which means there will be more displacement and ruining of the harvest.”

    … future floods could be more severe as a result of climate change http://www.alertnet.org/db/an_art/60167/2010/06/28-092431-1.htm

  7. paulm says:

    How can someone do an article…Global disaster: is humanity prepared for the worst?
    and not mention AGW! This is beyond me.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jul/25/disaster-risk-assessment-science

    So ironic….

    A major sticking point, says Bostrom, is that humans are doomed only to learn from direct experience. Nuclear reactors were made safer after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The UN drew up plans for a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean a year after 230,000 people died from a devastating wave in 2004. Plans to bolster flood defences around New Orleans are still being thrashed out, five years after hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 and left thousands more homeless. In each case, the risks were known, but they were only acted on after the event.

    “Our attitude throughout human history has been to experience events like these and then put safeguards in place,” says Bostrom. “That strategy is completely futile with existential risks. By definition, you don’t get to learn from experience. You only have one chance to get it right.”

  8. catman306 says:

    Witsend will want to click this link.

    Rising Surface Ozone Reduces Plant Growth And Adds To Global Warming

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070725143612.htm

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    The Sri Lankan government has decided to change its coal-based power generation plan and not go for more coal plants and instead shift towards renewable energy, power minister Patali Ranawaka said. http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=2111637845

  10. John Hollenberg says:

    > Subsidies for Solar need to be reduced. It is way too expensive and if companies dont manage to bring the price down the money is better spent for other things

    Strongly disagree. We don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket. A recent article stated that new PV is now about the same cost as new nuclear in North Carolina. The subsidies will help to increase volume, which helps to drive down costs.

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Chernobyl zone shows decline in biodiversity

    The largest wildlife census of its kind conducted in Chernobyl has revealed that mammals are declining in the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant.

    The scientists say that birds provide the best “quantitative measure” of these impacts. They report their findings in the journal Ecological Indicators.

    The research team say that their census of species in the zone – which was carried out for more than three years – provides more evidence that contamination has a “significant impact” on biodiversity.

    The new data on mammals and reptiles shows what Professor Moussaeu described as a “strong signal” of reduced biodiversity in these groups too. “The truth is that these radiation contamination effects were so large as to be overwhelming,” Professor Mousseau told BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10819027

  12. _Flin_ Looks like you missed recent developments. Solar costs are plummeting, thanks to the market stimuli in countries like Germany. It is rapidly becoming one of the cheapest ways to generate energy.
    For instance, solar panel giant First Solar today announced that it reduced its manufacturing cost by another 6% in 3 months, to 0.76 $ per Watt, their production will be 1.4 GW this yr, growing to 2.2 GW in 2010: http://bit.ly/1st76c

  13. Meanwhile in Russia, forest fires leave 23 people dead amid heatwave, 2,000 homeless sofar: http://bit.ly/RusFor

  14. Harrier says:

    I saw this interesting blog post a few weeks ago at one of my favorite blogs, NextBigFuture, but I never got the chance to post it:

    Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) Carbon Capture could Reduce Atmospheric CO2 to Pre-industrial Levels in Ten Years

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/07/solar-thermal-electrochemical-photo.html

    Quite a claim, and as yet unverified…

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    Why ‘clean coal’ will never, ever matter http://www.grist.org/article/why-ccs-will-never-ever-matter/

  16. Bob Wallace says:

    “Subsidies for Solar need to be reduced. It is way too expensive and if companies dont manage to bring the price down the money is better spent for other things like wind, biogas or geothermal plants.”

    First Solar just announced that they are now manufacturing PV solar for $0.76/watt. They expect to bring that price down to $0.52 – 0.63 in 2014. And prices should continue to drop after that.

    First Solar has been able to create a business that can bring us solar power at those prices because we’ve used tax dollars to support the industry during its initial start-up phase. Just as we did railroads, air flight, computers, the electric grid….

    PV solar is very valuable because it can be installed close to point of use, thus eliminating upgrades in transmission lines. It also supplies those “peak-peak” hours when the sun is burning down on us causing power usage to climb to its highest levels.

    Think about how much is would cost to build a 24/365 coal or nuclear plant to serve only those really hot hours of the summer. You’d have to pile all of the costs into a small fraction of the year.

  17. Michael says:

    Meanwhile in Russia, forest fires leave 23 people dead amid heatwave, 2,000 homeless sofar

    Some pretty incredible satellite imagery of the fires in Russia (and Siberia), and elsewhere, along with dust storms and the like:

    MODIS Rapid Response System – Image Gallery

    Also, speaking of Siberia:

    According to the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” in the zone of the Yenisei Siberia, the permafrost is, on average, ten meters thick, this year has already been melted to a depth of 3.5 meters, compared to a usual maximum of three meters at the end of summer.

    http://www.barcelonareporter.com

  18. David B. Benson says:

    Nuclear supplied power to meet the steady base load is the best solution I know.

    Obviously better than coal and there simply isn’t enough biomass potential to meet the demand.

    The least cost solution is, of course, energy efficiency but that only goes so far.

  19. Prokaryotes says:

    Reducing Soot Might Be Shortcut to Reverse Climate Change

    The quickest way to slow the melting of Arctic sea ice is through reducing soot emissions, according to a new study of soot’s climate effects. Eliminating soot entirely could undo nearly a century of global warming, the study says. He analyzed the impacts of soot from fossil fuels and from solid biofuels, including wood, dung and other solid biomass used in home heating and cooking in the developing world.

    Wired’s science blog quotes NASA climatologist James Hansen, one of the first scientists to study soot’s climate role, who says reducing soot could help retain existing Arctic sea ice. But it’s only a stopgap measure, Hansen says. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-07/reducing-soot-might-reverse-global-warming-new-study-says

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    After the biochar conference, it was painful to see the waste- and the soot- that biochar stoves would have greatly reduced, and would also improve health from less breathing in of smoke. Solar ovens could help some of the time, too. We need every improvement we can get! http://climatetoday.org/?cat=30

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    Victoria plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 20 per cent compared to 2000 levels by 2020, decreasing greenhouse emissions generated by brown coal power plants by up to four million tonnes by 2014. In the absence of a federal Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, the Brumby Government claims that the strategies in its Victorian Climate Change White Paper will make Victoria the national leader in addressing the challenges associated with climate change. http://www.aar.com.au/pubs/cc/focc30jul10.htm

    Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. – wiki

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    Time for a fresh approach on climate change http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/50011193-82/climate-energy-dividend-approach.html.csp

    [JR: It's called a fully rebated carbon tax. Not new. But on the bright side it is politically even less popular than cap-and-trade. Seriously, if people fall of the debate over the last 18 months and think this is some would get more votes in Congress as opposed to, say, virtually none, well, they haven't been paying very close attention.]

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    More, supplemental :]

    After the defeat
    “Sometimes dead really is dead — and for this Congress, barring a miracle, climate action is finished. With an ugly election looming in November, it may be years before we get another chance to debate a bill that prices carbon.”

    That’s Eric Pooley writing this week in Yale e360.
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/after-the-defeat/

    My first thought was that he quotes you. Though, i guess it’s a miracle then. Enigmatic challenge needs a miracle.

  24. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    From the NYT:

    “Fight Gears Up on Biomass” — By Mathew L. Wald

    “Biomass [energy] is a broad category that encompasses everything from burning whole trees to burning leftover wood chips, agricultural residues or household garbage. The focus of the argument is currently in Massachusetts, where state regulators are considering raising the bar for biomass plants.

    Supporters say that cutting down trees to make electricity is carbon-neutral, because the trees will regrow and absorb carbon dioxide from the air. But a recent study suggests that the trees will take years to do that, offering little short-term help. (The same argument can be made about solar cells; manufacturing them involves releasing carbon dioxide, then takes some time to break even before yielding a net benefit in decreased carbon dioxide emissions.)”

    “Now a group in Cambridge, Mass., is mounting a more direct assault on harnessing biomass: the Biomass Accountability Project is trotting out experts in medicine and forestry to argue against such power generators.
    Margaret Sheehan, a lawyer with the group, says that even if new biomass plants meet all Environmental Protection Agency regulations on air emissions, generation could still endanger human health because the standards are inadequate.”
    ____________________________________________

    As an advocate of sustainable biomass energy I’m amused to see that according to the full text of this report, neither side is applying its optimum case.

    The objectors plaint over a health risk from minute soot particles seems valid, if unquantified, and regulation could clearly be tightened (EU regs are stringent and our leading makers of wood-gasifying boilers take a pride in bettering them). But, next time you walk past a queue of traffic, try crouching right down to get your face to the level of a toddler in a pushchair – and see just how sooty the belching tailpipes are for them. So is anyone yet demanding that all vehicles’ tailpipes should, as a matter of child-protection, end at adults’ head height ?

    Instead the objectors’ effort is to block, rather than transform, the use of a potentially sustainable base-load energy resource.

    The industry is yet further off its best case. For instance, by controlled gasification of woodfuel, around 30% by weight can be converted to charcoal, which, as Biochar, can be sold for far more than its energy value. The remaining wood-gas can supply not an old 33% efficient coal plant but to a 45% efficient gas turbine generator (or an 85% efficient CHP plant) whose power output is strongly carbon negative due to the Biochar’s sequestration.

    Also, while wood wastes’ onsite usage is certainly sensible, hauling truckloads of fuelwood long distances to serve a large facility is not. A UK Govt study in the ‘80s showed that transporting even purpose-grown fuelwood lost its carbon benefit after about 3 miles of road-transport emissions. Industry needs to focus on the ‘economies of replication’ of many modular local biomass stations, rather than on the ‘economies of scale’ of a few massive centralized plants. (Which of course doesn’t suit the greenwash ‘co-firing’ plans of the coal-burners).

    The line: “a recent study suggests that the trees will take years to regrow and recover CO2” is a classic – just how many researcher-years were invested in this gem of a discovery ? But it hints at the industry’s central myopia – that a wood-fired station is only as sustainable as its forestry. Wherever possible deciduous woodland should be used (or established on non-farmland) as unlike conifer it will regrow vigorously from the stump, and do so for as long as its felled on a cycle between 7 and 28 years, with the young regrowth being given some protection from browsers. This ‘Coppice’ regime, which is widely practiced in Europe, not only yields ~20% better than normal replanted cohort monoculture plantations, it also accommodates the highest biodiversity of any European ecosystem. Which would surely be a gold-dust boast for any utility to employ ?

    Maybe it’s time that objectors and industry alike woke up and appreciated the exceptional potentials of the forest energy resource, and rather than playing cops & robbers, worked to optimise those potentials’ widespread application – And as for the scent of woodsmoke, no doubt some diligent researcher will one day discover the astonishing fact that humanity has evolved around wood fires over the last million years or so. And tends to find well-smoked foods a special delight.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    Lewis, interesting.

    “purpose-grown fuelwood lost its carbon benefit after about 3 miles of road-transport … a recent study suggests that the trees will take years to regrow and recover CO2″

    Another rather unknown Co2 positive feedback is the time it takes for chopped tree roots to rot and release carbon into the atmosphere – like around a decade. What is more, these anthropogenic initiated decomposing from deforestation, is a habitat for mosquitoes.

    Major study links malaria mosquitoes to Amazon deforestation
    “We saw a major upsurge in the incidence of the disease that coincided with an extensive push in human settlement. It was critical to ask why.” http://www.physorg.com/news165243302.html

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Math whiz tackles the big carbon sink puzzle

    Inez Fung is on a mission to find and account for every gram of heat-trapping carbon dioxide on the planet. And she knows where most of it is hiding.

    Fung is the director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment at the University of California-Berkeley. Her work has led to a more complete understanding of the current and future role played by Earth’s so-called “carbon sinks” — features such as oceans and forests that suck carbon dioxide out of the air. Fung’s research shows that when the role of these carbon-absorbing mechanisms is taken fully into account, global warming is likely to accelerate even faster than scientists previously believed. http://www.grist.org/article/2010-07-30-carbon-hunter/

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    “Unfortunately,” Fung says, “I don’t think we scientists have done very well communicating the issues to the public. We do a lot of talking to one another. But I still haven’t seen any of my friends on Oprah yet. I’m afraid we are not broadcasting our findings on the right wavelength.” http://www.grist.org/article/2010-07-30-carbon-hunter/

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    We will have to find another way through …

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    “In considering something like climate change, the political arena has to weigh many, many variables, from economic to environmental considerations. In math we call this a weighting function, and it all depends on how you weigh these different variables. I don’t know the best way to do that. What I do know is that my role is to offer the most accurate analysis I can of what is happening.” – Fung.

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    Putin takes control of wildfire crisis http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100730/160015043.html Schwarzenegger visits site of Crown fire, which has grown to 13,000 acres http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/07/gov-schwarzenegger-visits-site-of-crown-which-has-grown-to-13000-acres-.html

  31. Paulm says:

    Prok 29.

    Just reading Lovelocek’s latest & this is precisely what he predicts due to the dynamic nature of gaia.
    Even at 90 I think he is pretty on the ball.

  32. Paulm says:

    Heres his paper…

    Failure of climate regulation in a geophysiological model
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v369/n6483/abs/369732a0.html

    THERE has been much debate about how the Earth responds to changes in climate—specifically, how feedbacks involving the biota change with temperature. There is in particular an urgent need to understand the extent of coupling and feedback between plant growth, global temperature and enhanced atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Here we present a simple, but we hope qualitatively realistic, analysis of the effects of temperature change on the feedbacks induced by changes in surface distribution of marine algae and land plants

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    Paulm, that’s from ’94 and to read the PDF it “Price: US$32″ – great! To bad, i cannot read the letter – to solve the problem, lol :]

    I think this the latest http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock

  34. Prokaryotes says:

    President Obama Drives Chevrolet Volt Electric Car http://paddocktalk.com/news/html/story-141532.html

  35. Prokaryotes says:

    Britain’s Prince Charles urges ‘sustainability revolution’

    Prince Charles on Saturday urged Britain to tackle “possibly the greatest challenge humanity has faced” by creating a more sustainable future. “It is about showing people that it is possible both to enjoy life and to protect nature,” the prince said. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100731/en_afp/britainroyalsenvironment

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    Cornell University entomologist Mark Whitmore says thousands of trees are probably already infected, and the bug may be unstoppable.

    He says there is a chance the beetle could kill all 900 million ash trees in the state. http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/local_news/new_york_state/Destructive-Beetle-Killing-Trees-Upstate-20100731-apx

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    “Trees benefit us all – they provide the air that we all breathe.” http://dailywail.com/one-in-five-brits-don%E2%80%99t-know-where-air-comes-from/

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    How is the Weather Today?

    Floods sweeping Asia have killed more than 900 people, officials said Saturday, washing away thousands of homes and destroying infrastructure in some of the worst scenes in living memory.

    The United Nations said almost a million people had been affected http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g0PhnTb4o3duUzEmhpSNiZ8WZvWA

    Video
    http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2010/07/31/sot.sayah.pakistan.flooding.cnn

  39. Prokaryotes says:

    Irony Inflation

    “The thermal coal outlook continues to improve, due to unseasonably hot weather in the eastern U.S., declining inventories and increasing industrial activity.” http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2921926320100729

  40. suwat82 says:

    In the future we may not use petrol anymore. Nowaday we have many substitued energy.

  41. Prokaryotes says:

    Why Solar Power Is More Cost Effective Than Nuclear How the Latest Research Will Make Solar More Affordable http://behindcurrentevents.com/?p=376

  42. Prokaryotes says:

    The Story of Cosmetics (2010) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfq000AF1i8&feature=player_embedded#!

    Sounds familiar

  43. Prokaryotes says:

    Catastrophe Monitor: Hundreds of new wildfires break out in Russia http://catastrophemonitor.com/public_html/article.php?story=20100801084426367

  44. Mike says:

    Vietnam’s Mekong paddies dry up
    By Aude Genet (AFP) – Jul 13, 2010

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hzjbPf_na1eEhHnzYq238j4qDreQ

  45. Mike says:

    We have all read about the terrible flooding in Pakistan. According to the Washington Post “officials in the northwest say these floods have been the worst to hit the area since at least the 1920s.” I do not know if this flooding is related to climate change. I did some searching and what little I could find was confusing and seemingly contradictory. I would very much like to hear from someone with expertise in projected climate change impacts in South Asia. Here it some of what I’ve read.

    Study: Climate change to affect monsoon in South Asia
    Updated 2/27/2009 12:03 PM
    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2009-02-27-climate-change-asian-monsoon_N.htm

    The South Asian summer monsoon — critical to agriculture in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan — could be weakened and delayed due to rising temperatures in the future, according to a recent climate modeling study.

    Indian monsoon ‘intensified by climate change’
    1 December 2006
    Science and Development Network
    http://www.scidev.net/en/news/indian-monsoon-intensified-by-climate-change.html

    ‘Pakistan may face exceptional climate change’
    By Mukhtar Alam
    Wednesday, 06 May, 2009
    The Dawn
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/metropolitan/16-pakistan-may-face-exceptional-climate-change-hs-09

    Help!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Massey lecture series to begin with talk on charcoal

    “Turning biomass to biochar captures and locks away carbon that was extracted from the atmosphere during growth,” he says, which has implications for climate change.

    “Global warming is on the international agenda and in order to meet global emission targets there is a projected need to ‘go negative.’ Carbonising plant material and adding it to soil can get us there. As you will see, charcoal has a history and a future.” http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/2010/07/ages-of-charcoal-launches-public-lecture-series/

  47. Leif says:

    Mike, @52: “Help:”

    First. Because of the ~1C warming, the Earth’s atmosphere holds ~ 4% more water vapor. That equates to ~1.5X the volume of Lake Superior cruising around looking for a place to condense and fall. Notice any extreme rain or snow events lately. Recall that once that extreme precipitation event happens it does not mean the water vapor is now back to “normal.” On the contrary, that 4% is the new normal as evaporation quickly replenishes the atmospheric losses. (Projected to double by 2050, to ~8%. (3x the volume of Lake Superior.)

    Second. Although no one extreme heat event can be said to be caused by global warming, the fact remains that the extreme warming events are twice as likely to happen now-a-days than record cold events. ~60 years age that ratio was close to 1::1. Therefore, I feel it is safe to say that every other extreme heat record can be attributed to global warming. If you do not agree, what has caused the shift? Peer review Science tells us global warming is the culprit and fits the known facts.

  48. Prokaryotes says:

    Climatologist sees disastrous weather in future
    “The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes From a Climate-Changed Planet” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100802/ap_en_ot/us_book_review_weather_of_future

  49. Prokaryotes says:

    “Most Americans believe that we will not take steps to fix climate change until after it has begun to harm us personally,” she writes. “Unfortunately, by that point it will be too late. The climate system has time lags. … So, by the time you see it in the weather on a daily basis, it’s too late to fix …

  50. Prokaryotes says:

    Monsanto: The world’s poster child for corporate manipulation and deceit

    Its objective is to control all of the world’s food production. If they control seed, they control food; they know it, it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs; it’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. http://www.naturalnews.com/029325_Monsanto_deception.html

    Like if environment destruction, pollution, contamination and climate change wasn’t enough to threaten the human civilization.

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    The only published human feeding study revealed that even after we stop eating GMOs, harmful GM proteins may be produced continuously inside of us; genes inserted into Monsanto’s GM soy transfer into bacteria inside our intestines and continue to function. If Bt genes also transfer, eating corn chips might transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.

  52. Prokaryotes says:

    Pesticides: Germany bans chemicals linked to honeybee devastation http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/23/wildlife.endangeredspecies

  53. Prokaryotes says:

    A survey two years ago, he said, showed a 29 percent decline in the number of managed commercial bee hives as a result of CCD and other factors. This past winter, another 34 percent of commercial bee colonies was lost.

    Thomas Moriarty, team leader in the pesticide re-evaluation division at the EPA, said the agency is working with states to develop better reporting mechanisms that beekeepers can use to report mass bee die-offs.

    The agency is also encouraging pesticide manufacturers to label products better, and it is reviewing neonicotinoids, compounds that affect the central nervous system and have been suspected as a cause of CCD. http://www.lancasterfarming.com/node/3093

  54. Prokaryotes says:

    Saving Bees: Population Decline Being Fought By Ordinary Citizens (VIDEO) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/13/saving-bees-population-de_n_640795.html

  55. Prokaryotes says:

    While firefighters are desperately seeking ways to contain the flames, Russian test pilot Aleksandr Akimenkov says the answer could be artificial climate change.

    Russia has used planes to disperse clouds for special occasions and emergency situations. He claims the method could help bring rain to help tackle the wildfires.

    “Dispersing clouds may not really be a job for the air force, but aviation can provide a solution until we find another way. Regarding the Chernobyl explosion, our crews hampered the rains and helped stop the spread of radioactive substances throughout the Soviet Union. It could work well in the present draught,” he believes. http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-08-02/russia-heatwave-fires.html?fullstory

  56. Prokaryotes says:

    Denver mayor and Colorado guv candidate talks bike-sharing, light rail, and coal http://www.grist.org/article/2010-08-02-denver-mayor-and-colorado-guv-candidate-talks-bike-sharing-light/

  57. Prokaryotes says:

    Imidacloprid: Long-term risks undervalued

    Best-selling pesticide worldwide / New study published in Toxicology / Substance linked with bee deaths in various countries / Ban demanded http://www.cbgnetwork.org/3490.html

  58. Mike says:

    @Leif:

    Thanks, but I am hoping to find more specific info on South Asia. This year the upper Midwest had very serious flooding. I was able to find a ten year old study on projected climate change impacts in the Midwest and it called for – increased likelihood of flooding. For Pakistan projections call for higher than average temp increases but I find mixed conclusions on the monsoon season. I would like to better understand these.

  59. Leif says:

    Mike, @ 65: I cannot help you with specifics other than the following.

    Not only does the atmosphere hold more water vapor but the potential energy within the climatic system is climbing by leaps and bounds. Just think about the energy needed to evaporate the volume of water represented by drying Lake Superior 1.5 times over and being reintroduced as heat energy upon condensation. That energy is part and parcel of the storm systems manifested. My take on that would be that anywhere local weather has in the past shown local intensification above background weather, i.e. Plains, mountain passes and culdesacs, transition zones, etc is where you will start to see the most obvious intensification. The foothills of the Himalayas would fit the bill quite nicely.

  60. Mike says:

    Are we causing a mass extinction in our oceans?
    Christian Science Monitor July 29, 2010

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0729/Are-we-causing-a-mass-extinction-in-our-oceans