Energy and Global Warming News for September 24th: UK opens world’s biggest offshore windfarm; GE chief slams U.S. on energy; “Sea snot” explosion caused by BP oil disaster, possibly crippling Gulf food chain?

The Thanet Offshore Wind Farm

UK opens world’s biggest offshore windfarm

It is a very rare thing for the UK to claim pre-eminence in the much-touted global green economy, so the assembled local dignitaries, industry folk and one cabinet minister were not letting the dismal maritime backdrop put a downer on proceedings.

The official opening of the Thanet windfarm off the coast of Kent – the biggest offshore project in the world – means that Britain generates more power from offshore wind than the rest of the world put together.

Launching the project on P&O’s Pride of Burgandy ferry, the energy and climate change minister Lib Dem Chris Huhne promised that Britain would shed its traditional “dunce” status on renewable energy….

The eight lines of turbines, running north-west to south-east, cover a total area of 35sq km off Foreness Point near Margate. With 100 turbines, each 115 metres high with 44-metre blades, it can generate 300 megawatts (MW) of power – enough for 200,000 homes.

The project also takes the UK past a small but important milestone (although one Germany passed more than a decade ago) of having generated 5,000MW (5 gigawatts) from all renewable energy. The UK is still woefully short of its target of generating 15% of energy from renewables by 2020.

Thanet will not keep the “world’s biggest” accolade for long though. Guests were already speculating about the next major offshore launch they might be invited to. Just up the coast is the Greater Gabbard offshore project with its 140 turbines, which will be followed by the even bigger London Array scheme in the Thames Estuary. When completed, this could generate 1000MW.

GE Chief Slams U.S. on Energy

General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeff Immelt warned that the lack of a comprehensive U.S. energy policy and the “stupid” current structure of the industry are causing America to fall behind in new energy fields.

GE’s Jeff Immelt called the U.S. energy regulatory system ‘a relic of 1860 or something’ at the Gridwise Global Forum in Washington Thursday.

In sharply worded comments at an energy event in Washington, Mr. Immelt on Thursday praised China’s approach to energy and criticized what he called a stalled effort to revamp U.S. energy policy. The remarks came as GE is facing tougher competition around the world from rivals in the markets for renewable and nuclear energy that the company believes get more help from their governments.

“The rest of the world is moving 10 times faster than we are,” Mr. Immelt said, referring to the U.S. during a speech at the Gridwise Global Forum. “This is a great country. But, you know, we have to have an energy policy. This is just stupid what we have today.”

The head of the Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate said China is moving faster to develop clean technologies such as nuclear power, electric vehicles and wind power. He also said China has the right mix of a big local market, innovation in technology, a low-cost supply chain and government policy support. China’s State Grid utility, he said, is larger than nearly all U.S. utilities combined.

Meanwhile, Mr. Immelt characterized the energy regulatory system in the U.S.””split between federal and state authorities””as “a relic of 1860 or something” and said “it has fundamentally no basis in the modern world.”

“Sea Snot” Explosion Caused by Gulf Oil Spill?
Marine “snowstorm” possibly crippled base of Gulf of Mexico food chain.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill sparked an explosion of sticky clumps of organic matter that scientists call sea snot, according to ongoing research.

The boom likely precipitated a sea-snot “blizzard” in Gulf (map) waters, researchers say. And as the clumps sank, they may have temporarily wiped out the base of the food chain in the spill region by scouring all small life from the water column.

In the weeks after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, scientists surveying the surface near the drill site spotted relatively huge particles””several centimeters across””of sea snot.

These particularly slimy flakes of “marine snow” are made up of tiny dead and living organic matter, according to Uta Passow, a biological oceanographer at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Tiny plants in the ocean called phytoplankton produce a mucus-like substance when stressed, and it’s possible that exposure to the Deepwater Horizon oil caused them to pump out more of the sticky stuff than usual.

This abundance of “mucus” made the naturally occurring marine-snow particles””usually about a few millimeters wide””even stickier.

“Everything they collide with in their path they collect and take with them,” said project leader Passow, who’s currently tracking marine snow aboard the research vessel Oceanus.

“Cascading” Geothermal Energy Could Revive Small Towns with Green Jobs

Part of a new U.S. Department of Energy grant for innovative geothermal technology is going to fund a project that could help small towns and mid-sized cities generate low cost local power, cut their carbon footprint, create new green jobs, and even develop local sources for fish and produce. The technology is called “cascading” geothermal because it uses and re-uses the same fluid in a series of applications.

Cascading Geothermal Technology

Oddly enough a religious community called I’SOT in Canby, California provides a textbook example of a cascading geothermal project, which is under development in partnership with the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 2006 the community began operating a geothermal heating system that provided heat and heat and hot water for 34 buildings, but the effluent from that operation was simply filtered and discharged to a river. Under the new project, the highest-temperature fluid will be used to generate electricity. After that, energy can still be extracted for additional space heating and hot water, operating up to ten acres of greenhouses, heating up to four 30-foot diameter aquaculture tanks, and for melting snow. The system may also provide enough energy to operate a new food storage and laundry facility.

Geothermal for Small Communities

The Modoc Contracting Company – also of Canby – won the DOE grant, receiving $2 million out of a larger $20 million grant for job-creating, innovative geothermal technology that was shared among six other projects. That $2 million is a modest amount compared to the impact it could have on communities across the U.S., as DOE estimates that in the west alone there are about 1,500 possible well sites in small towns and mid-sized cities with the potential to develop cascading geothermal projects. That in turn could create new green jobs in local aquaculture and greenhouse-based agriculture operations.

Renewable Electricity Standard Bill Stands Alone or Dies, Senate Sponsors Vow

A Senate bill to implement a national renewable electricity standard should be brought to the floor this session as a stand-alone measure or not at all, a leading co-sponsor of the legislation said today.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said the point of introducing the stand-alone RES bill is to get enough co-sponsors to show the bill can pass without amendments.

“If we aren’t able to do that, then I think it will make a lot of sense for Senator [Harry] Reid [D-Nev.] not to bring it up,” Bingaman told reporters after the Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. “But I hope we are able to do that.”

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), the other lead author of the bill, backed up Bingaman’s plan.

“If our best shot is going stand-alone, then we should do it that way,” Brownback said.

Mine threatens city water

THE company about to start coal seam gas drilling around southern Sydney and the Illawarra plans to use the controversial ”fracking” technique to mine directly beside Warragamba Dam, which holds much of the city’s drinking water.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to shatter rock strata and force coal seam gas to the surface, where it can be refined into natural gas for fuel.

The fracking process has raised serious environmental concerns centred on the impact of potentially toxic, rock-dissolving chemicals on underground water tables, and the disposal of big volumes of saline water pumped back to the surface.

The gas industry says the process is long established in Australia and completely safe.

Leaked confidential company documents written for a Sydney gas drilling company, Apex Energy NL, detail plans to extract coal seam gas from old coalmines along the edge of Lake Burragorang, the reservoir at Warragamba Dam.

Some gas can be extracted without fracking to stimulate the release of gas but ”Apex expects that commercial levels of production will not be met without such seam stimulation,” the documents say.

Environment groups say fracking should be banned from around water sources.

”No one else would be allowed to enter the area with hundreds of chemicals and pump them into the ground. The catchment manager would throw the book at them,” said Jeff Angel, the executive director of the Total Environment Centre.

More signs of warming, but legislative climate still cold

The evidence for climate change grows: The first eight months of 2010 put this year on track to tie 1998 as the hottest year on record, global bleaching is devastating coral reefs and Arctic summer sea ice is reaching new lows.

But for all the visible signs of global warming, weakened political support for curbing emissions means the United States is unlikely to impose national limits on greenhouse gases before 2013, at the earliest. Several leading GOP candidates this fall are questioning whether these emissions even cause warming, while some key Democratic Senate candidates are disavowing the cap-and-trade bill the House passed in 2009.

“I don’t see a comprehensive bill going anywhere in the next two years,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told a Washington policymakers conference sponsored by Reuters on Tuesday.

This disconnect has left environmentalists and many climate scientists pessimistic. For years, activists argued that it was hard to limit greenhouse gases because, unlike other forms of pollution, they are impossible to see, smell or touch. Climate effects are increasingly plain to see but no easier to address.

Rafe Pomerance, a senior fellow with the group Clean Air-Cool Planet, said he and other experts are stunned to see so many examples of global warming materializing at once.

Planned distribution of BP research funds worries some scientists

The oil giant nears an agreement to dispense $500 million through an alliance overseen by gulf state governors. Critics fear expertise elsewhere will be overlooked.

With its well finally shut down, BP is close to agreement on funneling a promised $500 million in research funds through an organization overseen by Gulf Coast governors, not the nation’s scientific community.

The pending decision has stirred concern among some scientists who fear most of the money will be doled out to institutions in the governors’ home states “” in effect making the distribution of research grants more like pork-barrel projects, rather than pure scientific pursuits.

Critics worry the expertise of distinguished oceanographic organizations such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California could be excluded from the complex task of determining the full effects of the massive spill.

Less is more for greener insecticide.

No solvent and no corrosive acids. That’s part of the recipe for a new, less polluting method of making chemicals that kill an important crop pest. Taking their inspiration from natural plant chemicals called flavones, the authors of the study developed a way to make, compare, and test the insecticides, and used the information to create a predictive computer model.

The cleaner synthesis was used to control fall armyworms, one of the main threats to corn crops in many parts of the world. The new method avoids toxic solvents and strong mineral acids that were needed in earlier processes.

Instead, it relies on a metal catalyst that works at low levels: one catalyst molecule per 200 molecules of starting material. The catalyst could be easily recovered at the end of the chemical reaction and recycled several times, reducing waste.

Flavones protect plants against a variety of bacteria and insects. Some flavones also show beneficial effects in humans as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, antimicrobials and anticancer agents.

Solar boom underway in Tucson, Southern Arizona (Rep. Gabrielle Giffords)

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has a proud and distinguished record of training this nation’s fighter pilots and protecting our country’s air space for more than eight decades.

Soon, D-M will write a new chapter in American leadership by having the military’s largest solar-generating capacity.

The base will turn to the sun for one-third of its power needs, relying on what will be one of the nation’s biggest solar power plants – a 14.5-megawatt photovoltaic array slated for construction next year. That will give D-M the military’s largest photovoltaic plant, surpassing the 14.2-megawatt array built at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada three years ago.

D-M already is home to the largest solar neighborhood in the nation. Some 6 megawatts of solar generating capacity has been installed at the Soaring Heights community on the base, meeting about 75 percent of the peak power demand in the housing area.

30 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for September 24th: UK opens world’s biggest offshore windfarm; GE chief slams U.S. on energy; “Sea snot” explosion caused by BP oil disaster, possibly crippling Gulf food chain?

  1. Jeff Huggins says:

    It will be interesting to see if the media cover Immelt’s comments.

    Perhaps Climate Progress should do an entire focused post specifically on Immelt’s comments, what they mean, how we should all take them seriously, and so forth. With all of the world’s scientific organizations concerned about global warming, and given the growing number of corporate folks (in some industries anyhow) speaking out about the matter, for the life of me I can’t figure out why it is that the Obama administration (and the climate activist groups we all know and love) can’t be making much more progress. When you have all the Earth’s scientific organizations on your side, AND an increasing number of credible corporate titans speaking out, AND periodic events of nature that are becoming increasingly worrisome, at some point you have to wonder, why are our present efforts and leadership so insufficiently effective, i.e., ineffective?



  2. george ennis says:

    The Chinese made the right decision not to make any substantive committments in Copenhagen. It is not that they won’t take action on dealing with climate change but why would they ever want to tie themselves into any international agreement when the US government is not prepared to even consider implementing the most basic of measures if for no other reason than to lessen their dependence on oil imports?

    China and most of the other global leaders understand that the US is facing years of gridlock if not outright paralysis because of an outdated and outmoded governance structure. The weakest component of that governance structure is the US Senate with its idiotic 2 Senators per state constitutional manadate which may have made sense in the late 18th century but in the early 21 st century when the population difference between the state with the smallest population and the largest is now a factor of 35 compared to 10 in the 18th century is leading to a complete distortion of the democratic process.

    Add to that the Senate’s self imposed filibuster rules regarding the need to have 60 votes to bring any legislation to a vote and the result becomes a mockery of anything remotely that can be called democratic.

    As if the witch’s brew regarding governance was not toxic enough we now see where an anti-science culture and powerful economic interests focussed on maintaining the status quo when it comes to CO 2 emissions are bleeding into the political culture and distorting rational policy making beyond recognition.

  3. CW says:

    Yay UK! (Entirely unfounded) Rumor has it that Prince Charles was banned from coming as people were worried he might attend the windy ceremony in his kilt ;).

  4. Inverse says:

    Looks like a great big sea bird killing machine to me, every step forward for man is 2 steps back for nature.

  5. David B. Benson says:

    Inverse @4 — Blads rotate slowly and so bird strikes unlikely.

  6. Brian N says:

    Danish Wind Energy Association has a useful guided tour about every aspect of wind turbines. On the environmental section on birds it says birds adapt to fly around big slow moving rotors. Only at the California Altamont Pass wind farm do some birds get hit by the smaller fast spinning rotors.
    The large air pressure drop created by the rotor as it extracts wind energy is from what I’ve read far more harmful for birds to fly through.

  7. Doug Bostrom says:

    Jeff: …you have to wonder, why are our present efforts and leadership so insufficiently effective, i.e., ineffective?”

    Look no farther than how $2.2 trillion per year in revenue concentrated just in the top 8 petroleum extraction/refining/marketing firms stacks up compared to the positively paltry cost of warping public policy to preserve that astronomically large stream of money.

    See this:

    which is extracted from this:

    Political Lobbyists Influencing Climate Change Legislation, 2003 vs. 2008″>

    How’s the President going to overcome that? Failing some horribly dramatic and dislocative events close to home, Obama has not a prayer of so doing and can’t really be blamed.

  8. Leif says:

    Doug, @7: It does look hopeless until the “Big Nature Slap” what ever that my be. The problem then becomes will it be too late for meaningful mitigation? If that becomes the case, which does appear to be likely, then is it not incumbent for the Military to weigh in? After all is it not their responsibility to protect the nation from both external AND internal threats to our sovereignty and security? Surely the Military think tanks are as smart as us on CP? Admittedly it is a tough call for the Military being they are beholden to a viable functioning economy to the tune of ~$650 billion a year, but one would think that the survival of the population would count for something. Not to mention the rest of humanity and earth’s life support systems. Does the Military remain loyal to the Almighty Dollar or to the people of America?

    I recall a short time ago that the Military was all over WMD that most thinking folks knew was a crock of excrement.

  9. David B. Benson says:

    Leif @8 — NOt sure what your point is but at least the officers take an oath to protect the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

  10. Leif says:

    Doug: Can the Military sit idly by while the very Capitalistic and Corporate economic status quo that the Military depends on for cash flow is bringing the end to a functioning economy and a good number of its citizens? Perhaps even the end to humanity in the long run?

  11. Lewis C says:

    Jeff at 1 –
    “When you have all the Earth’s scientific organizations on your side, AND an increasing number of credible corporate titans speaking out, AND periodic events of nature that are becoming increasingly worrisome, at some point you have to wonder, why are our present efforts and leadership so insufficiently effective, i.e., ineffective?

    You could also have listed the Pentagon, plus retired senior officers, as well as the Pope and a rising fraction of clergy of many denominations, as well as the great majority of the US public, particularly democrat voters.

    Plainly, it is not a lack of support that constrains the Whitehouse from providing the leadership that is clearly essential in a society as polarised and deferential to power as America has become.

    The charges of the president’s lack of spine are nonsense in my view – yet it has to be acknowledged that he has scarcely done the bare minimum to retain credibility – having worked to get the congress bill scraped through, he then did nothing much at all for the senate bill, preferring to let it die. More tellingly he hasn’t even done the easy essential stuff – launching a national climate education program, defending climate scientists and having the deniers’ corrupt funding exposed, multiplying his powers on the issue many-fold by formally declaring climate destabilization to be “a real and present danger to the security of the nation,” etc.

    To suggest that even these easy vital tasks are left undone because he is scared that the GOP will squeal at him is just irrational – Obama is a high calibre politician, and confronting opposition is part of the job. What is more, he knows full well that failure to confront opposition has a heavy political price at the ballot box, as voters will punish a perceived lack of leadership on this critical issue.

    Assuming the president is neither corrupt, stupid nor ignorant, and since there is no visible domestic policy or circumstance preventing his leadership on climate, it follows that it is an international policy that constrains him. While discussion of US international climate policy seems near-taboo on US websites, it is there that people need to look for the explanation of the president’s strange negligence of the climate issue. In particular, Bush’s policy of climate brinkmanship has not been reviewed, and it specifically requires inaction domestically.

    From this perspective Obama may be terribly badly advised, but he is very far from spineless – he is pursuing nationalist US interests in a poker game with China et al for the highest conceivable stakes – holding out for a deal that delays the decline of US hegemony, while hoping to avoid causing unprecedented genocide by serial famines and its inevitable geopolitical destabilization.

    It is perhaps worth noting here that the US hand is weakening by the day – not only can China afford to lose 1,000 extreme-weather casualties more easily than the US can lose 50, but also China’s renewables leadership is now hotly pursued by India, Malaysia, Indonesia and even the Philippines, not to mention Japan and the EU. Pressures have thus been mounting for the essential review of the inherited policy of brinkmanship from all sides except the most effective – the American public – who remain totally uninformed of the reality behind the tedious circus of denialism and inaction.

    So I’m hoping that you may consider widening your enquiry beyond the oft-refuted usual-suspect reasons to explain both the president’s inaction, and the environment movement’s tragic lack of impact.



  12. paulm says:

    There are some scary graphs on this page. Throw in peak oil and….
    I hate to state what this must mean…I think we are in for a prolong dark age now.
    Hopefully we will make it out the other end.

    Food crisis: what’s happened to the price of rice, wheat and maize?
    Are we on the brink of another food crisis? The UN thinks so and we’re bringing you the latest data on the prices of major commodities rice, maize and wheat

  13. paulm says:


    …every child on earth born after June 23, 1988 belongs to what I call Generation Hot. This generation includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts.

    For Generation Hot, the brutal summer of 2010 is not an anomaly; it’s the new normal.

  14. paulm says:
    On Thin IceThe world’s two great ice sheets are melting faster than anyone believed possible

  15. Dennis says:

    “Global groundwater depletion leads to sea level rise

    Large-scale abstraction of groundwater for irrigation of crops leads to a sea level rise of 0.8 mm per year, which is about one fourth of the current rate of sea level rise of 3.1 mm per year. This conclusion follows from a study by hydrologists from Utrecht University and the research institute Deltares. A paper about this study is currently in press with Geophysical Research Letters.”

  16. fj2 says:

    Google’s Vision of the Future? Bicycle Meets Monorail

    A very unflattering Wired review of Google’s $1 million choice to evaluate the proof-of-concept Shweeb human-powered monorail system.

    One wonders if the reviewer has even been on it; uses the typical tired hot-and-sweaty argument (has he ever been in a New York City subway during summer?), recumbents characterized by geek( in a wired review no less!) bearded types, etc. with no mention of the hybrid human-electric easy option or even just not peddling that hard, and the ability to ultimately use vehicles on-and-off systems.

    Bravo for Google! And, Shweeb and inventor Geoffrey Barnett.

    One million dollars is a pittance for developing a serious urban transit system. The New York City subway system costs about $2 billion per mile to build. And, the current Volkswagen Beetle cost one-half billion dollars to prototype and an additional one-half billion dollars to prepare for market; and this is just for the vehicle. Government tax dollars pay for the roads; $45 billion annual subsidies for the oil industry, etc. Let’s hope that Google has the vision to take this technology to the logical highly practical, comfortable, convenient level; as Shweeb is a very rudimentary beginning to safe transport and transit that has one-percent the environmental footprint of cars and the potential to ultimately provide a complete solution to the future of human mobility.

    And, regarding the “Disney” remark, what is wrong with having fun?

  17. Mark says:

    David B. Benson says:
    September 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm
    Inverse @4 — Blads rotate slowly and so bird strikes unlikely.

    Drive down any road, any highway, and see if you can count the number of dead birds of all kinds littering the pavement. Add to that birds killed hitting windows, birds killed by pets, and then compare it to the number of birds killed by wind turbines.

    it would be thousands to one.
    The comment sounds like oil-think to me.

  18. Mark says:


    Igor, which crumbled highways and bridges and knocked out power to tens of thousands of people, continued to leave thousands of people stranded Friday, with shortages of gas, food and other supplies becoming increasingly pronounced.

    “There are no hurricanes/post-tropical events of this magnitude striking Newfoundland in the modern era,” Environment Canada said in a statement.

    Prime Minister of Canada Mr. Harper:

    calling the devastation caused by Hurricane Igor the worst he’s ever seen in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday the Canadian Forces will be deployed to help affected communities.

    “I have seen flooding, but I have never seen anything like this,” said Harper, surveying the damage Friday in Trouty, one of dozens of towns coping with flood waters, downed power lines and washed-out bridges and roads. Igor blew through on Tuesday with winds up to 170 kilometres per hour and rainfall in some places of more than 200 millimetres.

    “I have never seen damage like this in Canada. Where we were standing at one point, the water would have been over our heads here,” he said.

    I am sure readers here know where Canada is at, with respect to catastrophic global changes.

    Read more:

  19. Michael says:

    Re: wind turbines killing birds

    Buildings kill literally thousands of times more birds a year than wind turbines, which rank lowest on the chart, less than 1 out of 10,000 fatalities, compared to 5,500 for buildings/windows.

  20. fj2 says:

    Google Funding Shweeb’s Invention of a Cycling Monorail

    On Friday, Shweeb Holding, a New Zealand transportation company, was announced among the five winners picked by Google to win the company’s award for the best invention or idea, the one that would make a change in the world. Among the 150,000 projects that Google looked through in the past two years Shweeb’s came on the top. The search was not limited by country, as Google swept through ideas from the entire globe.

    The winners would receive funding from Google for their ideas and to implement their inventions. Shweeb’s idea was to build a pedaling monorail. This monorail would be made of little clear capsules and would be powered by humans pedaling.

    Shweeb has already been using its monorail at Rotorua Adventure Park for three years, but it has never been considered a serious transportation alternative around the city.

    The award is a US$1 million fund from Google to Shweeb in order to turn the idea to a solid reality. In return Google would be acquiring 25% of the shares of Shweeb. However, Google will not be collecting any profits, for it promised all of its profits from Shweeb would go to the public transport charity trusts.

  21. Leif says:

    First “atmospheric river” of the season to hit the North West this weekend. Centered about the north end of Vancouver Island, BC. Up to 10″ of rain in spots. Sparsely populated.

    Cliff has an informative site and worth checking out when unusual “weather” happens in the area.

  22. mike roddy says:

    Leif and Lewis,

    Note that the military men stepping up are mostly retired, and even among these many are now analysts on Fox and lobbyists in DC. The military is hooked up with the weapons industry, and whatever resources they devote to global warming will be leftovers from budgets devoted to supersonic fighters and drones, aircraft carriers, and $1 million per person infantry.

    Don’t count on them. They will defer to civilian leadership per our Constitution. Civilian leadership is paid for and controlled by companies like Exxon, Peabody, and General Dynamics. This is not a “liberal” rant, just a statement of fact.

    Change will have to come from the people, as always. That means an aggressive and high profile information campaign, within existing media where possible, outside it when necessary. New routes to the public consciousness will have to appear in universities, schools, alternative media, and the entertainment industry, in the form of new cable channels and independently funded movies. Only then will the people acquire the strength to empower and demand action.

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    “First “atmospheric river” of the season”

    I read somewhere that the pakistan deluge was so severe because of such an atmospheric river.

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    “I have seen flooding, but I have never seen anything like this,” said Harper

    How long till Harper stops Tar Sands, major fuel for catastrophic weather events.

  25. Lewis C says:

    Mike –

    in citing the pentagon as a supporter of climate action, I was thinking of their formal warnings to both the Bush and Obama administrations – this is potentially a very valuable factor in putting down the denialists’ grant-fraud / global-dictatorship / federal-tax-scam memes, since the Joint Cheifs aren’t usually seen by the rightwing as stooges for these ‘conspiracies’, particularly under Bush’s misrule.

    OTOH, I’d well agree that the US public needs to wake up to the genocidal ripoff being pursued in its name but actually for shareholder profit. Alternative communications (particularly guerrilla postering) look like an essential development in advancing activism.

    Focussing interest on the primary obstruction to action, namely the Whitehouse retention of Bush’s policy of a ‘brinkmanship of inaction’ with China et all, might also seem like quite a useful idea.



  26. Leif says:

    I like the guerrilla posting idea. Would it be possible Joe to get some “professional posters” posted that us less than talented folks could copy for posting? Preferably something we could print out on home printers on 8&1/2×11 paper.

  27. Yesterday, California regulators unanimously raised the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 33% by 2020:

  28. John Mason says:

    Leif says: September 25, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “First “atmospheric river” of the season to hit the North West this weekend. Centered about the north end of Vancouver Island, BC. Up to 10″ of rain in spots. Sparsely populated.”

    Reading the link, that looks like what we in the UK call a Warm Conveyor – a long-fetch warm airflow from the SW with a frontal boundary just to its N, so that any frontal wave that forms will run through and augment the rainfall. Rain is always heaviest over the western UK in such setups because that’s where most of the high ground is situated: as the warm moist air is lifted over the hills, is is cooled, loses some of its ability to carry moisture and out it falls – this is known as orographic enhancement. Rainfall rates tend to be steady at say 2-10mm per hour but such setups can persist for 24-48 hours so a lot of water gets dumped. February 2004 saw a memorable example here in Wales where some weather stations recorded over 260mm of rain on the 3rd-4th. See for the result! Another one last year caused the catastrophic Lake District flooding and we also got nailed again – has the story with some climatology mixed in.

    Cheers – John

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Storm shreds aging tents in Haiti earthquake camps

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The sudden, powerful storm that ripped through Haiti’s battered capital destroyed thousands of tents in the homeless camps where more than 1.3 million people live eight months after the earthquake destroyed their homes, shelter officials said Saturday.

    The death toll from Friday afternoon’s storm stood at six people, with nearly 8,000 tents damaged or destroyed, according to a statement from the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration. The organization said it had distributed 5,000 tarps.

  30. Joe Earth says:

    I wonder if there could be a practical, commercial use for this “sea snot”.