Energy and Global Warming News for October 7th: China winning race for green jobs; West Virginia sues Obama, EPA over coal-mining regulations

China winning race for green jobs

China’s green jobs from solar and other cleantech industries are growing faster than the US and other countries, says Clean Edge annual report

China is prevailing in the global race for green jobs in sectors from solar panels to advanced lighting, and appears to be on an unstoppable upward path, an annual report by cleantech research firm Clean Edge said on Wednesday.

The Chinese government spent $34.6 billion last year to propel its low-carbon economy, more than any other nation and almost double what the U.S. invested. The country is now headquarters for six of the biggest renewable energy employers””up from three in 2008″”according to Clean Tech Job Trends 2009.

Ron Pernick, managing director of Clean Edge and a report author, called the economic giant’s “meteoric” surge “very striking.” But, he said, it is “not a fait accompli that China will dominate” across the entire industry.

There is “serious competition on the global playing field,” Pernick told SolveClimate News.

W.Va. Sues Obama, EPA Over Mining Coal Regulations

West Virginia, at the direction of Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, sued the Obama administration today to overturn new federal rules on mountaintop removal mining.

The lawsuit, filed by the state Department of Environmental Protection, accuses U.S. EPA of overstepping its authority and asks the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia to throw out the federal agency’s new guidelines for issuing Clean Water Act permits for coal mines.

“Over the past year and a half, we have been fighting President Obama’s administration’s attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia,” Manchin said today. “We are asking the court to reverse EPA’s actions before West Virginia’s economy and our mining community face further hardship.”

The suit has been filed at a politically sensitive time in West Virginia, as Manchin competes in a tighter-than-expected special Senate election where his ties to national Democrats have become a primary issue.

Greatest Warming Is in the North, but Biggest Impact on Life Is in the Tropics, New Research Shows

In recent decades documented biological changes in the far Northern Hemisphere have been attributed to global warming, changes from species extinctions to shifting geographic ranges. Such changes were expected because warming has been fastest in the northern temperate zone and the Arctic.

But new research published in the Oct. 7 edition of Nature adds to growing evidence that, even though the temperature increase has been smaller in the tropics, the impact of warming on life could be much greater there than in colder climates.

The study focused on ectothermic, or cold-blooded, organisms (those whose body temperature approximates the temperature of their surroundings). Researchers used nearly 500 million temperature readings from more than 3,000 stations around the world to chart temperature increases from 1961 through 2009, then examined the effect of those increases on metabolism.

“The expectation was that physiological changes would also be greatest in the north temperate-Arctic region, but when we ran the numbers that expectation was flipped on its head,” said lead author Michael Dillon, an assistant professor of zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming.

Hungary toxic sludge spill reaches Danube

Hungary’s toxic sludge spill, which has killed four people, reached the Danube river Thursday, threatening to contaminate the waterway’s entire ecosystem, officials told AFP.

“The red mud pollution has reached the Danube — its so-called Mosoni Branch, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the main branch of the river — this morning,” said Tibor Dobson, the local head of the disaster relief services.

“At 09:27 am (0727 GMT), the pH level stood at 9.3. The experts are still measuring the pollution levels and the pH levels are descending.”

Water authority official Jozsef Toth told AFP earlier that samples taken at the confluence of the Raba river and the Danube showed “alkalinity slightly above normal, with a pH value of 8.96-9.07,” against a normal tally of 8.0.

California’s clean-tech industry is booming but threatened

More money is being invested in alternative energy start-ups here than anywhere else in the world. But the state’s dominant position is threatened by Proposition 23 and competition from China.

The clean-tech industry is booming in California, with more money being invested in solar and other alternative energy start-ups than anywhere else in the world.

But the state’s dominant position is being threatened by competition from China and an upcoming ballot initiative that could undercut the industry’s growth, according to two new studies unveiled Wednesday.

So far, the state’s green-tech industry, which includes electric vehicles, eco-friendly buildings and solar energy projects, has provided California with a much-needed economic boost.

More than 40% of all clean-tech venture capital funding worldwide went to firms in California as investments in those companies more than tripled to $2.9 billion in the first half of 2010 compared with a year earlier, according to a study from nonprofit research group Next 10.

Agency Seeks to Tighten Rules for ‘Green’ Labeling

Manufacturers of products that claim to be environmentally friendly will face tighter rules on how they are advertised to consumers under changes proposed Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission.

The commission’s revised “Green Guides,” last updated in 1998, warn marketers against using labels that make broad claims that cannot be substantiated, like “eco-friendly.” Marketers must qualify their claims on the product packaging and limit them to a specific benefit, such as how much of the product is recycled.

“This is really about trying to cut through the confusion that consumers have when they are buying a product and that businesses have when they are selling a product,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the commission.

One of the most notable updates to the guides concerns the use of environmental seals and certifications seen on many packages. According to the Ecolabel Index, there are currently 349 seals and certifications for marketing green products worldwide, with 88 used in North America alone. While the commission does not require the use of a specific label, it considers them endorsements that should be substantiated.

New offshore drilling rules coming Thursday

The Obama administration is set to release new rules for offshore oil drillers as it prepares to lift a ban on deepwater drilling.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce the new rules, including some that address workplace safety, at a speech on Thursday.

The rules are likely to include many of the recommendations made in a report Salazar released in May, including requirements that rigs certify that they have working blowout preventers and standards for cementing wells. The well and blowout preventer failed in the massive BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Salazar has said new rules must be in place before the Interior Department lifts its temporary ban on exploratory drilling. The ban is set to expire Nov. 30, but officials have said they hope to end it early.

Your Next House Could Be Made out of Corn

Researchers from the University of Illinois have developed a proprietary corn-based composite board that can be used instead of particle board, plywood of fiberboard. Called CornBoard, the invention is not one of those still-in-development laboratory hothouse flowers. The product has been patented for use by a company called Corn Board Manufacturing, Inc. Aside from providing a new use for corn stover (corn husks and stalks), CornBoard could play a role in trapping excess CO2 that would otherwise be released when corn stover decomposes.

18 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for October 7th: China winning race for green jobs; West Virginia sues Obama, EPA over coal-mining regulations

  1. Chris Winter says:

    “West Virginia, at the direction of Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, sued the Obama administration today to overturn new federal rules on mountaintop removal mining.”

    I’m passing along some good news from Ken Ward Jr: Gov. Joe Manchin’s lawsuit trying to block EPA’s new restrictions on mountaintop removal will be heard by U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. The judge has a history of supporting citizen attempts to force polluters to clean up their act. More specifically, he’s ruled that WVDEP actions cannot preclude citizen lawsuits.

    Lots of good information in the link.

  2. Teemu says:

    In some fields USA could really improve, but competing in manufacturing of solar PVs and wind turbines can be hard. For them second rate quality is acceptable if the price is right, so higher domestic quality doesn’t give that big advantage. If your Chinese solar cell fails, that doesn’t hamper you as you can still tap the grid, it doesn’t make your home mold like bad quality Chinese drywall can do. If a wind turbine fails due to bad Chinese quality control, that doesn’t matter either since there is unlikely anybody to be around if it disintegrates in storm.

  3. Esop says:

    China has realized that CO2 is a huge problem and are now taking steps to reduce it, and at the same time boost their economy. They are no doubt on the fastrack to becoming the worlds’ supreme economic power. On the other hand, the US and to an increasing degree, western Europe are feverishly denying the problem, sticking their collective heads in the sand, and as a result risk being stuck with soon to be outdated 20th century technology. China will have a huge advantage in few years. When the West finally wakes up (when the arctic is ice free in the summertime sometime before 2020), they will have to purchase this technology from China at major cost.

  4. Leif says:

    Not only will we have to purchase technology from China, those products will be invented by Chinese so the patens will be in their name and the money will flow overseas instead if filling our coffers. The Chinese will also get bragging rights, as they already have, and will continue to have a much lower carbon footprint per person than the west and falling.

    The GOBP will kill this nation. The Corporations will just take their money to the Far East and leave America, (and the suck up politicians), to clean up on their own just as they have left so many third world countries when they sucked the economy dry and spied greener pastures. It is the one thing that Corporations do best and will continue to do as long as they can get away with it.

  5. Michael Tucker says:

    China STILL gets 70% of its energy FROM COAL and all that coal is converted to ash once it is burned. The fly ash “is China’s single biggest source of solid industrial waste”

    “China has severely underestimated the extent of the crisis. Not only are the quantities rising…but there is no control over the long-term pollution the ash creates.”

    It is very similar to the lack of control China also has on its air pollution.

  6. Michael T says:

    NOAA: U.S. Experienced Above Average Temperatures, Rainfall in September

    “The contiguous United States had its 14th warmest September on record, according to the latest NOAA State of the Climate report issued today. Average temperatures for September were 67.1 F, which is 1.7 F above the 1901-2000 average. Average precipitation in September was 2.69 inches, 0.21 inches above the 1901-2000 average.”

  7. paulm says:

    heres one meteorologist who is just dying to blame CC but can’t….

    Henry Margusity: “I’ve Never Seen Storms Like This!”

  8. mike roddy says:

    Don Blankenship of Massey already bought two West Virginia State Supreme Court judges. The governor and EPA are pretty easy in comparison.

  9. Michael Tucker says:

    “Federal (Canadian) service tracking gigantic ice island adrift in Arctic”

    The giant ice island created this summer has now become two islands and the Canadians have dropped a satellite beacon on at least one of them.

    The report also contains a wonderful NASA time lapse video showing this years Arctic ice melt.

  10. paulm says:

    Hansen tells it like it is….it’s fool’s gold
    “To achieve a safe level of carbon emissions, we cannot have more coal-fired plants, no more oilsands or shale oil. Of course, we need energy and this looks like a gold mine. But it’s fool’s gold.”

  11. Lewis C says:

    Europe, Asia call for urgent ‘binding’ climate deal
    (AFP) –

    BRUSSELS — Two months before a key UN climate conference, European and Asian leaders pledged Tuesday to seek an urgent, legally-binding deal on global warming that would include deep cuts in emissions.

    “They shared the goal of reaching urgently a fair, effective and comprehensive legally binding outcome,” said a final statement approved at the 46-nation Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Brussels.

    “Leaders agreed that deep cuts in global emissions are required, recognising the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below two degrees Celsius,” the text said.

  12. Lewis C says:

    Esop at 3 –

    “the US and to an increasing degree, western Europe are feverishly denying the problem, sticking their collective heads in the sand, and as a result risk being stuck with soon to be outdated 20th century technology.”

    While this may be true for the US, it certainly ain’t so for the EU.
    – the UK’s secretary of state for Energy & Climate, Chris Huhne, has just opened a marine windfarm that is reportedly of larger capacity than the rest of the world’s marine wind capacity put together;
    – the German government has lead the world in the establishment of feed-in-tarrifs, which has driven an exceptional boom in land-based wind and solar;
    – and the UK, France and Germany are together pushing for the overall EU target for 2020 to be raised unilaterally from 20% to 30% off 1990 – Being by far the most powerful states of the EU, and having the support of various smaller states, and having the pivotal economic argument of advancing a growth industry, they seem likely to get their way.

    On the diplomatic front, the ASEM meeting of EU leaders with those of with India, China and many other asian nations has, as posted above, just called for a fair, effective, comprehensive and legally-binding deal codified in a global climate treaty as a matter of urgency. – Note that the term ‘fair’ is emphasized as the first of the four adjectives used to describe the necessary deal –

    In sum, Europe is not only ramping up deployment and export capacity of non-fossil energies, it is also diverging away from its previous reflex support for the US policy of total inaction (until the BRIC nations drop their demands for an equitable treaty) towards an openly declared support of the demand for equity as a fundamental principle of the UN treaty of the atmospheric commons.

    This means that the US diplomacy on climate now enjoys the support of Harper of Canada, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and of course, Puerto Rico, (as well as some lesser oil-funded states).

    What’s the betting that by the time the GOP is next coherent enough to win the presidency, ex-president Obama will be blamed for letting the rest of the world stroll away with an uncatchable lead in affordable new energy technologies and their spin-offs ?



  13. Mark says:

    thanks lewis c for the positive information.

  14. Mark says:

    also, aren’t parts of europe to some extent dependent on Russia, for petroleum and natural gas? And Russia has shown, (Ukraine) that it is willing to cut off the supply when it wants.

  15. paulm says:

    Asia Sentinel – Climate Change Threatens Global Rice
    “Miracle rice” is no longer as miraculous as it was

    Climate change is cutting deeply into yields from so-called Miracle Rice, which is credited with keeping millions from starvation across Asia, according to Dr Shaobing Peng, a research scientist with the International Rice Research Institute in Los Banos, Philippines.

    Yields from IR8, which was developed in the 1960s by the IRRI, have dropped by about 15 percent, according to a research team led by Dr Peng whose study was printed in the current edition of Field Crops Research.

    IR8, when it was first developed, produced 9.5 to 10.5 metric tons of rice per hectare at a time when average global rice yields were only around 2 tons per hectare. However, according to Dr Peng’s paper, IR8 yields have dropped to about 7 tons per hectare, primarily because nights have become hotter.

  16. sid says:

    china is showing the rest of the world that how to reduce global warming and we must help them and start helping them.Every country should participate for this noble cause

  17. Sarah says:

    “…attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia …” Whose way of life?? Massey executives? Or the people downstream of soon-to-be-removed mountains? Maybe someone could consider the “way of life” of the rest of the planet.


  18. SID says:

    climate change is taking place , earth is more hot than before , something must be done soon