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Energy and Global Warming News for December 15th: U.S. exported $723 million more solar products than it imported in 2009; Is Indiana next clean energy jobs powerhouse? US vulnerable to rare earth shortages

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"Energy and Global Warming News for December 15th: U.S. exported $723 million more solar products than it imported in 2009; Is Indiana next clean energy jobs powerhouse? US vulnerable to rare earth shortages"

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US Exported $723 Million More Solar Power Products Than It Imported in 2009

Next time someone bemoans the fact that even all the renewable energy manufacturing is heading overseas, point this next report out: According to new industry analysis carried out by GTM Research for SEIA, the US is a net exporter of solar power products, to the tune of $723 million in 2009. Here are more of the key points from the US Solar Energy Trade Assessment 2010:

Though the US was a net importer of PV modules in 2009, importing some $232 million more than it exported, polysilicon exports dwarfed imports by $1.1 billion.

Even considering that the majority of solar PV modules in the US were assembled elsewhere, 74% of total value created from US solar power installations in 2009 came from US products. Most of this was due to costs of installation, legal and permitting fees, and system engineering and design.

In total, US solar power installations created $2.6 billion in direct value to the US economy in 2009.

You can read the entire original report at the link above, but here are some of the charts to give you a better idea of where US solar power products are going to and coming from.

US solar power trade balance chart

US solar power trade balance by nation chart

US solar power sector by type chart

U.S. Called Vulnerable to Rare Earth Shortages

HONG KONG “” The United States is too reliant on China for minerals crucial to new clean energy technologies, making the American economy vulnerable to shortages of materials needed for a range of green products “” from compact fluorescent light bulbs to electric cars to giant wind turbines.

So warns a detailed report to be released on Wednesday morning by the United States Energy Department. The report, which predicts that it could take 15 years to break American dependence on Chinese supplies, calls for the nation to increase research and expand diplomatic contacts to find alternative sources, and to develop ways to recycle the minerals or replace them with other materials.

At least 96 percent of the most crucial types of the so-called rare earth minerals are now produced in China, and Beijing has wielded various export controls to limit the minerals’ supply to other countries while favoring its own manufacturers that use them.

“The availability of a number of these materials is at risk due to their location, vulnerability to supply disruptions and lack of suitable substitutes,” the report says, which also mentions some concerns about a few other minerals imported from elsewhere, such as cobalt from the Congo.

The Energy Department report is being released the same morning that cabinet officials from China and the United States will meet in Washington to discuss economic and commercial issues.

While no detailed agenda has been released, the talks are expected to include American objections to China’s tightening restrictions on rare earth exports “” like a two-month halt this autumn on shipments to Japan, and a shorter-lived slowdown of exports to the United States and Europe.

And on Tuesday, China’s finance ministry announced on its Web site, and the official Xinhua news agency later reported as well, that China plans to increase its export taxes on some rare earths next year. The ministry did not say how much the taxes would increase. Although World Trade Organization rules ban export taxes, China has imposed them on rare earths for the last four years.

David Sandalow, the assistant secretary of energy for policy and international affairs, who oversaw preparation of the Energy Department report, said in a telephone interview that the timing of the report’s release and the American-China cabinet meetings was coincidental.

But the report reflects an emerging view within the American government that domestic sources of rare earths are needed, in addition to suppliers in many other countries, to ensure the viability of clean energy manufacturing in the United States.

“We can build a new industry and put our clean energy future on a sound footing, creating many new jobs in the process,” Mr. Sandalow said.

Still, the report presents a fairly gloomy assessment of the United States’ ability to wean itself from Chinese imports. For as long as the next 15 years, the supplies of at least five minerals that come almost exclusively from China will remain as vulnerable to disruption as they are absolutely vital to the manufacture of small yet powerful electric motors, energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and other clean energy technologies, the report said.

The five minerals are medium and heavy rare earth elements of which China mines an estimated 96 percent to 99.8 percent of the world’s supply: dysprosium, terbium, neodymium, europium and yttrium.

China also increasingly dominates the manufacture of clean energy technologies that require such minerals, including the production of million-dollar wind turbines. Chinese export restrictions have added up to $40 a pound to world prices, which makes a big difference particularly for some of the less expensive rare earths, like lanthanum, that sell for several dollars a pound in China.

That is among the reasons, along with cheap labor and extensive Chinese government subsidies, that many clean energy manufacturers have found it cheaper to shift production to China.

Mr. Sandalow said that wind turbine manufacturers were capable of building very large turbines without rare earths. But using rare earths could reduce the per megawatt cost of wind energy and improve its competitiveness through savings on other materials, like steel and copper….

China’s finance ministry, in announcing plans to raise export taxes on some rare earths, did not indicate which minerals might be affected.

Since 2006, China has imposed an export tax of 15 percent on light rare earths like lanthanum and cerium, which are needed for oil refining and glass manufacturing, and 25 percent on heavy rare earths like dysprosium and terbium.

China mines about 92 percent of the world’s light rare earths.

Dysprosium, which helps rare earth magnets preserve their magnetism at high temperatures, is mined almost exclusively in southern China and sells for $95 a pound in China and $135 a pound outside, including the export tax.

Dysprosium has emerged as the mineral most vital to clean energy industries yet most vulnerable to supply disruptions, the report said.

Dudley Kingsnorth, a prominent rare earth mining consultant in Perth, Australia, said he agreed that a dysprosium shortage was likely. He added that he expected that a rare earth shortage would slow the overall adoption of new rare earth technologies by clean energy industries for at least the next five years.

Indiana Ready to Bust Through as Next Green Jobs Powerhouse

Okay, so everybody knows about Hoosiers basketball and the Indy 500, but those two sports powerhouses might soon have to take a back seat to another Indiana superstar: solar power. The largest thin film solar plant in the U.S. is slated to be developed in Tipton, Indiana and it will create more than 1,000 permanent full time green jobs. The new factory, a project ofAbound Solar, is being built with the help of a $400 million loan guaranty from the Department of Energy.

New Green Jobs

Ironically, the announcement came down just a day after President Obama met with corporate leaders and asked them to step up their hiring. As it turns out part of the reason we’re still in the economic doldrums is “companies have stockpiled record amounts of cash” but have chosen not to add staff until – well, until we’re out of the doldrums, basically. Fortunately the Obama administration has recognized that a boost from the federal government is needed to create a more stable, less risky environment for hiring. The new plant is just one of hundreds of new green job ventures created by federal programs including, most notably, the Recovery Act.

1,000 Solar Energy Jobs for Indiana

The new solar plant will occupy an existing facility that was abandoned after the former owner went bankrupt, so it’s also a good example of howalternative energy can revitalize brownfields and other empty industrial facilities – as opposed to fossil fuel harvesting, which all too often destroys the space it occupies. Once up to speed, the plant will have the capacity to produce 640 megawatts’ worth of thin film photovoltaic cells, which Abound Solar describes as based on “next-generation, cadmium telluride” technology.

Alternative Energy in Indiana

Like other midwestern states, Indiana is starting to host new wind farms(which, by the way, can be sited on working farms, providing farmers with new lease income) and new federally funded solar installations. It’s also getting a share of the federal money turned down by Wisconsin and Ohio for high-speed rail projects along with other federal grants for green transportation. As for the iconic Indy 500, as part of this year’s festivities the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted an exhibit by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and next-generation battery manufacturer EnerDel, featuring the latest low-emission, sustainable energy automotive technology.

Big Renewable Incentives In Tax Bill, Despite “US” Chamber of Commerce

This summer the “US” Chamber of Commerce was found to be taking money from petrostates to ensure Republicans stand firm against renewable energy.

The Senate tax vote today will be the last chance for the Democrats to get the shreds of their clean energy bill through congress, because in January, the House too goes Republican. (The Senate is de facto Republican in that their 40-some votes prevent votes being held: it now takes 60 to get past them.)
But with the tax bill cloture vote (a vote to allow a vote) passed yesterday 83-15, green stimulus tax credits within the tax bill can now get an up or down vote.

Democrats held out for and got a chance to vote for solar and wind cashgrants of 30%, electric vehicle charger tax credits, tax credits for highly efficient distributed energy storage in the form of home heating that can store extra night time off-peak wind power, along with renewable energy incentives to encourage VC funding such as tax credits for developing offshore wind – up to $30 million.

Another piece of good renewable energy policy provides a major incentive for VC investment in renewables in the US. Amendment 4790 to the tax billwas proposed by Senator Feinstein in the Advanced Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2010.
Tax Credit for Developing Renewable Energy Storage on the grid – up to $30 million a year till 2020
Tax credits of up to $30 million a year would encourage investing in utility-scale renewable energy storage able to store more than a megawatt per hour.

“¢ Hydrogen storage,
“¢ Regenerative fuel cells,
“¢ Advanced batteries,
“¢ Superconducting magnetic energy storage,
“¢ Flywheels,
“¢ Thermal energy storage systems,
“¢ New hydroelectric pumped storage, (if pass environmental review)
“¢ Compressed air energy storage (CAES).
“¢ or any combination, or new technologies as they become certified.

Priority would be given to projects that provide the greatest increase in reliability or the greatest economic benefit, enable the greatest improvement in integration of renewable resources into the grid, or enable the greatest increase in efficiency in operation of the grid.

The Secretary of Energy (who is currently Nobel prizewinner Steven Chu) would be charged with selecting only those projects which have a reasonable expectation of commercial viability, representing a variety of technologies, applications, and project sizes.

The tax bill vote tomorrow is realistically the last chance, for several years, to get any renewable energy policy. Next year, the Republican House plans to disprove the realities of climate science, in order to win “game, set, match” for those who do not want the US to have energy security with a renewable economy.

Imagining a Renewable Utah

To cut human-generated carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent, an oft-quoted goal, the electricity sector might have to reduce its own emissions even more because other sectors like agriculture or aviation could find 80 percent impossible. Many states currently have quotas for reliance on renewable electricity, but the highest is California’s at just 33 percent.
Yet how much renewable energy can an electric grid tolerate?

A lot more than is generally assumed, according to a new reportcommissioned by an environmental group, HEAL Utah.Yet the group takes a different tack from that of most other organizations that envision a low-carbon future; it wants to forswear both nuclear power and coal-fired power with carbon dioxide capture.

Utah has no renewable energy quota. But the report, released on Tuesday, proposes a system that would be nearly entirely based on solar, wind and geothermal power and the mass deployment of two technologies that are still in their infancy: compressed air energy storage, and a smart grid that takes control of customers’ appliances.

The report was prepared by Arjun Makhijani, the head of a Washington-based anti-nuclear group, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Dr. Makhijani, who has a Ph.D. in nuclear fusion, pointed out that one of the main costs of renewable energy is the amount that is “spilled,” or produced from intermittent sources at a moment when there is no use for it.

Some utilities in the United States and elsewhere are experimenting with large-scale battery storage, but the only two mass storage technologies now available are pumped hydro and compressed air, he said. His report envisions an energy system in which the only fossil fuel is natural gas, used in conjunction with compressed air systems. A utility digs a cavern underground and, when surplus electricity is available, uses it to pump the cavern full of air at high pressure.

When renewable energy is not available, the air is tapped and mixed with a small amount of natural gas and then run through a gas turbine to make electricity. The technology is similar to existing gas-fired generators, except that in a conventional gas generator, some of the energy from burning gas is used to compress air to make the process more efficient. In Dr. Makhijani’s vision, the wind blowing at off hours accomplishes some of the work ordinarily done by gas.

The storage proposal poses a variety of challenges. One is that what it stores is energy, but not always renewable energy. The one commercial compressed air storage project now in service, in Alabama, stores energy that is made late at night by burning coal. One reason is that the goal in that case is not to reduce carbon dioxide emissions but to save money: off-peak coal power is very cheap.

The study is based largely on costs that are estimated or projected and thus could be inaccurate. Still, it reaches some noteworthy conclusions.

One is that the concept of peak demand may have to change. Today, electric systems are designed to cope with peak demand, the hours when demand is highest, usually in the summer. But if a great deal of solar power is installed, summer demand may not be as challenging as the hours when demand is high and renewable supply is low “” for example, in the dead of winter, when it could be quite cold but the wind has died down, Dr. Makhijani suggests.

In some states, like California, companies are exploring whether they can store large amounts of energy as heat by using the sun to heat molten salt. When the sun goes down, the salt can be used to make steam that is converted to electricity. But in a Utah winter, “molten salt doesn’t help you a lot,” Dr. Makhijani said, because there is not enough at any given hour to make much of a surplus.

Aside from that that challenge, far more adaptation would be needed in the grid beyond the notion of smart meters, which could manage functions like changing the price of energy at different times of day and informing homeowners instantaneously about their consumption and their energy spending.

“We need a system in which the load is responding to the state of generation,” Dr. Makhijani said. For example, in the morning a residential customer could put soap in the dishwasher, push a button indicating that the machine is ready and leave for work. When the grid had excess electricity, it would turn on the dishwasher. Today, utilities offer supply to meet demand, but in the future, demand will partly tailor itself to supply, Dr. Makhijani said.

Microchips Help Deter Amazon Deforestation

Deforestation is a big problem in the Amazon rain forest, the largest such forest in the world, and now technology is being used to help fight the issue. Amazonian trees are being implanted with microchips in order to prevent illegal logging.

Each chip contains a variety of useful information, including the location and size of the tree. This information gives those who buy the wood the knowledge of where it came from and who cut it down. With this information buyers can determine whether or not the tree was cut down by an illegal logging operation. The hope is that thetechnology will help deter such activity.

“People talk a lot these days about wood coming from sustainable forestry practices–this is a system that can prove it,” forestry engineer Paulo Borges told Reuters

Dutch carbon capture facility to provide food for plants

A plan to enhance crop growth in greenhouses outside Rotterdam, by pumping in waste CO2 from a nearby bioethanol plant, has been backed with a ‚¬5m (£4.2m) EU grant.

Farmers in the Zuidplaspolder area currently generate their own CO2 to feed into the greenhouses using cogeneration systems or gas-fired boilers, that also help heat the facilities.

But supporters of the carbon capture project predict that installing a pipeline, linking the Abengoa Bioenergy Netherlands plant in the harbour area of Rotterdam to a 550 hectare swathe of agricultural land in the Zuidplaspolder, should prevent around 25 million cubic metres of natural gas being burnt every year – saving 45,000 tons of CO2.

The European Commission had to review its tight competition regulations to determine whether it was able to support the project, proposed by Bio Supply CV, part of the Organic CO2 for the Assimilation of Plants (OCAP) group.
But the commission concluded this week that the aid would not distort markets and, in addition, the emissions savings would not be achieved without the EU funding – given that private investors were unlikely to back a project based on such cutting-edge technology.

Commission vice president in charge of competition policy, Joaqu­n Almunia, said: “The Dutch aid favours the recycling of waste CO2 from local industry without unduly distorting competition. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases the level of environmentalprotection in the EU.”

Under the terms of the funding, the money is conditional on Bio Supply CV granting third parties access to the pipelines, raising the prospect of a carbon capture and storage hub being developed near Rotterdam

Chris Huhne admits Britain’s green bank may be scaled back

The government’s environmental bank looks likely to be scaled back and may begin life as a fund, jeopardising billions of pounds of badly needed loans to green technology. The green investment bank (GIB) was devised by George Osborne, the chancellor, when he was in opposition. He believed that it was crucial to the development of green energy projects such as clean coal plants and offshore windfarms in Britain.

Now the cabinet minister who is in charge of seeing it come to fruition and is a devoted ambassador for the idea of a fully functioning bank has floated the possibility of staggering its introduction. This would see it initially set up as a more limited fund unable to raise finance by issuing “green bonds” to back projects.

Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, appears to concede that the Treasury’s concern that the liabilities taken on by a GIB would be added to the government’s budget book. He suggests instead that the new institution could morph into a bank able to raise finance over time as Britain’s deficit is reduced. In an interview with the Guardian, he insisted that the government remained committed to setting up a bank and that setting up a fund initially was only one option. But the prospect of a delay on fully implementing this key green policy will anger environmentalists.

Huge task

“Obviously, if we were to turn around and have the GIB borrowing vast amounts of money tomorrow I can understand that managers of the national debt would be a little alarmed,” he said. “I am absolutely at one with the Treasury on the need to make sure our fiscal credibility is completely re-established. The key issue is whether or not having established our fiscal credibility, what then happens?

“There are phasing issues, there are transition issues. What is the point at which maybe it begins as a fund and later is a bank, whatever. Let there be no doubt that the first overwhelming priority of the government has to be to get the deficit down.”

Auditor Ernst & Young has said that, without a bank, only about a fifth of the £450bn investment needed for Britain to meet its carbon emissions targets over the next 15 years would be made.

Tomorrow Huhne will announce other measures which, he says, will amount to the biggest change to the electricity market since privatisation in the 1980s. Despite its apparent rethink on the GIB, the government hopes the measures will channel private sector investment into renewables in other ways. Huhne’s plan will also break a key Conservative pre-election pledge on cleaning up coal plants.

In a key note speech to environmentalists in October last year, David Cameron repeated his party’s pledge to introduce rules requiring new power stations to be as clean as a modern gas plant. This would have required energy companies to fit experimental equipment, which captures and stores carbon emissions (CCS), to about two-thirds of their new coal plants. But the policies to be unveiled are expected to recommend that CCS be fitted to only one-third of coal plants.
Huhne declined to comment on the specifics, but was much more effusive about Tesco, particularly when it comes to the environment. Tomorrow, Huhne will, by his own admission (albeit with tongue firmly in cheek), ape Britain’s biggest supermarket when he promises that his plan will make Britain “greener for less”. Huhne will promise that electricity bills will be lower and power plants twice as green as would be the case under the existing energy policies inherited from the previous government. “[It will be] greener for less, more for less,” he said. Told that it sounded a bit like a Tesco promotion, he said: “I am very happy to be the Tesco of the energy industry.” With the coalition government committed to both slashing the deficit and being the “greenest ever”, it’s a fitting slogan.

The power sector accounts for about a third of Britain’s carbon emissions, so cleaning it up is crucial for the country to meet its climate change targets. The task is huge – and it won’t come cheap, whether it is done with Tesco-style efficiency or not. Old coal and nuclear plants are being closed and must be replaced. The UK’s electricity grids will have to be massively upgraded to cope with more intermittent supplies of electricity from wind farms. New flexible gas plants are needed in reserve to come online when the wind does not blow enough. Overall electricity demand is set to increase too, as electric vehicles become more common.

Ofgem, the energy regulator, estimates that £200bn of investment is required in new energy technology over the next decade alone, about double the normal rate of investment. But the existing market regime will not do the job. Some of the technologies are relatively new and untested on a large scale, making them risky for investors. Electricity prices are also volatile, which means the return on huge upfront investments is uncertain.
Huhne’s plan is aimed at incentivising investment in cleaner ways of generating electricity. For example a carbon floor price – effectively a tax on carbon emissions – will be introduced which should make coal and gas plants more expensive to operate and renewables more competitive. Large offshore wind farms will earn a guaranteed premium above the market rate for all or some of the electricity they sell. Standby gas plants will also receive fixed payments in return for being available.

CLEAN ENERGY SURGES IN CENTRAL AMERICA

Although Central America has limited conventional energy resources and large numbers of rural poor still not connected to the grid, rising energy demand is, surprisingly, making the region less reliant on oil imports. Instead, it is turning to renewables.

According to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), a United Nations agency tasked with promoting regional economic and social development, 61% of the electricity generated in the region came from clean sources last year. The nation-by-nation breakdown of renewable use is impressive: Costa Rica (95.1%), El Salvador (56.8%), Panama (56.6%), Guatemala (53.2%), Honduras (45.5%) and Nicaragua (29.9%).

And there’s more to come. In power-hungry Nicaragua, a country that has struggled with supply problems in the past, wind power is helping provide energy security; volcano-dotted Guatemala is offering tax breaks to spawn more geothermal power plants; Honduras is currently building the region’s largest wind farm; and Costa Rica, which aims to be 100% renewable, is stepping up is courtship of wind farm developers.

Spain will likely be a big beneficiary of Central America’s move toward renewable energy. Spanish companies and investors are pursuing projects throughout the region. And last month, the Costa Rican government sent a delegation to the European country to meet with green industry leaders.

Some experts estimate that Costa Rica alone has the potential to generate as much as 31,000 megawatts of renewable-based energy.

‹ Peter Gleick on ‘Climate Fraud and Hypocrisy’

Foxgate: Leaked email reveals Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science ›

50 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for December 15th: U.S. exported $723 million more solar products than it imported in 2009; Is Indiana next clean energy jobs powerhouse? US vulnerable to rare earth shortages

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    ***
    Florida shivers; Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern is back

    talk I attended yesterday was called, “Hot Arctic-Cold Continents: Hemispheric Impacts of Arctic Change.” The talk was given by Dr. Jim Overland of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, one of the world’s experts on Arctic weather and climate (I spent many long months flying in the Arctic with him during the three Arctic field programs I participated in during the late 1980s.) Dr. Overland discussed the remarkable winter of 2009 – 2010, which brought record snowstorms to Europe and the U.S. East Coast, along with the coldest temperatures in 25 years, but also brought the warmest winter on record to Canada and much of the Arctic. He demonstrated that the Arctic is normally dominated by low pressure in winter, and a “Polar Vortex” of counter-clockwise circulating winds develops surrounding the North Pole. However, during the winter of 2009-2010, high pressure replaced low pressure over the Arctic, and the Polar Vortex weakened and even reversed at times, with a clockwise flow of air replacing the usual counter-clockwise flow of air around the pole. This unusual flow pattern allowed cold air to spill southwards and be replaced by warm air moving poleward. This pattern is kind of like leaving the refrigerator door ajar–the refrigerator warms up, but all of the cold air spills out into the house.

    However, the strongly negative NAO is back again this winter. High pressure has replaced low pressure over the North Pole, and according to NOAA, the NAO index during November 2010 was the second lowest since 1950. This strongly negative NAO has continued into December, and we are on course to have a top-five most extreme December NAO. Cold air is once again spilling southwards into the Eastern U.S. And Europe, bringing record cold and fierce snowstorms. At the same time, warm air is flowing into the Arctic to replace the cold air spilling south–temperatures averaged more than 10°C (18°F) above average over much of Greenland so far this month. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model predicts that the Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern will continue for the next two weeks. However, the coldest air has sloshed over into Europe and Asia, and North America will see relatively seasonable temperatures the next two weeks.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1710

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    Snow strands hundreds in Ontario, while rain washes out roads in N.B.

    SARNIA, Ont. – Military and emergency services personnel are on the ground and in the air rescuing stranded motorists from their vehicles in southwestern Ontario where snow squalls have crippled traffic and sparked a state of emergency.

    Defence Minister Peter MacKay said five military helicopters were on the scene. “We are responding with everything we can,” he said in Ottawa. A CC-130 Hercules fixed wing aircraft and Griffon helicopters have been dispatched to the scene.

    Windsor Star photographer Dan Janisse described the sight of “two choppers picking up stranded motorists” as a an “unreal scene” of that region of Ontario Tuesday. Meanwhile the Star’s Trevor Wilhelm described “all kinds of abandoned vehicles. Tractors detached from trailers … Cars in ditches covered in snow.”

    The Joint Emergency Operations Centre was warning people to stay away from coastal areas and to look out for downed power lines.

    About 75,000 people are affected by power outages across the province, down from some 93,000 overnight, and residents at an assisted living centre were evacuated after a roof collapse. There were no reports of injury. In Quebec, flooding caused by heavy rains in the Gaspesie region made some roads impassable

    Read more: http://www.canada.com/Snow+strands+hundreds+Ontario+while+rain+washes+roads/3976631/story.html

    With more arctic ice lose, this is the new normal and it will get more worse each year.

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    They say it was similar to a micro burst or even a tornado.

    Trampolines and swing sets actually left people’s yards. It certainly did some damage when it hit Meridian just before noon today. The damage was contained to two subdivisions near Linder “It sounded like an airplane just sitting taking off in our backyard, it was loud and in it was gone in 30 seconds,” said Jeff Smith, whose backyard was damaged.

    Rhonda Butz wasn’t home when it hit, so imagine her surprise when she looked out of her window. “The first thing I noticed was the fence. Then, after a while I was like, there’s something missing back there and I noticed the trampoline was gone,” said Butz.

    Her trampoline hand been tossed hundreds of feet, and blown up and over her neighbor’s yard.

    “I’ve never seen anything like that out here,” said Smith.

    The wind threw around playground equipment and big toys like they were nothing. The kids’ swingset is all mangled up even though it was anchored in almost two feet in the ground. “It wasn’t cemented, but it was buried and it was packed in. We’ve had kids playing on it for years,” said Smith.

    The Boise National Weather Service issued a wind advisory. “It’s a strong enough wind gust locally that you can to knock down fences. That happens frequently with wind gusts in the 40 to 50 mile an hour range,” said John Jannuzzi, meteorologist with the Boise National Weather Service.

    “I don’t think the wind moved it, it had to be a tornado as heavy as that was,” said Butz. And even though it wasn’t a tornado it was more than these folks ever want to see again. http://www.fox12idaho.com/Global/story.asp?S=13674778

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    N.B. flood waters still rising

    Premier David Alward is preparing to tour areas of southwestern New Brunswick on Wednesday that have been hit hard by flooding in recent days. Alward updated the legislative assembly on Wednesday morning about the flooding that has hit many areas in the southern and western parts of the province.

    He also said the provincial government is extending various forms of relief to people who were affected by the rising waters. “Last week’s storm surges and this week’s heavy rainfall have impacted a great many people in our province. Recovery can be a long and difficult process. But we are here to help,” Alward told the legislative assembly.

    However, Gamble said the rain turned to freezing rain at about 4 a.m. and that has created dangerous driving conditions. The heavy rains that pelted the province in the last 48 hours forced NB Power to open the gates of the Mactaquac dam on the St. John River.

    That decision means more water will be heading downstream likely bringing more flooding.
    Wilmot said the hardest hit area of the province has been in Charlotte County. Environment Canada said 174 mm of rain fell in St. Stephen.

    Article Comment: “Canada, as one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas polluters in the world, is happy to pass on the climate change costs to the people of New Brunswick so we can make some quick dollars here in Alberta.

    We will pump out another 540,000,000 million tons of greenhouse gasses in Canada next year, or three times as much per person as a Chinese citizen. Better learn how to swim.”

    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/12/15/nb-fredericton-flooding-536.html

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    Chandio’s province of Sindh was one of the areas worst hit when monsoon rains ravaged a fifth of Pakistan in July and August, affecting 21 million people and consuming entire villages in the country’s worst natural disaster.
    Large areas are still submerged under flood waters

    Allah Rakhio had a shop. But he returned to find a pile of bricks. And as at home, the looters had been.
    “I managed to get a bag of rice from my shop. It wasn’t stolen because it was full of insects. It is the only thing at the moment to eat.”

    With no job in sight, he spends each day in search of food. The onset of winter means temperatures can drop to five degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) at night.
    “It’s becoming unbearable as we have just one room left with broken walls, which doesn’t exactly give us a cosier sleep,” he said.
    UNHCR told AFP by email that the number of families in refugee camps had “dramatically decreased… in recent weeks” with more people returning home. “Time and again we get promises from public representatives that help is on the way and will arrive soon, but every time it proves to be a farce.”
    Valerie Amos, the UN emergency relief coordinator, has said it could take another six to seven months before all the flood water recedes. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jXdDTlYpqttky6VG6SOBpAx1oHfA?docId=CNG.392d1ff158beced710b2f76ae920bf97.4b1

    Maybe next year another flooding?

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    Optimistic, good news – take action to prevent the melt off of the remaining ice!

    Arctic icecap safe from runaway melting: study

    There is no “tipping point” beyond which climate change will inevitably push the Arctic ice cap into terminal melt off, according to a study released Wednesday.
    The northern polar cap has shrunk between 15 and 20 percent over the last 30 years, unleashing concern that on current trends — with regional temperature increases twice or triple the global average — it could disappear entirely during the summer months by century’s end.
    One of the factors in this calculation is a so-called positive feedback, in which a reduced area of floating ice helps to stoke global warming. http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-arctic-icecap-safe-runaway.html

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Ellesmere Island National Park in Canada. Ohio State University researchers and their colleagues have discovered the remains of a mummified forest that lived on the island 2 to 8 million years ago, when the Arctic was cooling. The remains could offer clues to how today’s Arctic will respond to global warming.

    They also suspect that many more mummified forests could emerge across North America as Arctic ice continues to melt. As the wood is exposed and begins to rot, it could release significant amounts of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — and actually boost global warming.

    The trees were at least 75 years old when they died, but spindly, with very narrow growth rings and under-sized leaves that suggest they were suffering a great deal of stress when they were alive.
    “These trees lived at a particularly rough time in the Arctic,” Barker explained. “Ellesmere Island was quickly changing from a warm deciduous forest environment to an evergreen environment, on its way to the barren scrub we see today. The trees would have had to endure half of the year in darkness and in a cooling climate. That’s why the growth rings show that they grew so little, and so slowly.”

    Now that the forest is exposed, it’s begun to rot, which means that it’s releasing carbon into the atmosphere, where it can contribute to global warming.

    “I want to be clear — the carbon contained in the small deposit we’ve been studying is trivial compared to what you produce when you drive your car,” he said. “But if you look at this find in the context of the whole Arctic, then that is a different issue. I would expect other isolated deposits to be exposed as the ice melts, and all that biomass is eventually going to return to carbon dioxide if it’s exposed to the air.”
    “It’s a big country, and unless people decide to walk all across the Canadian Arctic, we won’t know how many deposits are out there,” he added.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-ancient-forest-emerges-mummified-arctic.html

  8. The Bobs says:

    The Mountain Pass rare earth mine on the California/Nevada border is scheduled to reopen next year. This is a very large deposit that can supply nearly all of the domestic needs.

    It was the worlds largest producer for decades before the Chinese undercut prices and drove every other producer out of business. Now that the Chinese deposits are becoming depleted, their dominance will end.

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    BP Sued by Obama Administration Over Worst Oil Spill

    The Obama administration sued units of BP Plc and four other companies, saying they violated environmental laws in the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, according to a court filing.

    The lawsuit, filed today in federal court in New Orleans, is the first brought by the U.S. over the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April. The Justice Department’s civil investigation is continuing, as is a probe of potential criminal violations.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-15/bp-sued-in-new-orleans-for-damages-by-u-s-over-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill.html

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    Scientists See the Southwest as First Major U.S. Climate Change Victim
    A 60-year drought that scorched the Southwest during the 12th century may be a harbinger of things to come as greenhouse gases warm the Earth, according to research published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/12/14/14climatewire-scientists-see-the-southwest-as-first-major-78170.html

    Climate change: The prospects for polar bears
    Is the polar bear doomed to extinction? Maybe not, according to models of the future extent of Arctic sea ice if greenhouse-gas emissions are curbed. The outlook depends on the ability of policy-makers to act. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v468/n7326/full/468905a.html

  11. catman306 says:

    “The five minerals are medium and heavy rare earth elements of which China mines an estimated 96 percent to 99.8 percent of the world’s supply: dysprosium, terbium, neodymium, europium and yttrium.”

    Tom Leher will help you learn to pronounce these, and the other, chemical elements. A classic humorous song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYW50F42ss8

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    Japan will seek wider climate pact than Kyoto
    Japan will continue to push for a wider framework than the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012 and obliges almost 40 rich countries to cut emissions or face penalties.

    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-change/stories/japan-will-seek-wider-climate-pact-than-kyoto

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    MORE THAN 60,000 FIRMS IN U.S. BUSINESS GROUPS URGE CONGRESS TO SUPPORT EPA, CAUTION THAT CLEAN AIR ACT RULE DELAYS COULD DRIVE UP BUSINESS COSTS
    Firms Challenge the Notion That D.C.-Based Trade Lobbying Organizations Speak for All U.S. Businesses; Six-Month Delay in EPA Rules Will Mean Lost Workdays, Lower Productivity From Workers.
    WASHINGTON, D.C.///December 15, 2010///Today, the EPA and the Clean Air Act got a huge boost from large and small U.S. companies, when over 60,000 firms represented by 14 business organizations told Congress to keep the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Clean Air Act strong.
    At the same time, the groups expressed concerned that the EPA’s half-year delay of pending ozone (smog) rules will be costly to U.S. companies. The delay could result in higher health costs due to increased employee sick-day absenteeism and related medical costs borne entirely or partially by small and large U.S. companies.
    The groups’ joint letter http://www.abce.us/ reads in part as follows: “… (S)mall business owners support some of the key strategies needed to reduce pollution and transition to a clean energy economy. A recent national poll of small business owners conducted by Small Business Majority … found that 61 percent of respondents agree that moving the country to clean energy is a way to restart the economy and make their businesses more competitive in the global economy, and that 50 percent support comprehensive clean energy and climate policy … Larger businesses also support EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act and understand that it has spurred innovation and economic value for the U.S.”
    http://www.fresh-energy.org/pdfs/121510_businesses.pdf

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    WikiLeaks cables: BP suffered blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform
    Embassy cables reveal energy firm ‘fortunate’ to have evacuated workers safely after blast similar to Deepwater Horizon disaster http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/15/wikileaks-bp-azerbaijan-gulf-spill

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    Autism Research: Breakthrough Discovery on the Causes of Autism

    The causes of mitochondrial dysfunction are well known, specifically as it relates to metabolism and the brain, and I have documented them in my books “UtraMetabolism” and “The UltraMind Solution.” They include environmental toxins (iv) — mercury, lead and persistent organic pollutants(v) — latent infections, gluten and allergens (which trigger inflammation) sugar and processed foods,(vi) a nutrient-depleted diet(vii) and nutritional deficiencies.(viii) These are all potentially treatable and reversible causes of mitochondrial dysfunction that have been clearly documented.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/autism-research-discovery_b_794967.html

    Mercury is found in many rocks including coal. When coal is burned, mercury is released into the environment. Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air in the United States, accounting for over 50 percent of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions (Source: 2005 National Emissions Inventory). EPA has estimated that about one quarter of U.S. emissions from coal-burning power plants are deposited within the contiguous U.S. and the remainder enters the global cycle. Burning hazardous wastes, producing chlorine, breaking mercury products, and spilling mercury, as well as the improper treatment and disposal of products or wastes containing mercury, can also release it into the environment. Current estimates are that less than half of all mercury deposition within the U.S. comes from U.S. sources. More information.
    http://www.epa.gov/hg/about.htm

  16. Mike says:

    This story is not about energy conservation directly, but if you think about the cost of heating and cooling office space, there is a positive implication.

    Office walls are closing in on corporate workers

    Businesses used to provide 500 to 700 square feet of work space per employee, but the average is down to 200 square feet — and shrinking. The recession and an emphasis on teamwork accelerated the trend, and younger staffers prefer less.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/la-fi-office-space-20101215,0,1254312.story

  17. Prokaryotes says:

    Regarding Mercury

    FDA reconsidering safety of mercury fillings, but panel may be rigged from the start
    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030741_mercury_fillings_FDA.html

    Germany bans cultivation of GM corn

    The German government has banned the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) corn, calling it “a danger to the environment.”

    The cultivation of all other GM crops is already banned in Germany. The variety in question, known as MON 810, produces a pesticide inside its tissues to repel insects such as larvae of the corn borer moth. Such corn is also known as Bt corn, after the Bacillus thuringiensis bacterium that the toxin-producing genes come from.

    MON 810 was approved for cultivation by the European Union in 1998, but E.U. law allows individual countries to impose their own bans. Such bans have since been implemented by Austria, France, Greece, Hungary and Luxemburg. According to German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, Germany will now join their ranks.

    The move was welcomed by environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Germany. Greenpeace spokesperson Stephanie Towe said that the decision is based on solid scientific evidence of environmental harm and should have been made long ago.

    Critics say that GM crops can damage wildlife, spread their genetic material to wild relatives, and produce health problems in humans.

    “As an example, it is now being discovered that pollen from genetically modified corn can kill monarch butterflies,” writes Ron Garner in his book Conscious Health.

    “There is long-term concern that pollen from bio-engineered crops will spread and kill beneficial insects as well as create strains of superweeds that are totally-resistant to pesticides,” he writes. “Genetic engineering is changing the composition of foods, and most North American consumers are uninformed on the issue.”

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030733_Germany_GMOs.html

  18. Mike says:

    Three articles from Technology Review:

    (1)
    Piecemeal Energy Policy Will Still cut Greenhouse Emissions

    But the lack of comprehensive legislation could prevent international agreements needed to limit global warming.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010, By Kevin Bullis

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/26903/

    (2)
    Dim Prospects for Energy R&D Funding

    As Congress prepares to vote on a comprehensive spending bill, U.S. energy projects such as ARPA-E hang in the balance.

    Friday, December 10, 2010, By Kevin Bullis

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/26885/

    (3)
    More Efficient Jet Engine Gets in Gear

    Airbus will adopt a type of jet engine intended to improve fuel efficiency.

    Monday, December 13, 2010, By Duncan Graham-Rowe

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/26895/

  19. Biff says:

    Sorry, can I just ask a question here? Who the hell is this Prokaryotes guy?? I am a loyal reader of Joe’s blog although I often just skim articles as I have a lot of other reading to do. I like to peruse the comments as the readership of Climate Progress is a pretty savvy bunch of individuals and often cast further light on the topic at hand via the comments.

    The last few months I’ve noticed this clown dominate the comments section with rubbish that is usually completely unrelated to the topic, as is the case today. Can this bloke be banned or told to pull his head in??

    Sorry to be negative but it’s annoying having to wade through weather reports and mummified forests to actually find comments on rare earths.

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    New Study Forecasts Rising Sea Level Impacts on New York

    Not long ago, NRDC received a call from a reporter wanting to know what New York will look like in 50 years. She wasn’t talking about the skyline or whether cars will be obsolete; she wanted to know how the city’s 578-mile coast would be affected once climate change has forced sea levels to rise. Thanks to a new report from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, we now have a better idea.

    In 2007, the State Legislature directed DEC to study the state’s vulnerability to sea level rise and coastal flooding, and the Sea Level Rise Task Force was born. The study’s results, released last month, are the culmination of years of work by about 100 scientists, policy experts, and other stakeholders charged with addressing how rising seas will affect our communities, natural resources, and infrastructure. The report – the first of its kind in the state – widens the scope of what sea level rise means for New York, and provides fourteen specific recommendations for how we might adapt.

    Its bottom line is that every coastal community in New York will be affected by rising sea levels, including those along the 315-mile Hudson River, the Long Island Sound, and the Atlantic Coast. If you couple that with the fact that more than 60 percent of New Yorkers live in homes on or near a waterfront, the implications for New York’s coastal communities are profound.

    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kknowlton/new_study_forecasts_rising_sea.html

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    California to adopt ‘cap and trade’ to combat climate change

    Taking the lead where Washington has wavered, California on Thursday is expected to adopt the nation’s most ambitious plan yet to curb global warming.
    The California Air Resources Board is all but certain to vote to approve comprehensive “cap and trade” regulations designed to cut greenhouse gases. The regulations would impose limits, or “caps,” on emissions from large industrial polluters through permits, or allowances, that could be traded on a market.
    California’s plans to forge ahead are in sharp contrast to the lack of action from Washington, where Congress has rejected cap and trade at the national level. While the state’s plans have drawn criticism from affected industries, the cap-and-trade program is expected to be a boon for Silicon Valley’s burgeoning cleantech economy.
    “We are the innovators when it comes to figuring out how to reduce carbon,” said Bob Hines, energy director of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “We’re really excited. It sends the market signal we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s going to lead to further job creation.”
    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_16868556?nclick_check=1

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    Heavy rains continue as Colombia seeks to aid flood victims
    Weeks of rain has caused flooding that has claimed more than 250 lives and affected more than 1.9 million people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is to offer advice on how to repair a breached levee.

    Reporting from Bogota, Colombia — Even as the government struggled to get emergency relief to thousands of flood victims, torrential rains continued to batter northern Colombia on Wednesday, adding to the misery caused by one of the worst natural disasters in this nation’s modern history.

    Weeks of rainfall — and the breach of an important canal levee — has caused flooding that has killed 257 people and affected more than 1.9 million residents, or nearly 5% of the population. An exact count of those left homeless by water damage in several parts of Colombia was unavailable, but the total is believed to be in the tens of thousands.

    The collapsed levee along the Dique Canal in northern Atlantico state remained breached Wednesday, and water continued to deluge surrounding towns and farmland. In one town alone, Campo de la Cruz, 18,000 residents have been left homeless. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-colombia-flooding-20101216,0,2433007.story

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    Kennecott to curb coal burning in Salt Lake valley

    AP) MAGNA, Utah – Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. said Wednesday it will improve air quality in by switching Salt Lake valley’s only coal-fired power plant to burn mostly natural gas. http://www.whec.com/article/stories/S1884941.shtml?cat=588

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    Rising sea levels will swamp parts of Sydney

    A number of Sydney suburbs will be inundated regularly because of climate change-driven sea-level rises, threatening homes and community infrastructure worth billion of dollars by the end of the century, new projections show.

    In the first detailed attempt to study the impacts of sea-level rises on low-lying coastal areas and help local government planning, the government has released high-resolution maps that show the areas in Sydney and the central coast most under threat from sea-level rises.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/rising-sea-levels-will-swamp-parts-of-sydney-20101215-18yak.html

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    South-east Asia will be hardest hit by climate change, ONA predicts

    AUSTRALIA’S top intelligence agency believes south-east Asia will be the region worst affected by climate change by 2030, with decreased water flows from the Himalayan glaciers triggering a ”cascade of economic, social and political consequences”.

    The dire outlook was provided by the deputy director of the Office of National Assessments, Heather Smith, in a confidential discussion on the national security implications of climate change with US embassy officials.

    ”South-east Asia because of political turmoil, a growing youth demographic and a general increase in population [will be] worst affected,” a US government cable reporting the briefing noted.

    Advertisement: Story continues below
    ”South-east Asia faces wild monsoons variations, with effects on littoral infrastructure, agriculture, marine currents and fish stocks. Coastal cities to be hit by subsidence and rising sea levels.”

    The ONA, which assesses information provided by Australia’s other intelligence agencies and advises the Prime Minister, predicted increased conflict in the Kashmir region because of a decrease in flows into the River Indus.

    ”Internal migrations in multi-ethnic countries may cause more problems than cross-border migration,” the cable said. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/southeast-asia-will-be-hardest-hit-by-climate-change-ona-predicts-20101216-18yuc.html

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Scaled-down green investment bank is a disaster
    So, Chris Huhne has lost his battle with George Osborne over funding. It’s not just his political credibility that suffers

    Chris Huhne’s admission that the green investment bank is likely to be no more than a “green bonds” fund not only jeopardises the future of Britain’s renewable energy industry and climate change targets, it will also finally lay to rest any pretence that this will be “the greenest government ever”. The announcement will also be a disaster for jobs, meaning that whether the cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell likes it or not, a plan B to take account of an economic downturn now becomes essential.

    According to the report of Green Investment Bank Commission published in June, the financial commitment required for the UK to meet its renewable energy and climate change targets is unprecedented: levels of investment would need to rise to £550bn between now and 2020. By way of comparison, back in the 1990s, £11bn was invested in Britain’s “dash for gas”, which was considered a massive investment at the time.

    The commission identified a number of market failures and barriers which meant that investing in a low carbon infrastructure and meeting the UK’s targets under the Climate Change Act 2008 could not be achieved without considerable state intervention. It argued strongly that an act of parliament should be used to establish a green investment bank, which would open up investment by better managing risk. Scaling back the bank to the point proposed by Huhne not only threatens the transition to a low carbon economy, it also makes it very difficult for Britain’s to meet its demanding climate change targets.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/dec/15/green-investment-bank-chris-huhne

  27. Mike says:

    From Scientific American

    Impacts of Canada’s Oil-Sands Operations ‘Exaggerated’

    Report rebuts cancer claims and recommends changes to oversight and monitoring.

    December 15, 2010, By Hannah Hoag

    A panel of top Canadian scientists has scrutinized research on the health and environmental effects of oil-sands development in northern Alberta, and found exaggerated claims for its impact on health. It has also identified weakness in monitoring and inadequate evidence to support some remediation technologies now in place. The panel, convened by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), finds fault with the media and environmental groups but most of its criticism focuses on the industry-funded body responsible for monitoring oil-sands and the Alberta and federal governments.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=impacts-of-canadas-oil-sands-o

    Biff,

    Prokaryotes’ comments are usually relevant. I am not sure why he or she included the autism one. The rest of Prokaryotes’ posts here are relevant to climate or energy even if not of interest to you.

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    Rising sea a billion-dollar threat

    The projected inundation combines rising sea levels and king tide events, which could occur many times a year. The maps do not factor in infrastructure such as sea walls, and do not show local impacts such as beach erosion.

    Professor Tim Flannery, who sits on the government’s Coast and Climate Change Council, said he had been surprised by the significant effects on inland suburbs in all major Australian cities.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/rising-sea-a-billiondollar-threat-20101215-18y5w.html

    Not mentioning salt water intrusion into typical groundwater waterways.

  29. paulm says:

    #2 Prok,

    The Canadian primer, Harper, is no tool. So I maybe he was thinking that because he heard somewhere that Canada (& Russia) were going to be better off due to Global Warming he was hedging his fossil fuels.

    Tool time. Looks like Canada and Russia are going to be affected adversely just as much and its looking like earlier than many other nation.

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate change affects toads, salamanders – study

    WASHINGTON Dec 14 (Reuters) – Climate change is affecting the breeding cycles of toads and salamanders, researchers reported on Tuesday, in the first published evidence of such changes on amphibians.

    They documented that two species were breeding later in the autumn than in years past, and two others were breeding earlier in the winter.

    Their study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, adds to a growing body of evidence that climate change is affecting animals.

    Other studies have shown some birds in North America and Europe are moving northwards as temperatures rise.

    Brian Todd of the University of California, Davis and colleagues set up a net around a wetland in South Carolina starting 30 years ago, and trapped the animals that came and went.

    “We analyzed 30 years of data on the reproductive timing of 10 amphibian species … and found the first evidence of delayed breeding associated with climate change,” they wrote in their report.

    “We also found earlier breeding in two species. The rates of change in reproductive timing in our study are among the fastest reported for any ecological events,” they added.

    The changes coincided with a 1.2 degree C (2.16 degrees F)warming in average overnight temperatures at the site.

    “Our results highlight the sensitivity of amphibians to environmental change and provide cause for concern in the face of continued climate warming,” Todd and colleagues concluded. http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFN149818320101215

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    Mike, if you read the second link of that post you find that coal burning is the major source for mercury pollution, which in turn is identified as an agent causing autism (in the breakthrough study the HP wrote about). Thus phasing out coal plants has yet another positive aspect, which impact seems almost as important as the ban on lead additives.

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    Biffy said “it’s annoying having to wade through weather reports ”

    Reread post 1# & 2# and of course one skeptic tactic is to undermine the connection of weather extremes and climate change. Biff it’s you and your children which will suffer from your ignorance and blindness.
    Now with the second lowest NAO since recording begun in 1950, we see the same refrigerator pattern(arctic air moves south and warmer air north) all over the northern hemisphere again. And the winter did not even started yet!

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    Beside making stupid comments “Biff” should read more and read again, because his future depends of it.

    Finally, the words of Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in the NY Times this August bear repeating:

    “It’s not the right question to ask if this storm or that storm is due to global warming, or is it natural variability. Nowadays, there’s always an element of both.” http://climateprogress.org/2010/12/13/more-snow-storms-warm-years-climate-change/

  34. Prokaryotes says:

    Arctic ice melt may promote cross-breeding
    Mating between different species could lead to the extinction of many Arctic animals, because hybrid offspring are often less hardy, scientists say.

    As the world heats up and polar ice melts, different types of bears, whales and seals could meet and mate — but these unions may be far from happy, researchers said Wednesday. In fact, interspecies sex brought on by the melting Arctic ice could lead to the extinction of many endangered Arctic animals, the scientists said in an article published in the journal Nature.

    At least 22 species are at risk of hybridizing in 34 different combinations, according to a team led by Brendan Kelly, an Alaska-based evolutionary biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The pairings include polar bears and grizzlies, narwhals and beluga whales, and various assortments of seals. Some of those species are listed as endangered or threatened.

    Because hybrid offspring — or their offspring, in turn — are often infertile, maladapted or sickly, much of the genetic biodiversity of the Arctic could be lost, the scientists warned.

    Kelly said the report “is sort of a call-to-arms to encourage our colleagues around the Arctic to recognize this may be going on.” The authors urged the scientific community to begin monitoring mammals living in the Arctic to check for any increase in hybridization events. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-arctic-animals-20101216,0,439283.story

  35. Biff says:

    Mike, thanks for the heads up. I’m not disputing that he is posting information re climate change (the very purpose of this blog, obviously) but that he is posting stuff unrelated to the particular topic at hand, and not just once but flooding the comments section thus making it difficult to actually find comments related to the actual topic.

    For example, today’s edition of the Energy and Global warming News contains the following stories:

    US solar product exports/rare earths news/green jobs in Indiana/the Tax Bill/renewables in Utah/microchips in the Amazon/Dutch carbon capture/green bank/clean energy in Central America

    As far as I can see, only one of his numerous comments actually has anything to do with any of the topics covered. Instead we’re treated to such gems as a kiddie’s trampoline getting blown away in Idaho.

    If he’s really that serious about getting his environmental message out, he should start his own blog rather than flooding the comments section of someone else’s.

  36. Michael T. says:

    Atmospheric CO2 for November 2010 = 388.59
    http://co2now.org/

    NOAA Trends in Carbon Dioxide
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

  37. Biff says:

    “Biffy said “it’s annoying having to wade through weather reports ”

    Reread post 1# & 2# and of course one skeptic tactic is to undermine the connection of weather extremes and climate change. Biff it’s you and your children which will suffer from your ignorance and blindness.”

    I would characterise you as somewhat obsessed with your message and this really confirms it. If I was a climate sceptic I probably wouldn’t be on here in the first place. In fact, I run my own environmental consultancy in Sydney, Australia, so I’m about as far from a ‘sceptic’ as you can get.

    You should probably be more careful before rushing to label people. And yes, I have labelled you in turn but that’s based on the evidence of your posting history that seems to me to have pretty much bugger all to do with whatever is being discussed.

    I look forward to further probing climate-related comments such as the child’s baseball glove carried away by Arctic sea ice melt.

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    Crews clean up oil leak near Lockport

    Fire crews from Lockport and Romeoville are working to clean up the remains of an oil leak from an underground pipe off New Avenue near 135th Street in Lockport Township.

    Berndt was uncertain how much oil was leaked, but said “it was not a tremendous amount.”
    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/12/lockport-romeoville-oil-leak-will-county.html

  39. Prokaryotes says:

    Chevron to spend $5.4B on Russian pipeline http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-15/chevron-to-spend-5-4b-on-russian-pipeline.html

    There goes tax money to fund russias fossil businesses.

  40. Prokaryotes says:

    Three killed in coal mine gas leak in Duki http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010%5C12%5C16%5Cstory_16-12-2010_pg7_9

    Natural gas leak forces multi-block evacuation in Mpls.
    MINNEAPOLIS — First responders have evacuated at least 3 square blocks of Minneapolis after the discovery of a significant natural gas leak. http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=893538&catid=391

    Would not happen with clean tech.

  41. Prokaryotes says:

    Bunnell residents evacuated while gas leak fixed http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/local/flagler/2010/12/15/bunnell-residents-evacuated-while-gas-leak-fixed.html

    Everyone back home after Alcoa gas leak
    Everyone’s back in their homes this morning– but there were some tense moments after a gas leak, in the Springbrook area of Aloca. http://www.volunteertv.com/news/headlines/Everyone_back_home_after_Alcoa_gas_leak_111911724.html?ref=724

    Mexico blames gas leak for hotel blast
    The hotel explosion that killed seven people, including five Canadians, in Mexico last month was caused by a gas-line leak, Mexican officials said Tuesday.
    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2010/12/15/16558876.html

  42. Mike says:

    Let’s not get into a flame war here. There is no need to call someone stupid or ignorant. Of course asking that some be banned is rather hostel too. Cool out!

    Biff: On these ‘news of the day’ posts people are free to chime in with other news items not just discuss the news items originally included. At least that’s been my understanding.

    Prokaryotes: Thanks for explaining about the Mercury connection.

  43. Roger Wehage says:

    Should I be proud that the U.S. exported $723 million more solar products than it imported in 2009? That would lead me to believe that the U.S. is using far fewer solar products than are the countries buying our solar products. The largest energy-consuming country is not using their own solar products to reduce their fossil-fuel gluttony. For shame.

  44. paulm says:

    Eastern Canada comes down to Eaarth….

    N.B. floods cause widespread ruin
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/12/15/nb-fredericton-flooding-536.html

  45. paulm says:

    Biff your the only one complaining…..

  46. paulm says:

    Wow. The formula works. A bit of flood, fire and brimstone up here and guess what everyone wants to talk about Climate Warming…..

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/vote-whats-the-next-discussion-canada-needs-to-have/article1813783/

  47. paulm says:

    Weehew….

    Letters to the Editor, Globe & Mail….
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/letters-to-the-editor/dec-15-letters-to-the-editor/article1837938/

    Climate, changed

    I return to London this week after four years as British High Commissioner. It has been a privilege to serve in this great country.

    My one sadness is that, over that period, Canada has still not got to grips with the climate issue. Margaret Wente’s wearily predictable commentary on the outcome of Cancun (Great News from Cancun! – Dec. 14) reminds me of why progress has been so difficult. She is at once illogical (because the goal is “a very long way off,” it is hubristic to begin the journey), unfunnily sarcastic (“King Canute, come on down”) and content to jeer from the sidelines.

    If, as she predicts, the world will some day be powered by clean energy, that will not come about by accident but because people choose to make it happen. If Ms. Wente’s goal is to provoke debate, she can feel well pleased with herself. But her satisfaction comes at a heavy price for her country and the world. Each year that we delay the long transition to low carbon, we force up the economic and human cost of it.

    Anthony Cary, British High Commissioner, Ottawa

  48. David B. Benson says:

    Prokaryotes almost always posts items relevant to Energy and Global Warming News with only a most occasional slipup. I especially apprecate his finding newsworthy reports related to weather .