Climate

Weekend News Update: Underground storage of carbon dioxide may trigger earthquakes, limiting sequestration’s large scale use

Prokaryotes and others can post links here to interesting weekend news/links.

Earthshaking possibilities may limit underground CO2 storage

Combating global warming by pumping carbon dioxide into the ground for long-term storage – known as carbon sequestration – could trigger small earthquakes that might breach the storage system, allowing the gas back into the atmosphere, according to Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback. That hazard, combined with a need for thousands of injection sites around the globe, may keep sequestration from being as feasible on a large scale as some have hoped.

While those earthquakes are unlikely to be big enough to hurt people or property, they could still cause serious problems for the reservoirs containing the gas.

“It is not the shaking an earthquake causes at the surface that creates the hazard in this instance, it is what it does at depth,” Zoback said. “It may not take a very big earthquake to damage the seal of an underground reservoir that has been pumped full of carbon dioxide.”

Carbon dioxide is a major cause of a global warming. In many countries, including the United States, China and India, the majority of carbon dioxide is produced by coal-burning power plants and refineries. Keeping some of that carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by storing it underground could reduce the amount of warming.

The other complication, Zoback said, is that for sequestration to make a significant contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the volume of gas injected into reservoirs annually would have to be almost the same as the amount of fluid now being produced by the oil and gas industry each year. This would likely require thousands of injection sites around the world.

“Think about how many wells and pipelines and how much infrastructure has been developed to exploit oil and gas resources over the last hundred years,” he said. “You need something of comparable scale and volume for carbon dioxide sequestration.”

A continent crisscrossed by ancient faults

The problem with potential earthquakes arises, Zoback said, because the interior of the continent is crisscrossed by ancient faults that are often poised to fail – what he calls “a state of failure equilibrium” – because of the immense tectonic forces acting on them.

Those forces drive the huge tectonic plates across the surface of the globe and trigger the occasional violent upheavals on faults along the plate margins, such as the San Andreas fault zone. Those tectonic forces exist even in the interior of the country, far from California and the San Andreas.

The interior may seem quite stable viewed on a human timescale, but that is only because the rate at which the intraplate faults are failing is quite slow, Zoback said.

“So, in that context, when we start perturbing the system by changing fluid pressure [as we inject massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the subsurface], we have the potential for activating faults,” he said.

Zoback emphasized that any earthquake triggered by injecting gas would have happened anyway, because the fault was going to fail eventually.  “You are just advancing the time at which the earthquake occurs,” he said. But the quakes would still be potential hazards to the reservoirs.

Many of the most promising potential sites for reservoirs are saline aquifers about two to three kilometers underground, deep enough that that they are not in contact with the biosphere. There are many such aquifers in ancient geologic formations, especially in the upper Midwest, Zoback said. And since the water in them is too salty for consumption or irrigation, they are good candidates.

But those formations also tend to be dense, well-cemented sedimentary rock, with low permeability, and they may not be able to accept large amounts of fluid before becoming stressed to the point of failure.

“These are the settings most likely to induce seismicity,” Zoback said. “And this is true of many of the places being considered.”

Zoback said there are other sites, including some with saline aquifers, where the rock is weaker and would be better able to accept large amounts of gas without spawning seismicity.  And because the locations of most large faults are well mapped, it should be fairly easy to avoid provoking the sort of shaking that would harm people and property directly, so the problems are not necessarily insurmountable.

“I am not against carbon dioxide sequestration by any means and it certainly has a role,” Zoback said.  “What I am asking people to consider is whether or not it should really be one of the key components of a strategy for reduction of greenhouse gas.”

Even if earthquakes are induced, he said, it would not be an issue of immediate safety.  It would take a fairly large earthquake to create a rupture that would send carbon dioxide pouring back to the surface and that situation should be fairly easy to avoid. To get big earthquakes, you need big faults and locations such as that would be ruled out during the selection process.

The problem Zoback foresees is that the seismicity could create small pathways through the rock by which carbon dioxide would gradually seep back into the air.

“If the carbon dioxide permeates back out of the reservoir, the effort to keep it out of the atmosphere will have been futile,” he said.  In addition to failing to solve the problem, a lot of time and money would turn out to have been wasted.

If sequestration does become a major part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gases, a public education campaign will be needed, Zoback said.”If we make a massive commitment to injecting carbon dioxide into subsurface reservoirs and then public concern over the earthquakes shuts it all down, then where are we?”

Related posts on the myriad problems CCS faces:

97 Responses to Weekend News Update: Underground storage of carbon dioxide may trigger earthquakes, limiting sequestration’s large scale use

  1. free transit says:

    One after the other, the “solutions” that avoid the elephant in the room are found not to work. We need a culture change. End sprawl. End the auto. Educate all children. Nurture all children. Move to the city. Give the suburbs to the organic farmers. This will lower birth rate and save enough energy to stop coal-fired generation and end energy wars. It seems that people seriously think they can solve the climate problem and keep their suburbs and cars. Not possible. Collapse is already here, just confined to the poor for now.

  2. Sue in NH says:

    No surprise that this “techno-fix” is not very practical.

    Humans seem to want an “easy” way out of our predicament… a way that does not involve a threat to our Carbon based economy, you know that giant ponzi scheme we have built for ourselves?

    The party is over folks, that great party we have been having since WWII, actually its been going on longer than that, however these last few decades have been truly decadent.

    We blindly cling to the belief that life will keep getting better each decade: better technologies, more horsepower, more speed, more cool products… a flat screen TV in the living room, an SUV in the garage and a smart phone in the pocket, all for everyone. Its the new version of the “American Dream” that has become the World’s dream.

    Its an illusion. Its a deadly fantasy.

    And now we just passed another bill that adds 3/4 of a trillion to the nation’s debt, in hopes of kick starting that amazing economy back into high gear again. An economy with another hit of crystal meth. And if it does not work this time, how long until we are like those European countries, rioting over “austerity measures” necessary to prevent total collapse? Do we really think these are the “tough times” and things are going to get better from here and it will be easier to pay our dues in the future?

    We’ll grow this economy based on what? We hope to create more demand for more “stuff” made out of plastic, manufactured using coal power, and transported using oil. Those products must break, wear out, or become obsolete, so more products can be manufactured. Its all a one way trip to the landfill, but this is how we can create jobs, so there is more wealth, and people can build houses and buy cars. Do people really think endless growth can be endless?

    We grow and then we meet ourselves on the other side of this spherical planet.

    Its going to be a rough century, as we all learn what “carrying capacity” means. Planet Earth will not deliver this lesson gently.

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    This finding explicit is about CCS and not the underground storage of carbon dioxide with charcoal.

    Refilling the Carbon Sink: Biochar’s Potential http://e360.yale.edu/feature/refilling_the_carbon_sink_biochars_potential_and_pitfalls_/2349/

    Lovelock: biochar as solution to global climate change http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShXr_Lc_G3g

    James Lovelock on biochar: Let the Earth remove CO2 for us
    I said in my recent book that perhaps the only tool we had to bring carbon dioxide back to pre-industrial levels was to let the biosphere pump it from the air for us. It currently removes 550bn tons a year, about 18 times more than we emit, but 99.9% of the carbon captured this way goes back to the air as CO2 when things are eaten. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/24/biochar-earth-c02

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    Heavy snow in Europe causes travel chaos
    … in Bulgaria, nearly a metre of snow was reported on Friday http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/12/18/europe-weather.html

    20-degree amplitude registered in many regions in Bulgaria in past 24 hours: NIMH
    10 December 2010 http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n236940

    November temperature hits record level in Bulgaria 30. November The November temperature in Bulgaria reached a record high. It was warmest in Northern Bulgaria with temperatures soaring to 25 C°. http://www.emg.rs/en/news/region/139966.html

    Odd: Apple tree blossoms twice a year in Bulgaria November 30,
    The local agricultural sectors and related research institutes could not explain this unusual natural phenomena. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90783/91324/7216208.html

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    Soil responsible for heat waves

    Climate change will not just influence the average climate but also extremes such as heat waves, models from climate researchers indicate. Using broad measurements taken in southeastern Europe,a study demonstrates that the moisture contained in soils play an essential role for these extremes. Compared to wet summers, the frequency of very hot days increases tenfold in summers with dry soils.

    Temperatures are rising, as measurements throughout Europe reveal. In particular, heat waves are longer, increasingly more intense and occurring more frequently in the eastern Mediterranean region.

    A group of researchers led by Sonia Seneviratne from the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich and Martin Hirschi from MeteoSwiss have now succeeded in gathering sufficient data to investigate processes controlling extremes in Central and Eastern Europe. The evaluation of data measured at 275 weather stations in that region revealed that the summer hot extremes in southeastern Europe are actually more intense the stronger precipitation deficits in preceding months are, that is when the soil is drier. http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-soil-responsible.html

  6. free transit says:

    This is probably the best climate blog on the web. Just keep in mind that your opposition are not deniers, they are DELAYERS. They will change. They are already morphing to the “poor people need cheap fossils fuels” canard.

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Image:

    Arctic Oscillation Chills US and Europe

    The first week of December was a chilly one for much of Europe and parts of the United States. This image shows the temperature of the land surface for December 3-10, 2010, compared to the average temperature for the same period between 2002 and 2009. The measurements are from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

    Clearly, 2010 was cooler than average in northern Europe and the eastern United States. Greenland and parts of northern Canada, however, were exceptionally warm. This temperature pattern was caused by the Arctic Oscillation.

    The Arctic Oscillation is a climate pattern that influences winter weather in the northern hemisphere. It describes the relationship between high pressure in the mid-latitudes and low pressure over the Arctic. When the pressure systems are weak, the difference between them is small, and air from the Arctic flows south, while warmer air seeps north. This is referred to as a negative Arctic Oscillation. Like December 2009, the Arctic Oscillation was negative in early December 2010. Cold air from the Arctic channeled south around a blocking system over Greenland, while Greenland and northern Canada heated up.

    The unusual cold brought heavy snow to Northern Europe, stopping flights and trains early in December. Cold temperatures and snow also closed roads and schools in the eastern United States and Canada during the first week of December. The diagonal path of a powerful winter storm is visible as a streak of cold across the Upper Midwest of the United States. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=47880&src=imgrss

  8. The Wonderer says:

    Has anyone besides me noticed that the reliability of the CFLs now being sold, sucks? I assume it’s a push to get the ballast price down, lower overall purchase price and get repeat customers coming often. The first ones I bought years ago were noticeably better. Seems like a serious offset to the environmental benefit. I would happily pay for more reliability.

  9. Mark Stewart says:

    Mark Zoback is a very well known expert on earthquake mechanics and seismology. There are examples of deep injection of fluids at high pressures causing swarms of microseisms, as at the abandoned deep geothermal project in Basel, Switzerland, or the classic study at Rocky Mountain Arsenal where injection of toxic wastes created swarms of small earthquakes. Geothermal projects create microseisms because they raise pressures high enough to fracture the rock, creating pathways for the circulation of the operating fluids. This is a problem that research on CCS needs to address, along with figuring out how the increase in reservoir pressures affect migration of the native brines in the injection zones. Numerical models that simulate CO2 injection are now linked to geomechanical models, and the oil and gas industry has extensive field and modeling experience with both CO2 injection and hydrofracing that can be transfered to CCS.
    However, while we might be fortunate enough to not see another base-load,coal-fired, power plant without carbon capture built in the US, there are many thousands of existing base-load coal plants in the US, China, and Europe. These plants have mechanical and economic lives measured in decades. While it seems easy to some to say just shut down coal plants, each operating plant carries a very large capital debt, and no investor-owned utility will voluntarily shut down an existing plant without an economic or regulatory reason. CCS may be the bridge that will allow us to reduce the emissions from these plants as they play out their economic lives. The concern raised by Zoback is valid, but the very research completed by Zoback and other seismologists has greatly increased our knowledge of geomechanics. This is the time for Zoback and other seismologists to continue to contribute to the study of the geomechanical effects of geologic carbon sequestration.

    Just a postscript, anyone who has, or thinks they may have, an opinion on our energy future needs to read David JC MacKay’s book “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air”. It is available in a free, downloadable version at http://www.withouthotair.com/. MacKay uses a form of simple mathematical estimation called a Fermi Solution to examine what physics can tell us about the potential for the use of low-carbon energy sources to solve our problems with high-carbon sources.

    Happy holidays to all.

  10. David Smith says:

    Wonderer @ 8 – I’ve had several burn out in what seems to be way to soon and some of my older ones seem dim.

    I wish there was an inexpensive home tester to confirm electricity consumption and light level for suposed low energy products. Maybe there is a study somewhere that compares different brands of CFL’s relative to these issues. It would be very easy for a manufacturer to cheat

  11. Raul M. says:

    CFL seem to last much better with a whole
    house surge protector. Not many blown
    bulbs at all, lately.

  12. The Wonderer @8 I’ve seen reduced reliability and quality of most things over the last decade or two… although I have an incandescent bulb that’s been used daily, and is over 8 years old.

    There are some who want to pull CO2 out of the air and make bricks.
    http://growthisnotsustainable.blogspot.com/2010/09/carbon-capture-ii.html

    Domesticate oceanic micro-organisms

    http://growthisnotsustainable.blogspot.com/2010/09/carbon-capture.html

    Or

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16621-sunpowered-device-converts-cosub2sub-into-fuel.html

    Time to think outside the box.

  13. Leland Palmer says:

    Biomass energy combined with CCS has the potential to actually reverse global warming, by actively transferring CO2 from the biosphere into underground storage.

    Right now, leakage of CO2 to the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion is one hundred percent.

    We should remember these things, before we give up on CCS.

    With Biomass Energy combined with Carbon Capture and Storage, we don’t have to wait thousands of years for CO2 to be removed from the system- we could actively remove it ourselves, and do so within our lifetimes.

    Potentially, we could also make a profit while doing so, if we do it right, and are able to technologically add a “topping cycle” increasing the efficiency of the combustion process.

    If we want to solve this problem within our lifetimes, and keep the methane hydrates from destabilizing, chances are we are going to have to use CCS. Certainly, we need to put the atmospheric carbon somewhere, and CCS is the most direct and practical solution we know of so far.

  14. Carbon sequestration of CO2 from fossil fuel power plants is an expensive road to nowhere. And now it looks like it might not even work!

    Its time to begin the transition from a fossil fuel economy to a nuclear and renewable energy economy. This will create high paying jobs while helping to mitigate global sea rise, ocean acidification, and dramatic changes in weather.

  15. David Smith says:

    Carbon sequestration is being pursued as a compromise with the coal industry because it is the only idea that might allow coal to be used to produce electricity while reducing its footprint enough to be relevent. Not because the technology is even remotely possible. The coal industry itself pusues it to reduce political pressure and make it seem as though they are doing something. It allows them to keep doing what they are doing for decades with no down side. If sequestration doesn’t work, it’s not really their problem. There’s no punishment, no personal risk, no corporate risk. And we keep buying it.

    Until there is real corporate and personal risk for the players continuing this charade while knowing that it will cause widespread harm, nothing will change.

  16. dbmetzger says:

    Climate Change Linked to Forest Fires
    According to a new environmental study, global warming is causing forest fires in northern latitudes to burn more frequently and fiercely, contributing to the threat of runaway climate change. http://www.newslook.com/videos/273677-climate-change-linked-to-forest-fires?autoplay=true

  17. Leland Palmer says:

    Re, post # 15-

    Actually, the coal industry wants to do nothing. They’re lukewarm about CCS.

    They’d rather just lie, IMO.

  18. dp says:

    @ mark stewart #9

    “CCS may be the bridge that will allow us to reduce the emissions from these plants as they play out their economic lives.”

    what makes you think such a retrofit would not destroy the economics of the plant’s operation, especially as china figures them, burning relatively energy-poor coal.

    but “their economic lives”? no. anybody operating a coal-fired power plant since the kyoto talks knows there’s a giant asterisk on the side of the facility, and that they’re operating by the grace of society’s patience, in a narrow window.

  19. Leif says:

    … “poor people need cheap fossils fuels.” I disagree BUT…

    IMO poor people need expensive energy pegged to the cost of all social services. From street sweeper to universal health care and military budget. There would be no more deficit spending with interest payments on the backs of the poor going to make the rich richer. There would be no more INCOME TAX! Wages could come down but value would go up. That would allow the BUILD UP, under Military auspices, (We All Win War, WAWW), for the new economy to be less expensive and help cut out much of the waste,fraud and abuse that is so prevalent in corporate efforts. An important point in the above proposal, a big part of the Awakening Economy, is the initial build out of “point of use energy sources”. (As well of the dispersal there of.) These are “cash cows” for anyone that produces more energy than they consume. This has the obvious benefit of transferring wealth from high Carbon Stompers back to the people. Most of the wealthy currently have “Fuel expenses” deductible and thus pay no extra tax for their waste. On the other hand the working man must first pay tax on his earnings AND THEN buy his fuel. (Which is also taxed.) (And then pay interest, forever, on the debt! To whom?) Those burdened by the transition will be subsidized, Not the FOSSIL INDUSTRIES that appear to be doing just fine.

  20. Leland Palmer says:

    It is possible to take the coal fired power plants, convert them to biomass or charcoal operation, add a topping cycle for increased efficiency and CCS for carbon storage, and turn them from climate villains into climate saviours.

    It is technologically possible to do this, and even economically practical, IMO.

    If the coal industry is willing to take some steps along this path, let them do so.

    A pulse of heat has entered the oceans, and is working its way inexorably downward. As shallow waters heat, and ocean currents change, the methane hydrates are going to start destabilizing, very likely.

    We can’t throw away any options, IMO, including CCS and especially in-situ mineral carbonation.

    Interestingly enough, the new CCS power plant in Illinois is located on the Illinois river, which is a navigable river several hundred feet wide at that point. It has loading docks for coal, on the river.

    Barges of biomass or charcoal from upstream could be transported to this power plant. Illinois is extremely rich in crop residues.

    If this was done, this would be the largest carbon negative power plant in the world.

  21. Wit's End says:

    The Senate voted to repeal DADT! Even Scott Brown of MA and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted to repeal. What’s the lesson? A minority – in this case, gays – that has a single issue focus can influence politicians. It’s the same as the gun lobby.

    Climate change needs to become the single issue for an organized group.

  22. Mike says:

    As I was reading this (about the CO2 sequestering earthquake problems) I got the idea that maybe we could send CO2 into outer space. OK, it is likely a pretty loony idea but sometimes you need just let your mind wander. Then I Googled a bit and found that someone has proposed this, but it is a long shot and a long ways off in any case. Here is what I found, it is from TreeHunger, 2007:

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/06/venting_our_problems_away.php

  23. Mike says:

    New research of climate a wildfires:

    Science
    17 December 2010:

    Atmospheric Science
    The Burning Issue

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6011/1636.short

    Wang et al. (1) present high-precision measurements, taken from air trapped in Antarctic ice, of how atmospheric concentrations of CO have changed over the past 650 years. Their findings offer a striking and surprising look at the history of fire in the Southern Hemisphere, and some hints at future global fire trends.

    Biomass burning declined steadily from the 1300s through the 1600s, in parallel with cooling that occurred from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age. Then, some combination of warming and human activity drove a rapid increase in biomass burning, which peaked in the late 1800s before abruptly declining to a historic low in the present.

    It is reasonable to expect that future climate change will greatly increase the risks of wildfire (2), especially if the global mean temperature increases by several degrees (8–10) as suggested by many projections.

    This new perspective on the recent history of fire brings both good news and bad. If biomass burning on a large scale is controlled mainly by climate, then this is bad news for Smokey the Bear (the U.S. advertising icon who says that “only you can prevent forest fires”). The good news is that, if we can predict fire risks by using process-based models (11–13), we should be able to reduce fires through land use and fuel management. This approach, however, will require a major shift of policy emphasis toward avoiding conditions that favor the spread of fire (10).

  24. Len Ornstein says:

    Joe, sloppy use of terminology can hurt more than it helps!

    As Procaryotes and Leland Parker note, sequestration includes more than CCS!

    Bio-sequestration, from photosynthetic capture of atmospheric CO2, has no such hazard – and many advantages; the basis for most of the ‘cure’ for global warming (8 to 13 GtC/yr of new sustainable bio-sequestration).

    http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9626-y

    and

    http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9625-z

  25. Mike Roddy says:

    It has long been obvious from feasibility studies that coal power with modern scrubbers and CCS is not remotely competitive. It has been floated as a vague solution by the coal industry, who plant the seed that maybe we can even retrofit existing plants (even more expensive).

    CCS is like geoengineering and and nuclear- bullshit, meant to throw climate hawks off the scent. Scientists and utility executives are not fooled.

  26. Anonymous says:

    UK snow: Britain in gridlock as big freeze brings Christmas travel misery

    • Passengers angry as BA cancels all short-haul flights
    • December set to be coldest on record, says Met Office

    Last night the Met Office warned that disruption was likely to continue, with freezing weather leaving roads in an icy, treacherous state for the next few days. In many areas, night-time temperatures will plunge to minus 10C or below. The conditions are likely to make this the coldest December on record, with a current average temperature of minus 0.7C, five degrees under the long-term average.

    The disruption that has ensued – the second serious episode of weather chaos to hit travel in Britain this month – led to calls from senior politicians yesterday for the government to make radical improvements in its ability to deal with cold weather. Louise Ellman, Labour chair of the Commons transport select committee, said it was no longer sufficient for ministers to brush away criticism by saying the severe conditions were exceptional.

    “This is now the third bad winter in a row. We need to establish whether we think there may be a change of weather patterns and if so respond accordingly,” she said. “We should be able to respond to these events better.” Ellman said her committee would investigate what had gone wrong. “Clearly it is something we will have to look into.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/18/uk-snow-travel-disruption-christmas

    Can you say Decentralized Energy Infrastructure, specially Electric Vehicle Electricity Storage to Grid – Wind Power with blade anti freeze technology and Energy transmission from the African Desert and alike “Desertec”.

  27. It should be noted that Zoback’s ideas about geomechanics are based on the theory that the earth is approximately spherical. As with climate change, journalists who care about ‘balance’ have an obligation to report that this theory is controversial.

  28. Colorado Bob says:

    The NWS has upped the forecast –

    Eric Boldt, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Oxnard office. He said the large system over the central Pacific was on a “conveyor belt right toward California.”

    Through Sunday, the region can expect 4 to 7 inches of rain in the foothills and mountains and 1 to 3 inches in coastal and valley areas, Boldt said. A short break is possible Monday before an additional 5 to 10 inches arrive Tuesday and Wednesday.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1218-rain-20101218,0,3285682.story

    This ain’t gonna be pretty.

  29. Colorado Bob says:

    West Conus Water Vapor Loop

    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/GSSLOOPS/wcwv.html

    Some of the worst levees in American about to deal with all this rain.

  30. Ziyu says:

    Here’s a list with the situation and the possible solutions. Note: If any of the renewable standards is adopted as a policy option, then the other standards of that category cannot be adopted. If the renewable energy standard is adopted and its emissions reductions for 2050 are greater than that for renewable subsidies, the emissions reductions for renewable subsidies can’t count. I did not include farm measures because I am not well enough informed about the strategies on that. The data shown in the list is based on the most recent data I have.

    US Emissions Deficit and Solutions

    Current US Emissions: 7000 tonnes
    Projected US Emissions by 2020: 8000 tonnes
    Projected US Emissions by 2050: 10,000 tonnes
    US Commitment at Copenhagen 17% from 2005 levels by 2020, 70-85% below 2005 by 2050.
    Required US Emissions by 2020: 5800 tonnes
    Required US Emissions by 2050: 2000 tonnes
    Required Reductions by 2020 from BAU levels: 2200 tonnes
    Required Reductions by 2050 from BAU levels: 8000 tonnes

    Possible Steps + Impact on Emissions

    End Fossil Fuel Subsidies:
    -90 tonnes by 2020
    -1800 tonnes by 2050

    Renewable Energy Standard of 15% by 2020:
    -480 tonnes by 2020
    -600 tonnes by 2050

    Renewable Standard of 15% by 2020, 50% by 2050
    -480 tonnes by 2020
    -2700 tonnes by 2050

    Renewable Standard of 15% by 2020, 80% by 2050
    -480 tonnes by 2020
    -4000 tonnes by 2050

    Subsidies for Renewables (Treasury Cash Grant Program, Other tax credits)
    -240 tonnes by 2020
    -2100 tonnes by 2050

    Fuel Efficiency Standard 35 mpg by 2020
    -460 tonnes by 2020
    -570 tonnes by 2050

    Fuel Efficiency Standard 35 mpg by 2020, 50 mpg by 2050
    -460 tonnes by 2020
    -1000 tonnes by 2050

    Renewable Fuels Standard 10% by 2020
    -((1600-Reductions of Emissions from Fuel Efficiency Standard) x 0.1) by 2020
    -((2000-Reductions of Emissions from Fuel Efficiency Standard) x 0.1) by 2050

    Renewable Fuels Standard 10% by 2020, 40% by 2050
    -((1600-Reductions of Emissions from Fuel Efficiency Standard) x 0.1) by 2020
    -((2000-Reductions of Emissions from Fuel Efficiency Standard) x 0.4) by 2050

  31. Edward says:

    NIMBY! Please keep me informed as to where the CCS is happening. I will move away.

    It will only take 1 big leak that kills a lot of people to put an end to CCS.

  32. Colorado Bob says:

    As bad a weather bulletin as you will ever see.

    DUE TO THE
    SUBTROPICAL NATURE OF THIS SYSTEM…OROGRAPHIC ENHANCEMENT OF THE
    RAINFALL WILL BE EXTREME WITH 4 TO 8 INCH AMOUNTS EXPECTED TO BE
    WIDESPREAD IN THE FOOTHILLS AND MOUNTAINS. LOCAL AMOUNTS IN EXCESS
    OF 10 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE. THIS AMOUNT OF RAIN COULD BRING SOME
    AREAS TO NEAR SATURATION…AND THIS IS JUST THROUGH THE WEEKEND.

    WHILE RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO TAPER OFF IN MANY AREAS ON MONDAY…
    MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE OVER
    EASTERN PORTIONS OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY…INCLUDING MOST OF THE SAN
    GABRIEL MOUNTAINS. AN ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATION OF 2 TO 4 INCHES ARE
    POSSIBLE IN THIS REGION. THIS WILL BRING THE TOTALS IN THE SAN
    GABRIEL MOUNTAINS UP TO AROUND 12 INCHES BY LATE MONDAY…WITH MORE
    STORMS EXPECTED THROUGH MID WEEK.

    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=lox&sid=LOX&pil=SPS

    ———–
    Hell is coming to breakfast.

  33. Muoncounter says:

    “It may not take a very big earthquake to damage the seal of an underground reservoir that has been pumped full of carbon dioxide.”

    I’m sorry, but this seems like a lot of hot air to me. Methane has been stored successfully underground for years; a methane leak tend to be lots worse than CO2 leak would be. If depleted oil and gas reservoirs are used for CCS — which seems like a good use for ’em, putting the waste product back where it came from — they already withstood far greater reservoir pressures for a long time. How else did the hydrocarbons stay in place until they were produced? That’s the nature of an oil and gas reservoir. Initial reservoir pressures would have been far greater than anything ‘pumped full’ of CO2 could achieve.

  34. Paulm says:

    Soaked in Seattle: Rain in some areas near 100-year record
    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/431722_rainrecord.html

  35. Edward says:

    A CO2 pipeline in a populated area could be a terrorist target. Do you have a map of CO2 pipelines?

  36. Colorado Bob says:

    Unseasonably warm temperatures— with temperatures as much as 20 degrees above normal— have dominated much of Nunavik so far this month, which has meant rain drops in many communities instead of snowflakes.

    In Salluit, above normal temperatures meant this Hudson Strait community was much warmer than southern Quebec on Dec. 17.

    http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/18999_nunavik_experiences_record_high_temps_in_december/

  37. Hope this storm doesn’t ruin Christmas

  38. Michael T. says:

    Series of storms bears down on California

    LOS ANGELES – A series of winter storms bearing down on California could be the largest system the region has seen in the last decade, the National Weather Service said Saturday.

    Southern California will be hit especially hard by the storms, and officials are preparing for flooding and posting mudflow warnings for burn areas in the San Gabriel Mountains and in Malibu.

    “This is one big mother and it’s going to have a lot of waves in it,” said Bill Hoffer, a spokesman for the agency’s forecast office in Oxnard.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101218/ap_on_re_us/us_california_storm#mwpphu-container

  39. Paulm says:

    Welcome to Planet Eaarth series.
    Mini mudslide and sink holes becoming a nagging problem in many  developed regions. Climate warming chipping away. 

    http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/159067–another-sinkhole-develops-in-white-rock

    http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/157988–still-no-amtrak-service-between-seattle-and-vancouver

    http://www.theprovince.com/news/Mudslides+shut+down+Vancouver+Seattle+Amtrak+service/3989538/story.html

    Several mudslides caused by torrential rains have already suspended several key routes in the Pacific Northwest since Saturday.

    “We’ve been hit pretty hard with it this week,” said Vickie Sheehan of Washington State’s department of transportation, noting that while the Vancouver-Seattle route is prone to slides in certain sections, it’s still early in the season for mudslides, which tend to occur near the end of winter and into early spring.

    [Eaarth migrates to the ocean]

  40. Michael says:

    There is currently a subtropical system in the Central Pacific that looks like a developing tropical storm:

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/float6.html

    The Central Pacific Hurricane Center even has a bulletin out on it (last update 8:30 am HST; the link above shows it become more organized since then):

    For the central north Pacific, between 140°W and 180.

    1. A subtropical low located near the international dateline or about 390 miles south southwest of Midway atoll is moving toward the southwest at about 10 mph. An area of showers and thunderstorms remains near the center of this system. Winds of gale force are located far north of the center of this low. There is a low chance, 10 percent, of this system becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours. For additional information on this low, see the high seas forecast issued for the north Pacific ocean by the National Weather Service forecast office in Honolulu, Hawaii under AWIPS header hsfnp, or WMO header fzpn40 PHFO.

    http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/

    As far as I can tell, the only Central Pacific storm on record in December was in 1997, attributed to El Nino – which we don’t have right now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pacific_hurricanes#Named_storms_per_month

  41. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    In Australia the rains are falling, too, breaking records, incessant and flooding. Violent storms are hitting cities day after day. The electric storm I witnessed a week ago was unlike any I had ever seen in ten years living here. Constant lightning strikes, from, horizon to horizon, individual bolts of terrific brightness and width, thunder like nearby explosions. I have seen storms like this in the tropics, but never here or even in sub-tropical Sydney. As for carbon capture and storage, as it is known here, it has been pushed hard by poseurs like our late, unlamented, PM Kevin Rudd, as a sop to the coal industry, which is worth billions and is very generous with its political ‘contributions’ (which we Western paragons call ‘bribes’ when the lesser races are concerned). Far, far more money has been spent on ‘researching’ this boondoggle than on renewable energy research, and we have, therefore, lost the lead we once enjoyed in solar energy research, throwing away trillions in future profits (all that really matters in our materialist society) as well. The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, has just acknowledged reality and cancelled a power station project based on this chimaera, but not before a lazy 500 million or so went down the toilet. As ever, wherever capitalist cupidity reigns, destruction, horror and farce eventually follow.

  42. Paulm says:

    Renewable and efficiency should immediately be implemented over all other forms via a state of emergency decree.
    Wishishy washy response of society in the face of humanities downfall….just great! 
    Can we have some leadership Obama.

    facing-the-hard-local-realities-of-a-warming-world
    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/facing-the-hard-local-realities-of-a-warming-world-20101218-191dn.html

    ”People assume that historical climate is stationary and climate change will be gradual but what we’re seeing isn’t a trend … it’s a step change … a change of state.”

  43. Paulm says:

    “And while vast amounts of data must still be collected and analyzed, the bottom line is already clear. “Much more of the bottom of East Antarctica is below sea level than we expected,” he said, “and significant portions are in contact with the ocean.” Those findings suggest that East Antarctica is much more susceptible to climate change than scientists had once thought.”

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/12/come-hell-or-high-water-how-us.html?ref=hp

  44. Paulm says:

    My Christmas wish would be for Obama to read joe’s blog once a day.

    Well, actually it would be for him to declare a state of extra ordinary emergency and get on with addressing climate change at the level of effort required. Obviously, to do this he would need advice from Joe.

  45. Ed Hummel says:

    Paul M, I’m glad to see that others are talking about a state of national emergency having to be decreed and war time measures implemented to force conservation and alternative energies immediately. Don’t forget to include rationing and strict enforcement. Looks like we need to call off all overseas adventures and bring the troops home right away to help police enforce the draconian measures needed. That would be a much more patriotic use of our dedicated and talented military. I wonder if Obama has it in him to do such a thing. Of course he’d have to prepare the nation for such steps first by calling some news conferences and making sure that the message of our dire situation is hammered into the brains of the American population before too many “Pearl Harbors” have to happen. I don’t see any other way to avoid the worst of what’s already happening.

  46. Michael T. says:

    Global Warming 101 (1 of 5) – The Greenhouse Effect

    Become familiar with the fundamentals of the man-made global warming theory and the vital role the atmospheric greenhouse effect plays in moderating the Earth’s climate.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL3ED6aXrks

  47. Roger says:

    Ed’s right (#45): We need real leadership from the man we elected to be our leader: Yes we CAN, mitigate climate change. Yes we CAN, switch from fossil fuels. Yes we CAN, inform misinformed Americans of the facts. But it looks like Obama’s waiting for a signal from us.

    FDR said, “You’ve convinced me, now go out and make me do it.” We who care about the future of humanity need to now go out and make Obama take action, starting with a “State of the Climate” address from the Oval Office, and followed with information sessions for the science-challenged members of the US Congress, and much much more.

    Does anyone out there have any suggestions for how we can put some effective pressure on Obama to cause him to act? Several groups have been trying to raise awareness for a number of years, including 350.org, 1Sky and others. Has anyone got a better way? Please speak up. We need to have a much more effective and stronger climate movement in 2011.

    In fact, Joe, this would be a great topic for next weekend: What might climate hawks and others do to get President Obama to step up to the plate and adopt a really aggressive stance on fighting climate change?

    Another topic great question might be: what is the single most important thing holding back American climate progress?

  48. Prokaryotes says:

    It’s on!

    People stranded on roofs during flood
    The worst flood to ever hit the Western Australian coastal town of Carnarvon has left people stranded on their roofs as the damage bill rises into the millions.

    “But it’s still a record flood, much bigger than the 1960 flood that was 7.61m deep. “This flood has been about 7.7m for some time … the hotel roof is only just peaking out of the water.”

    Mr Maslen said the deepest point was at Fishy Pool where the water level had risen to 15m. He said homesteads that had never experienced much rain at all were also a metre deep in water.

    “People are sitting on their roofs. You just don’t think that will happen, it’s something you see in cartoons, not real life,” he said http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/people-stranded-on-roofs-during-flood-20101219-191pu.html

  49. Prokaryotes says:

    Video

    Flooding between Minilya and Carnarvon 18Dec2010 after cyclone-roads are closed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzSM07U6Lcw

  50. Prokaryotes says:

    The Wonderer “Has anyone besides me noticed that the reliability of the CFLs now being sold, sucks?”

    Yes, and they contain mercury, though im in the process to phase them out and switch to LED’s, which are expensive but hold at least some years.

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    Muoncounter said “Methane has been stored successfully underground for years”

    Is that so? Please elaborate more, all a quick search yields is even more doubt.

    Methane storage in gas shales, 14-Nov-2006

    The problem
    Partioning of storage between porosity, adsorption, and absorption
    is poorly understood Most shale gas workers think gas in
    porosity, a.k.a. free or compression gas, is dominant
    Gas shales are considered equivalent to extremely low quality sandstones

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:QyTFjffEVPcJ:www.rpsea.org/attachments/wysiwyg/4/tight_cluff.pdf+methane+storage&hl=de&gl=de&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgIGHmiALEz1m83M40zTZYO2mK0SI97e_wugxijshYtuhYhmo_SDQwqKCcDvTX-G1m8oOfWVc_1C5yUVrfai2NPW9maSCK2NrJph93IykJKzCXMDvbuBemYgqHkGiIWxoqIUMa9&sig=AHIEtbQzn2fNj2yQ1aB58W4GfwWCTzzryA

    2009
    Methane Storage Makes Solid Progress
    Researchers are investigating how to store larger quantities of methane at higher temperatures and lower pressures.
    http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/articles/2009/004.html

    Enhanced coal bed methane recovery is a method of producing additional coalbed methane from a source rock, similar to enhanced oil recovery applied to oil fields. Carbon dioxide (CO2) injected into a bituminous coal bed would occupy pore space and also adsorb onto the carbon in the coal at approximately twice the rate of methane (CH4), allowing for potential enhanced gas recovery.[1] This technique may be used in conjunction with carbon capture and storage in mitigation of global warming where the carbon dioxide that is sequestered is captured from the output of fossil fuel power plants.

    A research project at ETH Zurich is studying the process of pumping carbon dioxide into unminable coal seams and recovering the methane that is subsequently displaced. Without other incentives, enhanced coal bed methane recovery is not economical as the commercial value of the released methane does not completely offset the cost of pumping. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_coal_bed_methane_recovery

    The German industrial area of Schwarze Pumpe, about 4 km south of the city of Spremberg, is home to the world’s first CCS coal plant. The mini pilot plant is run by an Alstom-built oxy-fuel boiler and is also equipped with a flue gas cleaning facility to remove fly ash and sulphur dioxide. The Swedish company Vattenfall AB invested some 70 million Euros in the two year project which began operation September 9, 2008. The power plant, which is rated at 30-megawatts, is a pilot project to serve as a prototype for future full-scale power plants.[64][65] 240 tonnes a day of CO2 are being trucked 350 kilometers (210 miles) where it will be injected into an empty gas field. Germany’s BUND group called it a “fig leaf”. For each tonne of coal burned, 3.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide is produced http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage

  52. Prokaryotes says:

    Barmah forest in flood
    Boating from Rice’s Bridge down Broken Creek to the Murray River, past Barmah Lake campground, up Budgee Creek, through the Barmah forest, Steamer Plain, Hut Lake, War Plain, out Cutting Creek and back through Barmah Lake, November 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyvP31VG7D4

  53. Prokaryotes says:

    White House issues scientific integrity memo
    Guidelines are intended to help increase public trust in science http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40732112/ns/technology_and_science-science/

  54. Colorado Bob says:

    Paulm @ 42
    Good article glad to see the wine makers are keeping up with the changes. Too bad the frog populations aren’t planning as well. The the story has a very important factoid . The segment where an apple crop failed the color requirements for supermarkets. Not enough cold days .
    ” But increasing temperatures are also changing fruit behaviour. Mr Wilson said that two years ago the Gala apples failed supermarket specifications because the nights were not cold enough to produce the typical red, stripey colour.

    Scientist Rebecca Darbyshire says apple trees need at least 100 very cold nights in winter to ensure proper fruit in the next season. At Tatura, near Shepparton, the number of cold nights has fallen from 150 to 120. It’s not enough to have an effect, but it’s a worrying trend.”

    It is the night time temperatures that are going to drive plants. We’ve seen a very strong study about rice this year. Saying the same thing, that night time temperatures have more importance than we may realize.

  55. Colorado Bob says:

    NWS San Joaquin Valley, CA

    Rain totals from 5:55 PM Thursday a large area east of Fresno showing 6 inches, and growing. Huge area of 4 – 5 inches.

    http://radar.weather.gov/radar.php?rid=HNX&product=NTP&overlay=11101111&loop=yes

    These rains are falling in Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks.

    Sequoia National Park HQS. 6700 feet is 32F with a 32F dew point. Lone Pine to the east 3700 feet is 59F with 59F dew point. The jack rabbits carry canteens around Lone Pine.

  56. Prokaryotes says:

    Radio & Transcript
    For Some Investigators, BP Oil Spill Is Just Beginning http://www.npr.org/2010/12/18/132162099/For-Some-Investigators-BP-Oil-Spill-Is-Just-Beginning

    BP Oil on Gulf Floor Draws Concern
    Closer in, from Florida to Louisiana, patches of oil remain in the water beside some beaches that were hit particularly hard by the spill. Some of that oil clearly “is from the Macondo well,” said Sam Walker, another NOAA scientist.

    The report finds that some of the oil near the shoreline could wash ashore. Workers will continue to try to remove oil left on beaches and in marshes in some parts of the coast, officials said.

    BP interpreted the report as good news. “The scientific evidence in this report is consistent with our observations that the beaches are safe, the water is safe, and the seafood is safe,” said Mike Utsler, head of the company’s spill-response effort, in a statement.

    Under federal law, a company found responsible for an oil spill must pay for environmental damage the government finds the spill caused. The more Gulf contamination that research links to the BP spill, the more money the federal government is likely to push BP to pay.

    The report leaves unanswered many questions about the spill’s environmental impact that scientists are likely to be researching—and BP and the government are likely to be fighting over—for years.

    For instance, officials sprayed some 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants on the oil to break it up and prevent it from washing ashore. In some sediment, tests found a chemical contained in dispersant, but its environmental impact is unknown, the report said. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704034804576025514237893264.html

  57. Prokaryotes says:

    An environmental group that analyzed the drinking water in 35 cities across the United States, including Bethesda and Washington, found that most contained hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen that was made famous by the film “Erin Brockovich.”

    The study, which will be released Monday by the Environmental Working Group, is the first nationwide analysis of hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public.

    It comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to set a limit for hexavalent chromium in tap water. The agency is reviewing the chemical after the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, deemed it a “probable carcinogen” in 2008.

    The federal government restricts the amount of “total chromium” in drinking water and requires water utilities to test for it, but that includes both trivalent chromium, a mineral that humans need to metabolize glucose, and hexavalent chromium, the metal that has caused cancer in laboratory animals.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/18/AR2010121802893.html

  58. Prokaryotes says:

    Probable Cancer-causing Chemical Found in Drinking Water of 31 of 35 U.S. Cities Tested
    http://www.care2.com/causes/environment/blog/possible-cancer-causing-chemical-found-in-31-of-35-u-s-cities-tested/

    Less government oversight = more pollution and cancer.

  59. Prokaryotes says:

    2010’s world gone wild: Quakes, floods, blizzards

    This was the year the Earth struck back.

    Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 — the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.

    “It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves,” said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It handled a record number of disasters in 2010.

    “The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year.”

    And we have ourselves to blame most of the time, scientists and disaster experts say.

    Even though many catastrophes have the ring of random chance, the hand of man made this a particularly deadly, costly, extreme and weird year for everything from wild weather to earthquakes.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-19/2010-s-world-gone-wild-quakes-floods-blizzards.html

  60. Prokaryotes says:

    Avatar News:

    Borneo Tribes Facing Double Green Energy Thre

    Despite the numerous programs to help save not only the rainforests of the world but also the planet in general from the impacts of deforestation and global warming, the indigenous tribes of Borneo are looking at a bleak future specifically because of initiatives to help drive clean energy and sustainable fuel solutions. According to Survival International, hydroelectric dams (hydro power, of course being one of the most popular clean energy solutions) and forest clearing for palm oil plantations (for use for, among other things, biofuel) are destroying the habitat and threatening the future of native tribes in Sarawak (the Malaysian part of Borneo).
    http://www.tinygreenbubble.com/eco/world-news-reports/item/1239-borneo-tribes-facing-double-green-energy-threats

  61. Prokaryotes says:

    “Hemp oil has the same energy as diesel,” Wirtshafter said. “Whatever your car does on diesel, it’ll do on hemp. It’s even possible to process hemp for a gasoline engine, but it’s more complex.”
    http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/eo8lj/hemp_oil_has_the_same_energy_as_diesel/

  62. Prokaryotes says:

    Kroger Recalls Cat, Dog Food in 19 States Due to Toxin Risk
    Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery-store chain, recalled kitten, cat and dog food sold in stores in 19 U.S. states because of the possible presence of aflatoxin, a toxic substance, in the products.

    The brands are Pet Pride, Old Yeller and Kroger Value food sold in packages ranging in weight from 3 pounds to as much as 50 pounds, the company said in a statement.

    Aflatoxin is a toxic substance created by a fungus on corn and other crops that can result in sluggishness, lethargy, severe and bloody diarrhea in animals that eat the tainted food, Kroger said.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-18/kroger-recalls-cat-dog-food-in-19-states-due-to-toxin-risk.html

  63. Colorado Bob says:

    Forecasters initially attributed the big rainstorm to a “Pineapple Express,” a weather pattern that delivers moisture from the Hawaii area to the Pacific Coast. But the system hammering Southern California is actually caused by a large plume of subtropical moisture that is stretching from Asia. The plume “is mixing with a low-pressure system, and it’s creating heavy periods of rain,” Seto said.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pineapple-express-20101219,0,7110204.story
    ———————
    This “plume” effect has been in place in Australia for 3 weeks. Long wide bands of water vapor pouring off the Indian Ocean. The latest town to get hit got 245 mm in 48 hrs. That’s 9.64 inches for those scoring in the US. Western Australia , cut the coast road , the big land trains are in the parking lots. Ten’s of millions in crop losses . Veg. & fruit trees.

    I would remind everyone that this Calf. plume is over America’s salad bowl.

  64. Colorado Bob says:

    HERE ARE SOME 48 HOUR RAINFALL AND/OR WATER EQUIVALENT TOTALS
    FOR THE PERIOD ENDING AT 10 PM PST DECEMBER 18TH, 2010.

    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=hnx&sid=HNX&pil=PNS
    FOOTHILL SITES

    JSDC1 JERSEYDALE 6.01

    SIERRA NEVADA SITES

    BTKC1 BEARTRAP MEADOW 10.18

    The radar loop est. is showing 8 – 10 inches in Sequoia NP.

    This is not slowing down …….

    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/GSSLOOPS/wcwv.html

  65. paulm says:

    #61 Prok, extreme events are another measure of global temperature, Just like ice melt/sea level rise.

  66. Roger says:

    Prokaryotes #60: Thank you for pointing us to this important article.

    I’d like to highlight two sentences, then comment. It’s just strange…

    First, “Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 — the deadliest year in more than a generation.”

    Second, “More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.”

    Comment: Given the above facts, how come the US is in a “war on terror,” costing us a ton of money, not to mention our soldiers’ lives, yet we haven’t declared war on fossil fuel-related, climate change-induced “natural disasters” that are becoming less “natural” all the time.

    How many deaths have their been in the US related to the former, compared to the latter, in the past few years? Aren’t we focused on the wrong things? Don’t we have a social contract with our government to protect us from danger? How should we define danger? Shouldn’t it have something to do with how many could die from the danger?

    Hmm. Looking at a news item from the past several days, and leaving to Prokaryotes, or others, the grim task of actually tallying body counts, I found something the US government is doing to protect us, while remaining officially silent, at the highest levels, about the very real, life-threatening risks of our collective inaction on climate change.

    Thankfully, the US government is making damned sure that we don’t suffer too painfully from getting misled by Dannon into buying yogurt because the company ran an ad with a health claim that wasn’t adequately substantiated.

    Whew, that was certainly a lifesaver! They even punished the yogurt maker with a $21 million settlement: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/12/16/am-vitals-dannon-to-pay-21-million-to-settle-probiotics-complaints.

    (One wonders, by comparison, about the misleading ads spewed out by the fossil fuel industry—leaving billions worldwide misinformed about the very real, serious and urgent threat of climate change.)

    It’s strange…and makes one ask, when will the US government take steps to warn its citizens about the REAL elephant in the room. And, it leads one to also ask: when will the US shift its substantial financial and technological might towards the ‘mother of all threats’ (paraphrasing Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson)–manmade climate change?

    Finally, isn’t there something that concerned citizens can do to help encourage our government to do the right thing, and on the timescale that’s appropriate for the task at hand, namely 2011, if not yesterday?

    Does our writing comments on CP possibly even do some harm, in the sense that we feel that we’re at least doing something, when we could and should be doing something that visibly “moves the ball forward?”

    Should our time, frustration, energy, anger, etc. be redirected to…?

    I’d like to hear Jeff Huggins’ opinion on this. Jeff, are you there?

    Just food for thought (and happy to have food to eat).

    With warm holiday wishes,

    Roger

  67. Paulm says:

    #68 Roger, good point about the body count.
    Brainless boiling frogs.

  68. Colorado Bob says:

    The article @ 60 –

    ” In the summer, one weather system caused oppressive heat in Russia, while farther south it caused flooding in Pakistan that inundated 62,000 square miles, about the size of Wisconsin. That single heat-and-storm system killed almost 17,000 people, more people than all the worldwide airplane crashes in the past 15 years combined. ”

    They missed this number (17,000 people) by a factor of 3 –

    Here’s 41,262 dead Russians in just August, and it was killing them in July was well.

    “Amid record temperatures and rampant wildfires, the death rate nationwide shot up 27.4 percent in August compared with the same month last year, the state statistics office said in figures published on its website.

    The surge saw 41,262 more people die than during August 2009, while the previous months’ figures showed no significant rise year-on-year.

    Moscow alone saw 9,000 more deaths in August, or a 68.6 percent hike in the mortality rate, as residents inhaled a toxic mix of smog and smoke from nearby forest and peat-bog fires.”

    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Deaths_rose_by_quarter_in_Russias_summer_heatwave_official_999.html

  69. Paulm says:

    #8 yep. Need to go straight to LEDs….

  70. Colorado Bob says:

    41,262 dead Russians in just August the state statistics office said in figures published on its website.

    This is the most under reported number of 2010.

  71. SecularAnimist says:

    free transit wrote in comment #1: “Move to the city. Give the suburbs to the organic farmers.”

    Or, stay in the suburbs and become an organic farmer.

    If suburban Americans invested exactly the same amount of money, time and effort into cultivating organic vegetable gardens and edible permaculture, that they already invest into maintaining purely decorative lawns and shrubbery, then the suburbs could easily produce a large proportion of America’s food supply, with a far smaller GHG footprint than conventional industrial mega-monocrop agriculture.

    Not to mention enormous benefits in physical and mental health and well-being that suburban Americans would get from the work of gardening itself.

  72. Prokaryotes says:

    Colorado Bob said “41,262 dead Russians in just August the state statistics office said in figures published on its website.”

    Forest Fires A Huge Cost To Health

    ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2006) — Forest fires don’t just have an impact on the environment, but on human health, according to a new study from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada,which attempted to put a pricetag on the actual economic losses caused by one such fire.

    The study, published recently in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, assessed the economic impact of air quality changes arising from forest fires and found that the increases in human health risks were ‘substantial’ in economic terms and were second only to timber losses in terms of dollars and cents.

    Making a case study of a 2001 fire in Chisholm, Alberta, that ravaged 116,000 hectares of forest land and burned buildings in and around the town, researchers used satellite imagery and monitoring stations to assess the contributions of the fire to concentrations of particulate matter (PM) in the air. The seven-day blaze caused PM levels 160 kilometres away in Edmonton, Alberta, to soar well above the air quality guidelines for Canada.

    In terms of values of health risks, the study estimates the effects as between $9 million and $12 million, with 95 per cent of the impacts related to increases in mortality risk, restricted activity days, lost wages, and acute respiratory symptoms suffered by those affected by the poorer air quality. “The overall health impacts were significant, when compared to other related costs such as fire-fighting,” said Dr. Vic Adamowicz, a professor of rural economy at the University of Alberta and co-author of the study. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060810211036.htm

  73. Prokaryotes says:

    Rise in Oxygen Drove Evolution of Animal Life 550 Million Years Ago

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 18, 2010) — Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) at the University of Oxford have uncovered a clue that may help to explain why the earliest evidence of complex multicellular animal life appears around 550 million years ago, when atmospheric oxygen levels on the planet rose sharply from 3% to their modern day level of 21%. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101217145647.htm

    Measurable, but so far negligible, decline in planet’s oxygen caused by climate change.

    Since 1989, Ralph Keeling has been monitoring oxygen levels around the globe. As well as continuous measurements at permanent monitoring stations, flasks of air are captured in some of the wilder parts of the planet, such as Cold Bay in Alaska and Cape Grim in Tasmania, and sent to Keeling’s lab at the University of California, San Diego, for analysis.

    Originally, Keeling measured the speed of light in the air samples with a laser beam. Because light moves faster in oxygen than nitrogen, this reveals the oxygen content. Now he and his collaborators use several methods, including mass spectroscopy and ultraviolet probes. Some of these techniques are being used on board a plane that is zigzagging from pole to pole. All the methods give the same result: the concentration of oxygen is declining everywhere at the same rate, about 20 parts per million (ppm) per year. In other words, for every million molecules of O2 in the air in 1989, there are now only about 999,600.

    This fall comes as no surprise. When you burn a hydrocarbon fuel such as oil, its hydrogen and carbon atoms combine with oxygen from the atmosphere to create water and carbon dioxide. As we drive up levels of CO2 by burning fossil fuels, we also deplete oxygen. http://www.350resources.org.uk/2010/07/22/measurable-but-so-far-negligible-decline-in-planets-oxygen-caused-by-climate-change/

  74. Windsong says:

    I figured that… ain’t natural!

  75. Prokaryotes says:

    El Llano is a dead town now. Flood victims, Panama Dec 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVdUkA9A1IU

  76. Prokaryotes says:

    We live in a desert. Nothing like this has happened before in our neighborhood. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka_M675NAI8

    My guess this video was recorded today/yesterday around CA Baja area. Why can’t people post the location/exact date of their videos …

  77. Prokaryotes says:

    California Board Endorses Forest Clearcutting in Fight Against Global Warming

    SACRAMENTO, Calif.— A cap-and-trade program approved Thursday by the California Air Resources Board includes damaging loopholes that would incentivize clearcutting in the name of reducing carbon emissions. The program — adopted as part of California’s effort to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions — would allow industrial polluters to purchase carbon “offset credits” instead of reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions. Among the options is buying offset credits from forest clearcutting.

    “Clearcutting forests is not the solution to global warming,” said Brian Nowicki, California climate policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Including forest clearcutting not only threatens forest ecosystems and important wildlife habitat, but the integrity of California’s cap-and-trade program as a whole.” http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2010/clearcutting-credits-12-17-2010.html

  78. Prokaryotes says:

    Flash flooding in Palo Cedro, CA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu5WkBGgoUs

    California Flood at Poliwog Park, Manhattan Beach, Winter Storm December 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9OP9VokR0w

  79. Mike says:

    Two stories from Sydney Morning Herald.

    Rising sea levels will swamp parts of Sydney
    Tom Arup ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT
    December 16, 2010

    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

    See also: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/maps-predict-how-climate-will-affect-coast-20101215-18xtq.html
    —–

    South-east Asia will be hardest hit by climate change, ONA predicts
    Philip Dorling and Richard Baker
    December 16, 2010

    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.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/southeast-asia-will-be-hardest-hit-by-climate-change-ona-predicts-20101216-18yuc.html

  80. Mike says:

    Climate change could cut premontane forests of Argentina and Bolivia in half
    Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com
    December 19, 2010

    A new study in mongabay.com’s open access journal Tropical Conservation Science finds that the premontane forests of Argentina and Bolivia are susceptible to large-scale shifts due to climate change, losing over half of the ecosystem to warmer temperatures. Apart of the Yungas tropical forests, premontane forests are the lowest in the Andes, covering hills and flatland; these forests harbor significant biodiversity, yet many of those species may become threatened as the world warms.

    http://news.mongabay.com/2010/1220-hance_tcs_mountain_forests.html

  81. Colorado Bob says:

    Cryosat ice mission returns first science

    Radar data from the European satellite has been used to make a map of ocean circulation across the Arctic basin.

    Cryosat’s primary mission is to measure sea-ice thickness, which has been in sharp decline in recent decades.

    But its ability also to map the shape of the sea surface will tell scientists if Arctic currents are changing as a result of winds being allowed to blow more easily on ice-free waters.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12025283

  82. Colorado Bob says:

    The Western Australia town of Carnarvon has been cut off from the rest of the country after the worst flooding there in decades.

    The rainfall has been equal to the amount that would normally fall over 2-years – 400mm of rain has fallen in the region, 900km north of Perth, in the past week.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Western-Australia-suffers-record-flooding/tabid/417/articleID/191659/Default.aspx

  83. Prokaryotes says:

    Southland slogs through storm system of a decade
    Sunday’s storm brought some floods, mudslides and record-breaking rainfall, and there’s more to come. Three new storms will hit by Thursday in a weather system seen only once every 10 to 15 years.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-weather-20101220,0,4668966.story

  84. Paulm says:

    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.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Climate-Portals/139434822741700

  85. John McCormick says:

    The US will bury carbon capture and sequestration research in two years. It’s up there with magneto-hydrodynamics and fusion research….ideas that have no potential for commercial use. Time and money ran out.

    John McCormick

  86. Prokaryotes says:

    VIDEO … Worst Floods on Record …

    Summer Storms Lash Both Australian Coasts

    Heavy rain has brought record floods to one region in northwestern Australia, while storms battered Melbourne in the southeast. And despite the summer season, there are prospects for a white Christmas in the mountains in Victoria. (Dec. 20) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB_W_Q_Daaw&feature=player_embedded

  87. fj3 says:

    Deep Water Wind Farm Proposed Off Northeast Coast of U.S. from Yale e360 http://e360.yale.edu/digest/deep_water_wind_farm_proposed_off_northeast_coast_of_us/2729/

  88. Paulm says:

    “The term ’100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year.”

    And we have ourselves to blame most of the time, scientists and disaster experts say.

    http://climatesignals.org/2010/12/2010-weather-more-extreme-21000-dead/

  89. Paulm says:

    The year an’t done yet….

  90. paulm says:

    Interesting, Accuweather had a post and link on this in their GW section. Then they dropped it. I wonder why?

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/decadaltemp.php

  91. paulm says:

    Get your fossil fuel flights in quick before it all goes belly up….

    ‘Too early’ to gauge storm’s wallop on Canadian airlines
    http://www.ctv.ca/generic/generated/static/business/article1845118.html

  92. paulm says:

    If 2011 & 2012 are anything as warm as 2010 were in big trouble.
    Well before the models predict. Well before a 1C global temp rise.

    Hurricane in December ????
    http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at201095_model.html?MR=1

    Extreme weather batters Australia (1:07)
    http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=163877406

    Australia Summer Marked By Snow, Heavy Flooding (VIDEO)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/20/australia-summer-marked-b_n_799110.html

    N.B. braces for more severe weather
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/12/20/nb-severe-weather-warning-934.html

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/12/20/tech-disasters-earthquakes-heat-waves.html

  93. paulm says:

    Earthquakes & Global Warming…Is there a link?

    Was the 2010 Haiti Earthquake triggered by deforestation and the 2008 hurricanes?
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1712

    While the slow creep of the tectonic plates makes earthquakes inevitable along major faults, the timing and exact location of the quake epicenter can be influenced by outside forces pushing down on Earth’s crust.

    For example, the sloshing of water into the Eastern Pacific during El Niño events has been linked to magnitude 4, 5, and 6 earthquakes on the seafloor below, due to the extra weight of water caused by local sea level rise.

    Sea level rise due to rapid melting of Earth’s ice sheets could also potentially trigger earthquakes, though it is unknown at what melting rate such an effect might become significant.

  94. Leland Palmer says:

    Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) can reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations by 50-150 ppm.

    Wikipedia: BECCS

    No other proposed technology can do this, at any reasonable cost.

    Want to get back to 350 ppm atmospheric CO2 in our lifetimes?

    Support CCS, and demand BECCS.