Energy and global warming news for January 31, 2011: Deep recession fails to reverse rising global emissions, as China’s CO2 surges 13%; Eco-friendly 7-Elevens

Posted on  

"Energy and global warming news for January 31, 2011: Deep recession fails to reverse rising global emissions, as China’s CO2 surges 13%; Eco-friendly 7-Elevens"

China now surpasses U.S. emissions by over 40%!

An atlas of pollution illustration

Click to enlarge

An atlas of pollution: the world in carbon dioxide emissions

The deepest recession since the 1930s has failed to reverse rising global carbon emissions, as plummeting industrial output in the west was offset by the continuing rapid expansion of China and a handful of other emerging economies, new statistics for 2009 show.

While US emissions fell substantially in 2009, to levels not seen since 1995-96, China surged ahead with an increase of more than 13% on the previous year – the equivalent of adding the yearly emissions of Germany, Greece and Peru combined.

Europe, Russia, Canada and South Africa saw their emissions dip, and India has risen to third place in the league table, with the strong growth in its carbon output driven by a ramping-up of coal burning to generate power.

Overall, by these estimates, global emissions fell by a tiny 0.1%. For short periods in the wake of less severe recessions, such as those in 1981-83, and 1991-92, emissions fell more steeply only to continue their upward trend shortly afterwards.

These statistics, from the US Energy Information Administration, track only carbon dioxide emitted by energy use – such as from coal and gas power stations, and motor vehicles. They exclude emissions from other sources such as methane from livestock, and deforestation.

The map reveals how heavily future emissions trends depend on China, which overtook the US as the world’s biggest emitter in 2006-07. China’s emissions have so far risen just as fast as its runaway economic growth, but the government is hoping to “decouple” the two in the next decade, reducing the country’s emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45% by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. Doing so will be essential if global greenhouse gas emissions are to fall in line with scientific warnings.

After CES buzz last week, energy talks could restart soon (subs. req’d)

After taking a months-long break from energy negotiations, senators appear poised to restart debate on some of President Obama’s so-called bite-sized pieces of energy legislation.

The “chunk” of energy policy that has gotten the most buzz in recent days is the proposal for a “clean energy” mandate, which Obama touted high up in his State of the Union speech last week.

The idea would require utilities to generate a certain percentage of their electricity from low-carbon sources, like renewables, nuclear or “clean coal.” The president’s promotion of such a policy in his prime-time address buoyed the hopes of many environmentalists and renewable energy advocates who had all but given up on seeing substantial energy legislation move through the closely divided Senate or Republican House this year.

But such a proposal still has naysayers. And the details are far from finalized.

For one, the White House and Congress have yet to firmly establish which energy sources would be considered “clean” under such a mandate. And Obama’s proposal to produce 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from clean sources by 2035 is seen by some would-be champions on Capitol Hill as being too aggressive.

7-Eleven experiments with eco-friendly stores

At the 7-Eleven across from the Shusse Inari shrine here, the glare of fluorescent light bulbs that is synonymous with convenience stores has been replaced by the soft glow of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that consume half the energy and last much longer.
The store, which opened a year ago here in the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, is the prototype of the latest eco-friendly 7-Eleven, one of 100 that will be open in Japan by the end of February.

An ambitious green project calls for the company to build 100 more such stores in the country this year and to convert another 100 existing outlets into “eco-konbinis” “” the Japanese term for convenience store “” powered by solar energy and equipped with electric-vehicle chargers. The plan is to continue that pattern in the years ahead.

At that rate, it would take more than half a century to turn the 12,000 7-Elevens in Japan green, but the company says that as the costs of outfitting a store come down, the number of conversions is expected to go up.

And refitting a mere 100 stores as eco-konbinis will cut carbon emissions significantly “” the equivalent of taking about 600 cars off the road, according to Ken Zweibel, director of the Institute for Analysis of Solar Energy at George Washington University in Washington.

States say electric grid tops their priority list (subs. req’d)

The country’s electricity transmission system is the top issue in the energy and environment arena facing states in 2011, according to the Council of State Governments.

With the end of Recovery Act dollars and state budgets still facing gaping holes, the council recently released a study highlighting the top five issues in various policy areas affecting states.

“States face a variety of challenges in the energy and environment arena in 2011, many of them long-standing issues that are now reaching a critical stage where action is needed to prevent worsening impacts,” the council’s study begins. “Many, however, also present an opportunity for states to stimulate job creation and create clean energy. Since many of the issues interlink, action taken in one area will often affect the others.”

Like the country’s outdated electricity transmission system, many of the problems are longstanding and require cohesive and comprehensive solutions, CSG officials said.

Of the electricity transmission system, the council said that current estimates show that it will take at least $55 billion to maintain and expand the grid to meet just current and short-term energy needs.

“These are long-standing issues impacting the environment and energy sector,” said John Mountjoy, CSG’s director of policy and research. “States are having to balance how to generate the revenue it would take to upgrade the grid with the nation’s ailing economy. If states succeed in growing more manufacturing, more businesses, that naturally will require a greater demand on energy. But without the income provided by those new industries, it’s hard to come up with funding to improve the grid. It’s a real Catch-22 and another example of how we are struggling across the country with an aging infrastructure.”

EPA’s Jackson summoned to discuss chemicals in tap water (subs. req’d)

With the Obama administration moving toward stricter rules on a pair of toxic chemicals that have been found in public water supplies, the head of U.S. EPA has been summoned to Capitol Hill to explain the agency’s plans to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

That issue has emerged as a priority for EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) early in the new Congress. Last week, she introduced bills that would require EPA to set standards for perchlorate, a rocket-fuel component that is believed to have contaminated water supplies in at least 35 states, and chromium-6, a chemical that is suspected to cause cancer and was recently found in the water of about 30 U.S. cities.

Boxer’s bills would force the hand of the Obama administration, which is already considering limiting the two chemicals.

For three months now, the White House has been reviewing an EPA decision on perchlorate. The agency is expected to reverse the George W. Bush-era decision not to regulate the chemical under the Safe Water Drinking Act.

EPA is also planning to release a peer-reviewed analysis of chromium-6, which was classified as a probable carcinogen in a draft report last September. Based on staffers’ findings, “it is likely that EPA will tighten drinking water standards to address the health risks” of the toxic chemical, according to a summary of a meeting last month between Jackson and 10 senators (E&ENews PM, Dec. 22, 2010).

High-profile reports on the spread of both chemicals have recently prompted action in Boxer’s home state of California. One study came from the Environmental Working Group, which found that U.S. cities including Los Angeles have elevated levels of chromium-6 in drinking water.

« »

64 Responses to Energy and global warming news for January 31, 2011: Deep recession fails to reverse rising global emissions, as China’s CO2 surges 13%; Eco-friendly 7-Elevens

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Midwest braced for a massive winter storm on Monday that could bring over 18 inches of snow and strong winds making travel virtually impossible. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/31/us-weather-midwest-storm-idUSTRE70U4NP20110131

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    Scientists develop train that can go faster than airplane
    A model Maglev train that can travel as fast as a plane has been successfully developed in a laboratory in Southwest China,

    Under research conducted by the Traction Power State Key Laboratory at the Southwest Jiaotong University, the vacuum magnetic suspension train model was able to run at between 600 and 1,200 kilometers per hour, equal to the speed of a plane, according to Shuai Bin, vice dean of the university’s Traffic School.

    The new technology is expected to be put into operation within 10 years and promoted across the country in 2030, the Shanghai-based Science Pictorial reported Sunday.

    Passengers will be able to travel from Beijing to Guangzhou in under two hours. A flight from the capital to Guangzhou takes three hours.

    http://china.globaltimes.cn/society/2011-01/618776.html

  3. catman306 says:

    Dr. Jeff Masters on the midwest snow and ice storm.
    $1 Billion in damages possible.

    Potentially historic winter storm poised to impact 100 million Americans

    Updated: 11:09 AM EST on January 31, 2011

    A huge and potentially historic winter storm is taking shape over the Southern Plains today. By the time the storm exits New England on Wednesday night, as many as 50 million Americans may see heavy snows of at least 6 inches or dangerous ice accumulations of 1/4″ or more from the massive storm, and 100 million will be affected by the storm. A potent jet stream with strong winds will dive southwards over the central U.S. today, allowing a cold Arctic airmass to spill southwards out of Canada. In front of this cold air, a flow of very warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico will surge northwards, providing copious moisture to fuel snowfall amounts that will likely approach two feet across portions of Iowa and Illinois on Tuesday. The storm could be Chicago’s biggest blizzard since January 1999, when a storm dumped 21.6″ of snow. Accompanying the heavy snow on Tuesday will be strong winds gusting to 40 mph in Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana, and a blizzard watch is posted for Chicago. Strong winds in Chicago are expected to generate 14 – 18 feet waves on Lake Michigan, with occasional waves up to 25 feet. A significant coastal flooding event is possible for Chicago, with beach erosion and flooding along Lake Shore Drive. Many major cities will likely receive over 8 inches of snow from the storm, including Kansas City, St. Louis, and Detroit. Perhaps of greater concern is the potential for a major ice storm along a swath from Northwest Oklahoma to Massachusetts. Widespread freezing rain is expected to bring over 1/4″ of ice to many major cities, including St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. Some regions could see up to an inch of ice, and widespread power outages due to toppled power lines are likely for millions of people. Damages exceeding $1 billions are possible from this ice storm. In addition, the storm’s powerful cold front will bring the potential for severe thunderstorms to the deep South. The NOAA Storm Prediction Center is giving Louisiana and surrounding states a “slight risk” of severe weather on Tuesday, and severe thunderstorms with damaging winds are likely Tuesday afternoon in this region.

  4. There is something fishy with this data: No way Canada’s emission’s dropped nearly 10% in 2009. The Canadian govt has been reporting that it’s forests are huge carbon sinks when that is highly questionable given the amount of deforestation, ongoing forest fires, insect outbreaks…

    FYI There is no independent monitoring or verification of this self-reported data.

  5. Mark says:

    I’d have preferred the data in GHG emmissions per head of population.

    [JR: The planet doesn't care.]

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Stephen Leahy @ 4 -
    I have an article in the archive at NewsVine from the Vancouver Sun that says the B.C. forests are no longer carbon sinks due to the pine bark beetle

  7. catman306 says:

    Instead of spending many $billions on powerlines, why not spend many of those $billions on rooftop solar and wind generation? Instead of top down distribution of power, why not bottom-up distribution? This would negate the need for a vast and costly distribution network. The one we already have would almost do the job.

    The bottom-up collection of funds works magnificently for the mega-banks.

  8. paulm says:

    # Prok, travel disruption.
    With extreme weather impacts on the airline industry happening every other year on top of the societal disruptions and oil prices, I cant see air travel for the masses lasting much longer.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/ClimateFlightAction/165484890164497

  9. paulm says:

    After food protests, water riots are next
    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=189087167783314&id=139434822741700

    Governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Yemen have faced protests in recent weeks, part fuelled by rising food costs. Unfortunately, this is a trend that looks set to continue and probably escalate over the next two decades.

  10. paulm says:

    Some are starting to plan in ernest….why dont they ramp up the visibility to the public to get them aware.

    UK: Changing Climate, Changing Infrastructure
    Department For Environment Food And Rural Affairs
    Published Monday, 31 January, 2011
    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=132212746846168&id=139434822741700
    Roads, railways, energy and water supply networks and other infrastructure all need to be able to cope with the effects of a changing climate.

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    Tokyo – About 1,200 cars were stranded Monday in central Japan as heavy snowfall blanketed in many parts of the country.

    As a winter snowstorm dumped more snow on to the Sea of Japan coastline, local authorities closed sections of major roads and highways in Fukui prefecture.

    The fresh snowfall pushed the snow accumulation to 64 centimetres in Kanazawa and to 118 centimetres in Fukui, surpassing 100 centimetres for the first time in 25 years, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/365069,transport-1200-cars-stuck.html

  12. paulm says:

    Engineers battle power of the ocean – Daily Commercial News
    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=123004724440014&id=139434822741700

    “The challenge,” says Gary Griggs at the University of California Santa Cruz, “is that we have built most of our civilization within a few feet of sea level or right at the edge.”
    “It’s going to be either managed or unmanaged, but it’s going to be retreat.”

  13. paulm says:

    ‘Hot’ author calls for ‘Green Apollo’ project to save the planet
    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=189829121044480&id=139434822741700

    The author recommends a “Green Apollo’’ project on a scale of President Kennedy’s Apollo mission to reach the moon. President Obama can become the “Abraham Lincoln of our time,’’ Hertsgaard suggests. Just as we remember Lincoln for abolishing slavery, we would remember Obama “for saving the world from climate catastrophe.’’

    One cannot help but wonder whether one more book about global warming will make much of a difference. After all Thomas Friedman, Al Gore, Bill McKibben, and scores of other writers have long been sounding alarm bells that have been greeted with a collective yawn.

    Most Americans are living in relative comfort and are not yet feeling the effects of global warming, Hertsgaard notes.

  14. paulm says:

    It’s soaking in down under….

    Act now or suffer later
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/act-now-or-suffer-later-20110131-1ab5a.html

    WITH much of Queensland still under water, most NSW councils have developed plans and strategies to deal with climate change but have not allocated any money to take action.

  15. paulm says:

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Petroleum giant Chevron Corp. said Friday it plans to get out of the coal industry by the end of the year.
    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=186895278000115&id=139434822741700

  16. paulm says:

    some things going up/down ….
    is it Saudi Arabia has no more oil or maybe a huge ice sheet is about to break away?

    Clinton Ambassador Meeting: Unprecedented Mass Meeting Of Top Envoys
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/31/clinton-ambassador-meeting_n_816146.html

  17. OregonStream says:

    Mark, I’d agree with Joe that the planet doesn’t care. But the human mind might, given some of the discourse seeking to shift attention to China. They are indeed a looming threat, but Western nations are not only a big consumer of Chinese goods made with all that coal, but they’re not quite speaking from a position of strength with their higher per-capita emission rates at home. So it would be good for such stories to at least include average emission per person along with the totals.

  18. dp says:

    gotta say when i thought this stuff through 4 years ago, since al gore already had deep contacts in industry & finance, i really thought his NGOs would be more active in directly eliminating the kinds of problems described in that grid article, by coordinating state-level & corporate movement toward a national distributed grid and so on.

    it was easy to see the federal response would be volatile and timid, and he himself has expressed deep doubts at the institution’s ability to address the problems; i’m surprised he concentrated his group’s considerable resources on the federal regulatory angle, when he & doerr had enough money to actually create a shadow department of energy.

  19. paulm says:

    18 cbob, car makers get to sell more cars!
    Didn’t something like this happen about a year ago there?

  20. dp says:

    *by “shadow department of energy” i mean in the parliamentary sense, not the conspiratorial sense.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_government#Politics

    but then in the wake of the 2000 election i thought the beltway democrats had every excuse in the world to create a whole parliamentary shadow government, and instead they crumpled, so what do i know.

  21. Colorado Bob says:

    Didn’t something like this happen about a year ago there?

    14 months ago , 99mm killed 120 odd people, This one was even more intense 111 mm in less time. Far fewer deaths this time, people remembered that 1ast one.

    Jeddah City Saudi Arabia is conservatives paradise, a city of 3 million with only 10% storm drains, and zero domestic sewer system. They all have septic tanks, how you think that works out with 3 million people , and 4 inches in three hours running across a desert?

    There is only one other kingdom that has received anywhere near the amount of wealth Saudi Arabia hasmade since WW II . That was the Spanish Kings, it took them 300 years to loot South American , and their second largest city didn’t get a sewer system either.

  22. catman306 says:

    Coloradao Bob, I was watching the video of the flooding in Jeddah, watching cars float away in the flood and had an idea whose time has come:

    Life Saver for Cars.
    Imagine a large, tough life raft, with four properly spaced rectangular holes in the floor, which is also inflated, buoyant enough to support a car. This life raft could be stored in the trunk of a car, taken out, unrolled and spread out, and with the car properly positioned could be quickly inflated with compressed gas. Probably within a minute or two. This life raft for cars could save some cars from the total destruction of a raging flashflood. The high outer ring of the raft would help fend off collisions that will no doubt occur. The car’s occupants could stay in the car, ready to bail out if they have to. This is not a car float; think of it as an airbag. Like an airbag, it would only be used once. Like an airbag, it saves your life, or it doesn’t.

    This low tech device could be manufactured anywhere. They would be used anywhere the weather is unpredictable. That’s nearly everywhere. There is a market!

    This idea may be freely used by anyone in any nation, but patented by no person or corporation.

  23. Colorado Bob says:

    By the way Saudi Arabia has been arresting people in Jeddah City for raising Cain about this.Human waste from 1,000,000 septic Tanks is in all that mud. Twice in 14 months. The first one ate 10,000 cars.

    Remember Jeddah City is a short boat ride away from Suez where the police stations are in ashes. Floods don’t pick and choose rich or poor, they take it all.

    Ask the Grand Ole’ Opera.

  24. Colorado Bob says:

    catman306 -
    I was living at Estes Park in 1976 when the Big Thompson Flood came. They hauled cars for 6 months out of that canyon, you couldn’t tell the color of them let alone the model and make.

    Those cars were floating because that stuff is as thick as a Lahar, or a milkshake.

  25. paulm says:

    The vengeance of Gaia….

    Bligh rules out blanket release of mine floodwater
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/01/3126415.htm

    The industry has been calling for permission to empty mines into waterways ahead of the deluge associated with Cyclone Yasi.

    However, Premier Anna Bligh says the environment also has to be considered.

    “We will not be giving a blanket permit for mines to empty highly salinated, potentially contaminated water into drinking waterways and to waterways that go onto the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

  26. Colorado Bob says:

    the Big Thompson Flood came.

    A wall of water rocks and logs 40 feet high in the narrows west of Loveland, Colorado. A rain storm after a week of heavy rain storms.

    2 men in an International Harvester Travel All ambulance surfed this wave, the current pushed them into some rocks and they scrambled out . They were the 1st rescues the next morning when the helicopter got up. 13 – 14 hours in the dark there as the river cut out every once of sediment for 30 miles upstream . Right down to bed rock.

  27. Colorado Bob says:

    Right down to bed rock. Huge scower holes from when the river carried the glacier melt in Rocky Nation National Park. 10 – 15 feet across.

  28. Vic says:

    The atmosfear continues downunder with what’s being described as a “super-cyclone” and possibly the biggest storm ever to hit Queensland, due to cross the coast about 40 hours from now. Severe tropical cyclone Yasi is expected to be a “high category 4″ bringing wind speeds of up to 260kmh (160mph) and rainfalls of up to one meter (39 inches) !!!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/31/3126169.htm

  29. Colorado Bob says:

    I started a new month of cataloging this stuff. Over 100 reports for January 2011.

    The Extreme Rain Events of 2011 – January

    http://coloradobob1.newsvine.com/_news/2011/01/03/5755524-the-extreme-rain-events-of-2011-january

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    Re canada boreal & carbon sink

    Logging in Canada’s Boreal Forest could trigger “carbon bomb” impacting global climate
    Feature story – April 9, 2008
    Logging in Canada’s Boreal Forest is exacerbating global warming by releasing greenhouse gases and reducing carbon storage, says a new Greenpeace report released today. It also makes the forest more susceptible to global warming impacts like wildfires and insect outbreaks, which in turn release more greenhouse gases.

    If this vicious circle is left unchecked, it could culminate in a massive and sudden release of greenhouse gases referred to as “the carbon bomb,” the report warns. Canada’s Boreal Forest stores 186 billion tonnes of carbon-equivalent to 27 times the world’s annual fossil fuel emissions. A widespread outbreak of forest or peat fires could release much of this carbon, causing a disastrous spike in emissions.

    Did you know …
    Warming conditions are causing more droughts, forest fires, and insect outbreaks in parts of the Boreal Forest
    Logged areas continue to emit carbon dioxide long after the trees are gone-often for 10 years or more.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/boreal/recent-developments/turninguptheheat/

    Peat and Repeat: Can Major Carbon Sinks Be Restored by Rewetting the World’s Drained Bogs?
    Bogs, swamps and mires help keep 500 billion metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere, so preserving peatlands is emerging as a new priority

    Drainage of peatlands and their deforestation actually makes Indonesia the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, behind China and the U.S. The country’s emissions of CO2 from peat degradation—1.9 billion metric tons per year—are 1.5 times larger than those from all of its fossil fuel burning.

    But with the world’s growing demand for cheap paper products and thirst for palm oil, can the peatlands of Indonesia and far beyond be saved? And what will happen in the peatlands of Canada’s far north as development of the unconventional fossil fuels known as tar sands takes off there?

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=peat-and-repeat-rewetting-carbon-sinks

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    From January 1st forward in the comment thread. Feb. has a Yasi satellite shot for the graphic with Anthony raining inland. Well over 350 reports in 13 months, most make Nashville look like a kiddy pool. Deniers have no argument for rain gauges that read meter deep rains. They have no argument for dead coral either, sea surface temps don’t have urban heat island effect. This storm is going to spread the last 60 days of run-off from Queensland, far & wide alone the inside of the reef.

  32. Ben Lieberman says:

    So why not start the move to carbon import taxes?

  33. catman306 says:

    Colorado Bob, of course a life saver for cars would be useless for most in a narrow canyon flash flood. Staying on top of the muck might save some and the occupants. Is there some other alternative?

  34. Colorado Bob says:

    Cairns Queensland

    Take a good look ….. it’s about to be destroyed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CairnsQueensland.jpg

    Noticed the mountains , a typhoon in southern Taiwan in Aug. 2009 rained 10 feet of rain . It’s got mountains too.

  35. Bill Hannahan says:

    Manufacturing emissions should be credited to the final consumer of the products. That would shrink China’s domestic equivalent emissions substantially, since China exports a great deal to the U.S. and the rest of the world. That would probably keep the U.S. as the leading producer of emissions.

    I agree with a previous comment that per person is the proper way to list emissions.

    California emissions would be in particular higher under that accounting system, since high energy prices for decades have driven energy intensive industry out of California. A great deal of invested energy crosses California’s borders in the form of manufactured goods.

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    Era of leaded gasoline still poisoning vegetable gardens across America

    (NaturalNews) Vegetable gardens across the United States are contaminated with lead, even those using presumably safe soil from newly made compost, according to a study conducted by researchers from Wellesley College and presented at a meeting of the Geological Society of America.

    The most common sources of lead contamination in the United States are still leaded paint and gasoline used before those products were banned. Because lead is a chemical element, it never degrades. It is a powerful neurotoxin that can produce behavioral irregularities or permanent mental retardation.

    “Adverse effects from lead can occur at very low levels,” warns Robert Ivker in his book Sinus Survival.

    “Early symptoms of lead poisoning — such as nervousness, irritability, headaches, fatigue, muscular problems, constipation, and indigestion — are hard to pinpoint as lead-related.”

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031157_gasoline_poison.html

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    Republican committee targets organic farmers for funding cuts, avoids Big Ag subsidies
    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031154_organic_farmers_subsidies.html

    Malaysia unleashes 6,000 genetically-modified mosquitoes into wild
    (NaturalNews) Malaysian officials recently set loose thousands of “Frankenbugs” into the forests of Asia, purportedly to help curb the spread of dengue fever. Scientists programmed the 6,000 genetically-modified (GM) Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes in such a way that when they breed with females, the offspring will die early and thus reduce their overall population.

    Only Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes are able to spread dengue fever, according to reports, so officials saw no problem with allowing the modified males to be released in an attempt to help reduce the mosquitoes’ overall population. But Malaysian environmentalist groups and others expressed concern about the long-term effects of releasing such creatures into the wild.

    Back in November, it was revealed that British scientists working for biotechnology giant Oxitec released millions of non-reproducing GM mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands as an experiment as well. The alleged goal of the endeavor was also to see if dengue fever could be wiped out by the introduction of GM mosquitoes

    But simply wiping out an entire species may cause more harm than good, say opponents. If the offending mosquitoes are completely eliminated, they may simply be replaced in the ecosystem with another harmful species. And since little is know about the chain-reaction of events that may occur as a result, the project is really nothing more than a giant, untested experiment that cannot be reversed.

    Unbeknownst to most people, mosquitoes are actually very important pollinators. They are also a food source for other species like birds and bats, some of which also play a vital role in agriculture. In other words, without mosquitoes, the food chain as we know it would cease to exist.

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031162_Malaysia_mosquitos.html

  38. Edward says:

    3 Catman306: Your Winter storm is a flurry. Rochester, N.Y. late 1960s: 108 inches [9 FEET] of snow in 24 hours. EVERYBODY got to work on time. When it got to 6 feet, they went home to shovel snow off of roofs. Spare us your complaints about snow flurries. 30 inches of snow is a flurry. I hope you have a second story window and snowshoes.

    Olean, Little Valley [Cattaraugus County seat], Salamanca N.Y. got 450 inches of snow per year in the 1950s and 1960s. Now get only 96 inches of snow per year. Olean schools NEVER EVER had a day off for snow. Some places in Alaska get 100 feet of snow per year.

    Lake effect snow doesn’t happen just at the edge of the lake. Snow forms an image of the lake that is downwind a few hundred miles from the lake. The image is imperfect because of topography. Where the wind has to go up hill, it has to compensate by dumping snow. Thus Olean, New York is in the image of Lake Erie. Olean is pronounced Oley-AAAn. Olean is up hill from Lake Erie but in a valley surrounded by the Allegheny Plateau.

    Snow is something that happens when it is a warm winter. When it gets cold, as in 40 below, the snow stops. That is because it can’t get to 40 below in western NY state until the Great Lakes freeze over. The lakes are the source of water to make snow. Also, at 40 below, 100% relative humidity is very low absolute humidity.

    If you think snow = cold, you are either a youngster or a southerner who just moved north. People who are old enough to remember the climate we had a half century ago know that we have a warmer climate now. The mississippi River froze over so you could drive on it at St Louis MO in the covered wagon days. Now you have to go to Minnesota to drive on frozen rivers.

    Just be glad it still snows. When it doesn’t, we are done for.

    The word is “flurry” not “blizzard” and severe/bad weather comes in August.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Bigger Faster Stronger

    Monster cyclone likely to hit Cairns
    http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/monster-cyclone-likely-to-hit-cairns-20110201-1abch.html

    Airlines ground planes as monster snowstorm approaches http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/02/01/snow.storm/?hpt=C2

  40. Prokaryotes says:

    George W Bush: I’m Through With Politics, Don’t Want To Campaign Or Fundraise

    I don’t want to go out and campaign for candidates. I don’t want to be viewed as a perpetual money-raiser. I don’t want to be on these talk shows giving my opinion, second-guessing the current president. I think it’s bad for the country, frankly, to have a former president criticize his successor. It’s tough enough to president as it is without a former president undermining the current president. Plus, I don’t want to do that. In other words, in spite of the fact that I’m now on TV, I don’t want to be on TV … I tell people that one of the interesting sacrifices, I don’t think you sacrifice to run for president, but to the extent you do is you lose your anonymity. I like the idea of trying to regain anonymity to a certain extent. And being out of the press, at least in this stage of the post-presidency is something that makes me very comfortable and its somewhat liberating, frankly. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/28/george-w-bush-through-with-politics_n_815396.html

    9/11 Inside Job – The Most Damning Evidence Yet! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezIU6ZxYU3A

  41. Prokaryotes says:

    Former CIA Official Exposes Bush Administration Fraud
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a3Bfox0k4g&NR=1&feature=fvwp

    See video descriptions …

  42. Prokaryotes says:

    Monster cyclone likely to hit Cairns

    BOM senior forecaster Ann Farrell told AAP Yasi was continuing to intensify and she could not rule out the chance of it reaching category five.

    “It is possible it could reach category five intensity, and that would push winds up to around the 300km/h mark,” Ms Farrell said.

    “Certainly for north Queensland, we need to prepare for the eventuality of something really significant heading into areas that may not have seen this before,” he told AAP.

    Yasi is expected to be Queensland’s worst cyclone, covering something approaching twice the physical size of Cyclone Larry, which devastated Innisfail in 2006 and left a $1.5 billion damage bill.

    “It’s devastating for Queenslanders to be facing such a severe cyclone only weeks after the worst floods in the state’s history,” http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/monster-cyclone-likely-to-hit-cairns-20110201-1abch.html

  43. Prokaryotes says:

    Very important work Colorado Bob,
    actually a governmental institution should do this too. But it seems that the biggest threat in the history of the human species, will be dealt with whimpers and pure denial.

  44. Prokaryotes says:

    Europe has been buying crude from Iran at a record rate, even as it imposes sanctions against the Middle East country for its nuclear program.

  45. Prokaryotes says:

    Fla. judge in Obama health suit has own med story

    “Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals,” he wrote, “Not only because the required purchases will positively impact interstate commerce, but also because people who eat healthier tend to be healthier and are thus more productive and put less of a strain on the health care system.”

    Defenders of the law said that analogy was flawed. Insurance can’t work if people are allowed to opt out until they need medical attention. Premiums collected from many who are healthy pay the cost of care for those who get sick. Since the uninsured can get treated in the emergency room, deciding not to get coverage has consequences for other people who act prudently do buy coverage.

    “The judge’s decision contradicts decades of Supreme Court precedent that support the considered judgment of the democratically elected branches of government that the act’s individual responsibility provision is necessary to prevent billions of dollars of cost-shifting every year by individuals without insurance who cannot pay for the health care they obtain,” White House adviser Stephanie Cutter wrote in an Internet posting. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIlJQcup8-qoIDl1z29YmBdxmkVw?docId=778f50a6fca1496cbbc6fb7084980c99

  46. Prokaryotes says:

    Drillers defend injecting diesel into ground
    3 in Congress suspect water law broken during hydraulic fracturing

    Drilling companies injected more than 32 million gallons of fluids containing diesel into the ground during hydraulic fracturing operations from 2005 to 2009, according to federal lawmakers, but the industry says the practice was legal.

    In a letter sent Monday to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado said the diesel injections in 19 states may have violated the Safe Drinking Water Act because the companies did not seek permits for the activities.

    “We learned that no oil and gas service companies have sought — and no state and federal regulators have issued – permits for diesel fuel use in hydraulic fracturing,” wrote the representatives, the ranking Democratic members of three House panels with oversight on energy and environmental matters.

    “This appears to be a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It also means that the companies injecting diesel fuel have not performed environmental reviews required by the law.” http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/energy/7406933.html

    Put the guys behind bars, they are criminals which threaten the health of generations.

  47. Prokaryotes says:

    TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: In Queensland, a new emergency is looming. As the state grapples with the aftermath of the worst floods in its history, Cyclone Yasi, packing winds of up to 280 kilometres an hour, is heading for the north coast.

    The military has been called in to help with mass evacuations in Cairns and residents are fleeing low-lying areas in other centres.

    For the latest I’m joined by the state’s Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts at the Emergency Management Queensland headquarters in Brisbane.

    Neil Roberts, can you give us an update on the latest preparations and the progress of the cyclone as it heads towards the coast?

    NEIL ROBERTS, QLD EMERGENCY SERVICES MINISTER: Yes, Tracy. Cyclone Yasi is behaving as predicted. It’s currently heading towards the coast. It’s expected to cross in the area of Port Douglas, Cairns and Innisfail some time from 9 pm on Wednesday evening into the early hours of Thursday morning. It’s expected to be a Category 4 cyclone, wind speeds above 250 k’, very destructive winds, storm surges and very heavy rain potentially for a few days afterwards. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3127250.htm

    With this winds, brick buildings are at risk too.

    Worst Drought
    Worst Floods
    Worst Rains
    Worst Storm

    Exactly as the model predicted …

  48. Prokaryotes says:

    With checking webcam images, you can later compare … or see what is left of Cairns area.

    http://www.cairnsinfo.com/webcam.php

    Actually the area will be possible contaminated with chemicals … because the harbor has a lot of chemical containers.

    The chemical storage tanks seen in the top right are in the suburb of Portsmith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CairnsQueensland.jpg

    Cairns (pronounced /ˈkɛə(r)nz/, locally [ˈkeː(ɹ)nz][4]) is a regional city in Far North Queensland, Australia. The city was named after William Wellington Cairns (then Governor of Queensland). It was formed to serve miners heading for the Hodgkinson River goldfield, but experienced a decline when an easier route was discovered from Port Douglas. It later developed into a railhead and major port for exporting sugar cane, gold and other metals, minerals and agricultural products from surrounding coastal areas and the Atherton Tableland region.

    The city is rapidly expanding[citation needed], with a population of 122,731 at the 2006 census. Tourism is the largest income producer for the region, followed closely by the sugar industry.[citation needed] An intercensal estimate for the resident population the Local Government Area as of June 2008 was 158,700.[5]

    Cairns is located about 1,700 km (1,056 mi) from Brisbane, and about 2,420 km (1,504 mi) from Sydney by road. It is a popular travel destination for foreign tourists because of its tropical climate and proximity to many attractions. The Great Barrier Reef can be reached in less than an hour by boat. Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation, about 130 km (81 mi) north of Cairns, are popular areas for experiencing a tropical rainforest. It also serves as a starting point for people wanting to explore Cooktown, Cape York Peninsula, and the Atherton Tableland.

    Various parks and attractions take advantage of the city’s natural surroundings. Among them are Rainforestation Nature Park, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, and Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which extends for 7.5 km (4.7 mi) over World Heritage rainforest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairns,_Queensland

    Last storm in this area 2006.

    Larry made landfall in Far North Queensland close to Innisfail on 20 March as a Category 4 with wind gusts reaching 240 kilometres per hour (150 mph) and dissipated over land soon after. Cyclone Larry caused nearly A$1 billion in damage and one fatality

    Cyclone Larry is considered to be the worst cyclone to hit the coast of Queensland since 1931; consequently, the name “Larry” was retired on December 12, 2006

    Cyclone Larry was regarded as the most powerful cyclone to affect Queensland in almost a century.[8] According to Queensland state Counter Disaster Rescue Services executive director Frank Pagano,[9] Cyclone Larry constituted “the most devastating cyclone that we could potentially see on the east coast of Queensland for decades … there was great destruction.” Then-Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie declared Larry a disaster situation, comparing it to Cyclone Tracy,[10] giving local governments the authority to enforce mandatory evacuations.

    Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard said of Larry, “this cyclone is of an enormous magnitude” and reserved several UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters for rescue efforts in the aftermath of the cyclone. He has also promised grants of $10,000 to businesses affected by the cyclone.[11]

    An appeal fund was launched by the Queensland Government, with an initial donation of $100,000; the Commonwealth Bank initially donated $50,000, and then increased its contribution to $1 Million after examining the devastation. Premier Beattie asked “everyone to dig deep and help people who have suffered in the devastation wreaked by the cyclone.”[12]

    Cairns airport and harbour were closed, and all flights were suspended. Innisfail, where Larry made landfall, suffered severe damage. In Babinda, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Innisfail, up to 80% of buildings were damaged.[13] The region’s banana industry, which employs up to 6000 people suffered extreme losses of crops,[14] accounting for more than 80% of Australia’s total banana crop.[15] The Atherton Tablelands also received a great deal of damage from Cyclone Larry, with damage to buildings, and major disruptions to power, water and telephone services.

    Other towns suffering damage included Silkwood (99% of homes damaged), Kurrimine Beach (30% of homes damaged), and Mission Beach (30% of homes damaged). Cairns, the largest city in the region affected by the cyclone, sustained minor structural damage, mostly comprising fallen power lines and houses damaged by fallen trees throughout the city. Light aircraft were flipped over at Cairns Airport.

    A damage survey of buildings in the Innisfail region[3] concluded that the majority of contemporary houses remained structurally intact, though many roller doors were destroyed. The report noted that the structures should have been able to withstand the cyclone, as the winds impacting the buildings were below the threshold required for meeting the region’s building standards. Buildings constructed prior to the introduction of higher cyclone rating standards suffered comparatively more damage.[3] In total 10,000 homes were damaged.[16]

    Preliminary reports estimated the cost of loss and damage to domestic and commercial premises is to be in excess of half a billion dollars.

    After landfall, Tropical Cyclone Larry moved over north-western Queensland on 22–23 March, with heavy rain falls across the region. Gereta Station, north of Mount Isa, recorded 583 mm of rain in the 48 hours to 9 am on 23 March.[17] Heavy flooding was reported along the Leichhardt River downstream, resulting in the inundation of some cattle properties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Larry

  49. Prokaryotes says:

    An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact: We get more snow storms in warm years! http://climateprogress.org/2010/12/13/more-snow-storms-warm-years-climate-change/

    Blinding snow hits Plains, Midwest
    A historic winter storm whipped across the central Plains and Midwest early Tuesday, creating near whiteout conditions.

    “Do not travel! Stay inside!” the National Weather Service warned. “Strong winds and blinding snow will make travel nearly impossible. This is a life threatening storm.”

    The National Weather Service forecast blizzard conditions across portions of eight states, from Oklahoma to Michigan. Winds gusting to 40 mph are expected.

    Oklahoma was under a state of emergency and Missouri mobilized 600 National Guard troops to help cope with Mother Nature’s onslaught.

    The expansive storm will ultimately affect about three-quarters of the United States, stretching more than 2,000 miles. Along with its strength, the system’s immense size sets it apart.

    “A storm of this size and scope needs to be taken seriously,”
    “This storm could be one of the top 10 biggest snowstorms ever in the city,” said CNN meteorologist Sean Morris.

    Strong winds will combine with the cold temperatures to create extremely dangerous wind chills, according to forecasts.

    But the storm’s wrath won’t end there.

    Severe thunderstorms are likely to develop along a trailing cold front from a main low-pressure area. That sets up a significant potential for tornadoes in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/02/01/winter.storm/?hpt=C1

    Mother Nature’s Onslaught …

  50. Sou says:

    There is not much more room on the ABC website for listing the current weather disasters across Australia – North, south, east and west:
    http://www.abc.net.au/emergency/

    The page doesn’t list the bushfires in Western Australia and Victoria. ‘Ordinary’ bushfires are an unwelcome part of summer.

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    CBS 60 Minutes
    WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, Pt. 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzC9invn4Ko&feature=player_embedded#

  52. catman306 says:

    Edward, I left Buffalo during the Great Blizzard of ’77 and know all about snow. During the month of January, the air temp in Buffalo never got above freezing. The streets were already packed ice when the big one came. Snow drifts so high, and packed so hard, you could walk up to the top and look down into 3rd floor apartments. In the mid ’50s, south of Syracuse, we lost the family car in a snow drift in the center of a one lane dirt road. It showed up a week later when someone found the radio antenna poking through the surface. Lake effect snow could dump a foot in South Buffalo, while the sun shined brightly 10 miles away from the cloud line.

  53. nz says:

    @physorg_com Scientists customize a magnet’s performance by strategically replacing key atoms http://bit.ly/fhXKas

  54. Sou says:

    Tropical cyclone Yasi is ‘almost beyond description’.

    Patrick Quirk from Maritime Safety Queensland …says he hopes no-one at sea is foolish enough to get too close to the system moving rapidly across the Coral Sea.

    “There were some pictures going around comparing this to Larry, but this is a system which is almost beyond belief,” he said.

    “It’s almost beyond description in the extent of the system and also the power of the system. It’s almost a perfect storm.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/02/3127379.htm?section=justin

    And NOAA shows movement of the monstrous TC Yasi towards Queensland, where everyone who hasn’t left is waiting and watching, having tied down what they can.

    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/sohemi/sohemiloops/shirgmscol.html

  55. nz says:

    @RockyMtnInst More posts about Jevons Paradox. The discussion continues. http://bit.ly/gTPjeT

    “Efficiency lives–the rebound effect not so much. ” http://bit.ly/bvCDLd via @climateprogress

    Joe Romm:
    “Good studies on the rebound effect are hard to find, since here are so many confounding factors, but one of the best recent analyses in the heavily studied area of fuel economy standards, “Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect” ( http://www.economics.uci.edu/docs/2005-06/Small-03.pdf ) finds only a very small effect.”

    David Owens New Yorker article “The Efficiency Dilemma,” asks “If our machines use less energy, will we just use them more?”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/20/101220fa_fact_owen

    The quick simple answer is:

    When materials throughput accounting and design scaling is correct, chances are that we will make optimum use of our machines in the most practical, convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible manner; and if we use them more it will not matter since the impact on the environment will be minimal.

    An SUV obviously is not scaled correctly to move an individual, as well as a 35-ton subway car to move two hundred 175-pound people since both move more than one-half ton of wasteful dead weight per person wherein a simple bicycle might add between 15 to 35 pounds to the weight of each person it moves. The 430 million cyclists and 120 million electric bike users in China have minimal impact on the environment since cycling is about 3 to 4 times more efficient than even walking.

    And, it should be obvious that cycling provides a very primitive but effective solution as net-zero mobility.

  56. Prokaryotes says:

    West Antarctica: still warming
    The temperature reconstruction of O’Donnell et al. (2010) confirms that West Antarctica is warming — but underestimates the rate

    The spatial patterns of annual trends, and how they evolve through time, is similar in both papers. In particular, O’Donnell et al. find, as we did, that the entire continent was warming, on average, prior to early 1980s (Figure below from their main “RLS” reconstruction). As we said in our paper, this would tend to support the idea that cooling in East Antarctica is a recent phenomenon at least in part attributable to recent trends in the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), which is itself forced (at least in part) by stratospheric ozone depletion.

    O’Donnell et al. also reproduce our finding that the seasons in which the most rapid and significant warming is occurring are winter and spring — in large areas of both East Antarctica and West Antarctica. In spring, warming is significant throughout all of West Antarctica through the entire 50 years of the record, and in winter, it also occurs throughout all of West Antarctica in the last 25 years. In both seasons in this latter period, the locus of greatest warming has been West Antarctica, and particularly the Ross Sea region and Marie Byrd land, not just the Antarctic Peninsula as virtually all studies prior to ours had assumed.

    In summary, even if their results are taken at face value, O’Donnell et al. 2010 doesn’t change any of the conclusions reached in Steig et al. In West Antarctica where there is disagreement, Steig et al, 2009 is in better agreement with independent data, and O’Donnell et al.’s results appear to be adversely affected by using procedures known to underestimate trends. Thus while their results may represent an improved estimate for the trends in data rich regions — East Antarctica and the Peninsula — it is virtually certain that they are an underestimate for West Antarctica. This probably means going back to the drawing board to write up another paper, taking into account those suggestions of O’Donnell et al. that are valid, but hopefully avoiding their mistakes. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/west-antarctica-still-warming-2/

  57. paulm says:

    hell n high water in auz

    Raging fire destroys homes in Victoria
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/01/3127301.htm?section=justin