Energy and global warming news for February 7, 2011: Chu’s Department of Energy seeks to cut solar costs 75% by 2020 in its “Sun Shot” program

JR:  Many experts I know think that a 40% to 50% cut by about 2016 is quite doable — based as much on advances in deployment as in technology gains.  The tough part, of course, will be competing with Chinese who have a much more aggressive R&D and deployment program — and a long-term commitment that conservatives in this country reject.

Of course, even six cents a kilowatt hour will not mean PV competes with existing coal.   As always, if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sharply enough to avert multiple catastrophes, you need a high and rising price on CO2.

Department of Energy seeks to cut solar costs by 75 percent

The U.S. Department of Energy said on Friday it will spend $27 million on a new effort to reduce the costs of solar power by 75 percent by the end of the decade in a bid to make the renewable power source as cheap as fossil fuels.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu dubbed the program a “sun shot” that was patterned on President John F. Kennedy’s “moon shot” goal in the 1960s that called for the United States to land a man on the moon.

Chu said cutting the cost of installed solar power by 75 percent would put the price at about $1 per watt, he said, or about 6 cents per kilowatt hour.

“That would make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy without subsidies of any kind,” he told a conference call.

Costs for to install photovoltaic solar panels, which turn sunlight directly into electricity, currently run above 22 cents per kilowatt per hour, although federal grants and state incentives can trim that to below 15 cents for large projects.

Many U.S. solar industry advocates have long complained that the Chinese government’s support of its solar companies has enabled its companies to take market share from U.S. manufacturers.

Global race for innovative technology is heating up

The global race is heating up to create the next generation of miracle drugs, the technology that will put electric cars in every garage and ultra-fast computers to tackle complex problems such as climate change.

President Barack Obama has called for increased total U.S. spending on scientific research and development, which is currently at about $375 billion a year. Much of it would go into clean-energy research, but also into biotechnology, nanotechnology and other fields where competition from China and other Asian nations is on the rise.

“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” Obama said in his State of the Union address on Jan. 25, referring to the Soviet satellite that beat the U.S. to space and launched the space race.

“After investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs,” he said. “We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time.”

An important measure of innovation is funding for research and development. The U.S. government and private sector invested 2.7 percent of gross domestic product in R&D in 2007, compared with China’s 1.4 percent, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. China’s leaders have vowed to increase R&D spending to 2.5 percent of GDP. Other Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea, already have passed the U.S. in this measure.

Iowans rally for green energy growth

Iowa officials called on Congress and the next U.S. president to create 2 million new jobs in two years through a $100 billion investment in renewable fuels.

Environmental advocates gathered on the steps of the state Capitol on Saturday amid signs of “We’re ready. Green jobs now” to emphasize how Iowa can benefit from growth in renewable energy, such as ethanol and wind power.

The rally, organized by the 1Sky Campaign, was one of more than 660 events held nationwide Saturday as part of an effort to rally the federal government to build an environmentally friendly economy.

About 30 supporters sporting green hard hats stood next to contrasting images of an Iowa wind farm and a smokestack belchng out carbon.

“These jobs will eventually drive our economy and provide much relief to a job market that has seen over 600,000 jobs lost this year alone,” Ben Murry, political director of the United Steelworkers in Iowa, said in a press release.

Feds pump $13M in Mass. solar energy projects

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says three Massachusetts companies will receive $12.6 million from the federal government to help develop the country’s advanced solar energy technologies.

The funding announced Friday is part of the Department of Energy’s “SunShot” initiative to reduce the total costs of large-scale solar energy systems by about 75 percent by the end of the decade. That, experts hope, will make it possible for the solar energy to be competitive with other forms of energy without subsidies.

Massachusetts projects that will benefit from the funding include run by 1366 Technologies of Lexington, Veeco Solar Equipment of Lowell and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc. of Gloucester.

The projects are part of $20 million in awards intended to develop U.S. supply chains for photovoltaic solar manufacturing.

Feds aim to spur wind energy industry off Va. Coast

Senior Obama administration officials will be in Norfolk on Monday to announce a coordinated effort by several federal agencies to more quickly develop wind energy off Virginia’s coast by streamlining regulations and timetables, according to a source familiar with the announcement.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center near Nauticus to explain new efforts to “accelerate the responsible siting and development of offshore wind energy projects,” according to a statement issued Friday by their departments.

Chu and Salazar also are expected to announce the availability of $50 million in competitive funding for efforts related to wind energy, the source said.

Virginia leaders and environmental officials have long supported exploring the development of wind power and have hoped that Hampton Roads could be a prime location for developing the industry.

Glen Besa, director of the Sierra Club’s Virginia chapter, said Friday that he didn’t know any details but hopes that areas will be identified as sites for potential wind energy development.

“Any progress in this area is most welcome,” said Besa, an advocate for developing alternative energy sources.

Building A Green Economy, From Jobs To Policy

“When you go from using food stamps and all of a sudden you have the power to support yourself, it changes the way you see yourself, it changes how the world sees you.”

When Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins was 12 years old, her mom went from welfare to work and Phaedra’s life changed.

“If you know what that feels like, you can’t not want to do it for others.”

Phaedra said Friday’s announcement that unemployment has dropped means more people are now feeling that same sentiment. “It’s not enough, it’s not perfect, but it’s a sign of hope,” she said. “It means people are working again.”

Phaedra, 34, is the CEO of Green For All, which works to get people back to work through green jobs. Partnering with individuals, small businesses and cities, and the Obama Administration, the organization is working to make the green economy a central part of the economic recovery.

Phaedra got her start in the labor movement in San Jose, California, fighting for airport employees and helping to establish universal healthcare for children in Santa Clara County.

Shiny Happy People “” Support Wind Turbines and Oil

Price of a set of poster-sized ads in two Washington, D.C. metro stations: $250,000.

Sending your message to lawmakers and Congressional staffers one last time before they head home from work: Priceless.

The oil and wind power industries battle constantly on Capitol Hill for the hearts and minds of lawmakers. Now, the two industries are chasing lawmakers and staffers during their commutes.

The American Wind Energy Association paid $250,000 to position large advertisements in the the Capitol South and Union Station Metro stops that flank Capitol Hill offices on the south and north.

The ads picture hard-working, smiling people proud to have welcomed wind turbines into their communities.

“The point we’re making is that there are plenty of people who are YIMBYs “” Yes In My Back Yard people “” and that they’re not all NIMBYs,” said Peter Kelley, a spokesman for the group.

71 Responses to Energy and global warming news for February 7, 2011: Chu’s Department of Energy seeks to cut solar costs 75% by 2020 in its “Sun Shot” program

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    “Of course, even six cents a kilowatt hour will not mean PV competes with existing coal. As always, if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sharply enough to avert multiple catastrophes, you need a high and rising price on CO2.”

    Did you factor in the billions of subsidies?

    In reality, the coal industry is heavily subsidized by the federal and state governments, enjoying explicit subsidies of billions of dollars a year, plus the indirect subsidy of free pollution that costs the United States 10,000 lives a year, destroys the land and water of mining communities, and destabilizes our climate. In September 2009, the Environmental Law Institute identified coal industry “subsidies of around $17 billion between 2002 and 2008″:

    [JR: Yes.]

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    Manchin faces criticism over coal subsidies claim

    Liberal and watchdog groups are attacking Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) claim Thursday that coal does not receive subsidies.

    The freshman senator — an advocate of his state’s coal industry and workers — made the claim at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, contrasting coal to wind, oil and other sources.

    “It [coal] doesn’t get a penny of subsidies. But it has been villainized by this administration and so many people, and it is the one that we depend on the most. It gives back more than what it takes,” Manchin said, later adding that coal receives “no types of subsidies.”

    That drew attention from Taxpayers for Common Sense, which called the comment a “whopper.”

    “Taxpayers spend billions supporting the coal industry every year through holes in the tax code and through loan guarantees for new coal plants. We need to stop giving tax breaks to the well-entrenched coal industry and protect taxpayer dollars,” said Ryan Alexander, the group’s president, in a statement Thursday.

    The group listed billions of dollars in federal coal-related spending and tax incentives, such as Energy Department spending on low-emissions coal R&D, availability of federal loan guarantees for advanced coal plants, and treatment of coal royalties at capital gains rates.

    Manchin’s comments also drew criticism from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, which called attention to coal’s contribution to climate change, and the health effects of emissions coal-fired power plants.

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    Renewed flooding in Sri Lanka kills 11, affects 1.05 million

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    The floods have moved to New Zealand’s South Island. Large areas of the North Island received 4 times their average rain fall in January.

    Ranfurly, with 53mm of rain from 9am Sunday to 9am yesterday, Cromwell, with 52mm, Alexandra, with 68mm, and Nugget Point, with 63mm, all became the highest one-day rainfalls for February since records began.

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    VICTORIANS face spiralling grocery bills, with everything from asparagus, to potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli all likely to rise after Victoria’s floods.

    More than 150ml of rain was dumped on Koo Wee Rup in Melbourne’s south-east, which is Australia’s largest asparagus-growing district and a large potato growing area.

    COLOMBO : Sri Lanka’s latest monsoon rains have claimed at least 17 lives and left around 1.2 million people flooded out of their homes, officials said on Monday.

    The latest floods have washed away further large swathes of farmland in key rice-growing regions.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    TOOWOOMBA has been hit by flash-flooding following thunderstorms this morning, a month after a wall of water swept through the city.

    Some of the highest falls were seen at Toowoomba airport, which received about 64mm in an hour and a half.

    Tallegalla, between Toowoomba and Brisbane, received 67mm in about the same period.

  7. Scrooge says:

    27 sure sounds cheap. I certainly hope this works. And my impression is that administrations don’t usually throw out numbers without confidence. The bottom and typical line is we have a problem and it must be fixed and will be done in spite of conservatives not because of them.

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate Change to Force Mass Migration, Study Warns

    That weather-related catastrophes cause a lot of destruction is well known. But the prospect that increasing floods, droughts and storms will prompt many millions of people to migrate to safer areas is still poorly understood and anticipated, according to a forthcoming report from the Asian Development Bank.

    “In the past year alone, extreme weather in Malaysia, Pakistan, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines and Sri Lanka has caused temporary or longer-term dislocation of millions,” the organization, which is based in Manila, said on Monday, citing the study, which is to be released in early March. “This process is set to accelerate in coming decades as climate change leads to more extreme weather.”

    No international cooperation mechanism has been set up to manage these migration flows, the bank warned, and protection and assistance plans remain “inadequate, poorly coordinated and scattered.” It urged national governments and the international community to urgently address this issue.

    Forecasts of global migration related to environmental factors range from 150 million to 300 million people by the middle of this century, the Asian Development Bank said Monday, and the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be at the epicenter of this trend.

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate cuts must continue: Garnaut

    AUSTRALIA should push ahead with domestic greenhouse gas cuts even if the US hits a ”bumpy road” in meeting its greenhouse gas-reduction targets, says the government’s climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut.

    Industry groups say the failure of international climate change talks to reach a binding deal means Australia should go no further than the minimum 5 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 supported by both Labor and the Coalition.

    But Professor Garnaut, who is updating his 2008 climate review, said most developed countries were ”on track” and developing countries including China appeared poised to do more than he calculated to ensure they do their fair share of the global mitigation effort.

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    He said Australia should not under-estimate the influence of domestic decisions on climate change policy on the US and Canada, the other two economies that have the highest per capita emissions in the world, and which are also acting as ”drags” on international efforts because they are struggling to ”break away from old patterns of energy use”.

    Apparently so far, the Australian weather extremes are not enough yet to pave the way for common sense.

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    Scotland calls for green action

    Public institutions, including the government, must do their part to keep climate change under control, the Scottish climate change minister said.

    The Scottish government said the country in 2008 had cut emissions by 21 percent of their 1990 levels. This is halfway to a 2020 goal to cut emissions by 42 percent, though Scottish Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said there are several hurdles remaining.

    “Public bodies, including the Scottish government, must play their part in tackling climate change and our guidance offers a step-by-step approach which will help them to understand their duties and identify the actions they can take to deliver them,” she said in a statement.

    The Scottish government published a guidance that encourages public institutions to set their own emissions targets and continue to make climate change a priority in their agendas, she added.

    “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face, with its significant knock-on consequences to the environment and economy already starting to show,” the minister said.

    Read more:

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    Be sure and look at these pictures in this link.

    Outback storms leave an inland sea

    The landscape is sodden across a wide area of South Australia. Yongala received 128 millimetres of rain in 24 hours, beating a record set 121 years ago.

    Hallett in the mid-north also had a record fall of 98 millimetres, beating a mark set in 1890.

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    Tunisia And Climate Change: What It Means For Southeast Asia

    DOES CLIMATE change have a hand in the Tunisian revolution? In this surprising people power revolt that exploded in the new year, the usual recipe for an uprising was at play – fundamental underlying issues like repression, autocratic rule, corruption and growing unemployment. But the trigger or the immediate cause, significantly, was fuel and food, especially rising food prices. The rising food prices that shook Tunisia – and brought down the Ben Ali government – came at time when global food prices broke record highs at the turn of the new year. Erratic global weather patterns caused by climate change have affected the supply of crops and grains.

    The resulting shortage pushed up prices, hitting the unemployed worst, and unleashing the long-standing pent-up resentment that has since transformed into, and inspired popular protests beyond Tunisia – into neighbouring states such as Egypt, Yemen and Jordan. In other words, what we are witnessing now in North Africa and the Arab world is the political impact of climate change. The implications are obvious: what if the global climate gets worse, and food scarcity turns into a huge global crisis affecting human security? Will Southeast Asia be spared from such a dire scenario?

    The problem of volatile food prices in North Africa is reminiscent of the 2008 global food crisis that led to riots in many countries – only worse this time. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, global food prices at the start of 2011 have exceeded the 2008 levels. Three years ago, the main causes of food insecurity and volatile prices were rising fuel prices and crop failures due to climate change-induced natural disasters in food-producing countries.

    Singapore too has been feeling the heat of rising food prices. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said rising food prices were due to the adverse weather conditions in China and Australia

    As Tunisia has shown, the Southeast Asian region, just as the rest of the world, has entered an era of vulnerability and must be prepared for the political impact of climate change.

    As President Yudhoyono suggested, food insecurity and volatile prices caused by natural disasters, which in turn are the consequences of climate change, will be one of the immediate triggers of political instability in the region in years to come. In anticipation, Southeast Asian countries therefore must not fall short on good governance and good economic management. At the same time, ASEAN as a grouping must be galvanised to prepare well for future crises stemming from natural disasters and climate change.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Was the Fall of the Roman Empire Related to Climate Change?

    A recent study by a large team of scientists published in the journal Science, 2500 Years of European Climate Variability and Human Susceptibility, indicates that significant climate variations “have influenced the agricultural productivity, health risk, and conflict level of preindustrial societies” and their findings and historical experiences “may challenge recent political and fiscal reluctance to mitigate projected climate change.”

    Here’s more on the study from NPR, which got a bit of a helpful translation from leading climate scientist Dr Michael Mann:

    Ulf Buentgen and his team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research collected tree-ring data from ancient wood found in medieval castles and Roman ruins. They created a detailed history of climate change over the past 2.5 millennia and found the data point to the end of the Roman Empire as a period of exceptional climate change.

    Michael Mann, professor of meteorology at Penn State, was not a member of the research team, but explains how the information found in tree rings changes what we know of the last centuries of Roman imperialism.

    “They were able to tease out two pieces of information from these trees,” Mann explains. “They can get some idea of how warm the summers were, and how wet the sort of late-spring/early summer was.”

    That’s because trees create a new ring each year. A big ring occurs in times of good climate, and a small ring occurs in years of drought or extreme temperatures. Wood samples from this time period show a climate flip-flopping unpredictably, which would have been bad for the Roman Empire.

    “Like any large civilization — including the civilization we have today — it was highly dependent on predictability of natural resources,” Mann says. “It was very heavily adapted to the climate conditions that had persisted for centuries.”

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate science is a ‘religion,’ Washington Post columnist claims

    A Washington Post columnist recently attacked a Nobel Prize winner by claiming that the scientific consensus that backs climate change is essentially a religious institution.

    “Look, if Godzilla appeared on the Mall this afternoon, Al Gore would say it’s global warming,” Charles Krauthammer said on PBS’s Inside Washington Saturday.

    He continued, “Look, everything is – it’s a religion.”

    Host Gordon Peterson kicked off the discussion, quoting former vice president Al Gore in a recent interview with a New York Times columnist.

    ““There is about four percent more water vapor in the atmosphere today than there was in 1970,” Gore told Gail Collins.

    Gore further explained that the extra water appeared because the warmer oceans and air returned to earth as heavier precipitation.

    However, this scientific fact escaped Krauthammer who instead called for proof that climate change is wrong.

    “You find me a single piece of evidence that Al Gore would ever admit would contradict global warming, and I’ll be surprised,” he said. Krauthammer would indeed be surprised because the climate science community unanimously agreed that human industry directly effects the Earth’s climate.

    Krauthammer is a fraud…. Attacking the messenger of unsetting news, just makes things worse for everybody. Actually an attack on especially climate science grow national security implications.

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    Just in the last week this has happened –

    It rained 6 feet in one day on a city of 180,00 in the Philippines.

    Sri Lanka reported that they are in a 100 year flood.

    The outback has broken 120 year-old records, and is now an “Inland Sea”.

    Melbourne has received 1/2 it’s yearly average in 24 hours, in it’s 5th flood since Sept.

    New records being set on the South Island of New Zealand. ( This is a new development )

    The scope of this is straight out of a bad science fiction movie.

  16. Colorado Bob says:

    The Black Saturday bushfires[11] were a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday 7 February 2009. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions, and resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from a bushfire;[12] 173 people died[8][13] and 414 were injured as a result of the fires.

    As many as 400 individual fires were recorded on 7 February. Following the events of 7 February 2009 and its aftermath, that day has become widely referred to as Black Saturday.

  17. Prokaryotes says:

    Al Gore is right about snow and climate change
    9:22 am February 3, 2011, by ctucker

    Even if Americans were more knowledgeable about the science of climate change, they’d have difficulty understanding the connection between a winter of extreme weather and a warming planet. A giant cold front has much of the country locked down under bitter cold and brought Chicago the most snow it has had in its recorded history.

    conservatives have dedicated themselves to defending the interests of Big Business — which has worked hard to persuade Americans that climate change is a hoax — Bill O’Reilly decided to make fun of Al Gore on his broadcast last week. But Gore pushed back with a response on his Web site which noted that a warming planet causes extreme weather:

    “As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now and they say that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming.”

    Gore then quoted an article by Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune in early 2010: “In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.

    “A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.”

    Gore might also have noted the extreme weather in Australia, which is suffering through massive flooding and, this week, a huge cyclone. That follows a year of intense drought and forest fires.

    Of course, one of the reasons that most Americans doubt the science of climate change that is Big Business has paid millions of dollars to make sure we remain ignorant, as James Hoggan points out in his book, Climate Cover-up:

    Ross had uncovered the first hard evidence of an organized campaign, largely financed by the coal and oil industries, to make us think that climate science was somehow still controversial, climate change still unproven. I had always known about the potential for public manipulation, but I had never conceived of a campaign so huge, so well-funded, and well-organized. . .Denier scientists were being paid well, not for conducting climate research, but for practicing public relations.

    But it is artists — not journalists or politicians — who most brilliantly capture the foibles of human nature, the crises of society and the ramifications of our irrationality. And they see the ramifications long before the rest of us.
    It’s no surprise, then, that the brilliant Octavia Butler — the late writer of science fiction who won a MacArthur “genius” grant — wrote a two-novel series, the first published in 1994, that seemed to predict where we’re headed.

    In “Parable of the Talents,” published in 1998, she presented a United States torn apart by climate change and its consequences. She also gives readers a citizenry that still doesn’t admit that human activity brought on the apocalypse. In “Parable of the Talents,” Butler’s protagonist, Lauren Olamina, writes in her journal:

    The climate is still changing, warming. It’s supposed to settle at a new stable state someday. Until then, we’ll go on getting a lot of violent erratic weather around the world. Sea level is still rising and chewing away at low-lying coastal areas like the sand dunes that used to protect Humboldt Bay and Arcata Bay just north of us. Half the crops in the Midwest and South are still withering from the heat, drowning in floods, or being torn to pieces by winds, so food prices are still high. The warming has made tropical diseases like malaria and dengue normal parts of life in the warm, wet Gulf Coast and Southern Atlantic coast states.

    To repeat, that novel was published in 1998. Butler’s prescient “Parable” two-part series still gives me nightmares about my young daughter’s future.

    — by Cynthia Tucker

  18. Prokaryotes says:

    Study sees water shortages for Great Lakes region

    A U.S. government analysis says the Great Lakes region could see water shortages in some areas because of climate shifts or increased demand.

    The five-year study by the U.S. Geological Survey was obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release today.

    The report says the Great Lakes hold six quadrillion gallons of water — enough to spread a foot-deep layer across North America, South America and Africa.

    Just one per cent of the lakes’ water is replenished annually through runoff and precipitation, and vast amounts are removed for agriculture, industry, drinking and other uses.

    But the report says the overall supply is so big that withdrawals have had little effect on the Great Lakes system.

    But weather and climate have significant effects on groundwater and lake levels and stream flow rates.

    Declining lake levels over much of the past decade resulted largely from drought and warming temperatures that limited winter ice cover and boosted evaporation.

    To clarify, that affects tab water and bottled water supply and the price and biodiversity and health and violence level.

  19. Prokaryotes says:

    Misrepresenting Climate Science: Cherry-Picking Data to Hide the Disappearance of Arctic Ice

    As the climate science continues to strengthen, and as the observational data around the world continue to accumulate, those who deny the reality or severity of human-induced climate change are getting increasingly desperate. As evidence piles up and as our weather worsens, their positions get weaker and weaker and their claims that the climate isn’t changing, or isn’t changing because of human actions get harder to support, their voices get more strident, and their language and vitriol get uglier.

    Climate deniers cannot make a case against human-caused climate change without desperately manipulating, misrepresenting, or simply misunderstanding the science. While there are examples of their bad science (BS) every day, a particularly egregious case has played out in New Mexico in the past week.

    In 2009, Harrison Schmitt, a former senator, astronaut, and self-described climate “denier” (and potentially the Energy Secretary to the new New Mexican governor), sent a paper to NASA riddled with long-debunked errors of science. Others have written about this paper, taking it apart error by error. But one particular mistake lies at the heart of this week’s dust-up in New Mexico. In that paper Schmitt said:

    “How long this cooling trend will persist remains to be seen; however, Greenland glaciers have been advancing since 2006, Artic [sic] sea ice has returned to 1989 levels of coverage, and snowy, cold winters and cool summers have dominated northern North America and Europe.”
    All four of these statements are wrong:
    The Earth is not in a cooling trend, but a warming trend,
    Greenland is losing ice, not gaining it (more evidence of warming),
    Arctic (the correct spelling) sea ice in 2009 had not “returned to 1989 levels of coverage,” and
    Snowy, cold winters and cool summers do not dominate North America or Europe, nor would they refute the fact that the planet as a whole is warming.
    In The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper on January 24, Dr. Mark Boslough (an adjunct professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UNM, with a doctorate from CalTech) noted the errors in Schmitt’s statement and wrote how he tried to privately point them out to Schmitt, but that Schmitt never corrected them. The error that has stirred up the new debate in New Mexico is the third one “Artic [sic] sea ice has returned to 1989 levels of coverage.” [John Cook has also tackled this here in an excellent Skeptical Science post.]

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    Western wolverines threatened by climate change

    Wolverines in the continental United States could be wiped out by the end of the century if temperatures continue to rise, according to a new study from a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

    Springtime snow cover helps protect wolverine dens from predators, and the animal is built to thrive in deep powder. But, Synte Peacock, a NCAR scientist, applied computer models projecting climate change to the wolverine habitat in the northern Rockies. Under two of the three projected levels of severity of global warming, Peacock found that springtime snow cover will largely vanish in wolverine habitat by the second half of the century.

    Similarly, Peacock found that summertime temperatures will skyrocket. Currently, the average August temperature in wolverine habitat is 72 degrees. That could rise to above 90 degrees by century’s end, according to the more pessimistic models.

    “Species that depend on snow cover for their survival are likely to be very vulnerable to climate change,” Peacock said. “It’s highly uncertain whether wolverines will continue to survive in the Lower 48, given the changes that are likely to take place there.”

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year said that climate change was enough of a threat to wolverines’ viability that they deserved endangered species protection.

    Wolverines inhabit a large area of boreal forests that includes Canada and northern Asia. Peacock’s model was only applied to the continental U.S. habitat, but she noted that there are similar concerns about warming temperatures in other countries’ wolverine habitats.

    Make some photos and movies, to show them to your children and grand children. Oh and while at it do this for most species on Eearth!

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    Oppenheimer: the post-Cancun climate change climate

    While reviews of the climate-change conference held last month in Cancun, Mexico have been mixed, geoscientist and part-time West Side Road resident Michael Oppenheimer considers the results from a somewhat more pragmatic and optimistic perspective.

    Reached recently at his Princeton University office, he shared some of those views with the Block Island Times. Though Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton, was not present at Cancun, he has attended many such summits of the world’s atmospheric scientists and governmental leaders through the years.

    He joined the faculty at Princeton after serving for two decades with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Bringing together the interests of scientists, the business community and government, the EDF has become one of the most prominent environmental advocacy groups in the country. A long-time participant in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Oppenheimer was one of the lead authors of the Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, which determined that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that “most of the observed increase… since the mid-twentieth century” was attributable to human influences.

    Oppenheimer continues as a lead author in the IPCC’s subsequent assessment reports. After the Copenhagen meeting in 2009, Oppenheimer say, the realization that problems were too complex to be resolved at one conference led scientists to “a bifurcation” of efforts, with “different institutions operating over different aspects” of the climate change issue.

    “It seemed hardly likely that comprehensive emissions control would be agreed to” at a single conference, he says. “You can’t expect countries to come together to resolve all the complex problems that face us; it became apparent that progress would happen in different ways,” turning largely on economic concerns, he adds.

    This is driving the effort toward breaking off into smaller forums with a focus on more discrete projects.

    Oppenheimer cites the 1997 Montreal Protocol as an example. Montreal hosted an international conference in 1997 where the emphasis was on curtailing substances that deplete the ozone layer. That protocol was an outgrowth of a treaty implemented a decade earlier and that has now undergone several revisions, reflecting renewed commitments by nations to curbing emissions and protecting the ozone layer. Some countries placed border tariffs on goods coming out of countries that don’t control emissions, an issue Oppenheimer thinks the World Trade Organization will be discussing.

    Read more: Block Island Times – Oppenheimer the post Cancun climate change climate–the-post-Cancun-climate-change-climate-?instance=home_news_1st_right

  22. paulm says:
    Garnaut calls Australia ‘a drag’ on climate action

    abc headlines… ABC BBC DailMail etc…. MSM starting to get it … at last!

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    Spain and Portugal Lead the Way on Renewable Energy Transformation

    Rapid energy transformation at the national level is possible. Transformation is also necessary if we are to mitigate the impacts of climate change and peak oil. The kind of transformation we need in the U.S. has been demonstrated vividly by an increasing number of nations shifting rapidly to a renewable energy economy. Spain and Portugal are currently the most powerful examples of this transformation.

    Spain has grown from using just two percent wind and solar power to almost 20 percent in a decade. Figure 1 demonstrates this growth at the same time as Spain’s electricity consumption grew rapidly – by 50 percent – from 2000 to 2008, only to drop equally rapidly from recession and price-induced conservation since 2008.

    Spain now enjoys about 35 percent total renewables, when we include large hydroelectric, with the rest of its power coming from natural gas, coal and nuclear. Moreover, Spain is a good comparison to California because its population and climate are very similar to ours.

  24. Mike Roddy says:

    It’s easier to make utility scale solar competitive than with rooftop installations, where labor and hardware costs are about 2/3. Cheaper PV’s won’t make $.22 turn into $.06.

    Solar thermal has hit roadblocks in the Mojave because of oil industry funded obstruction, aided by astroturf greens. Delays are killer here, as with nuclear, but worse in solar due to startup costs.

    I hope Chu hasn’t given up on utility scale solar in the desert. There is more room for cost cutting here, especially since it’s already not far away, at least for solar thermal.

  25. paulm says:

    re 18, He nails it.
    Its a moral issue and if you expect others to come onboard, you have to do the right thing and just do it, with out waiting on others.

    “But he says that Australia’s move to put a price on carbon pollution would make it easier for the US and Canada to take action too.

    These three countries have the highest emissions per head of population in the developed world.

    “We will make it easier for our friends in North America who want to do a lot, like the United States government – it wants to do a lot. It’s finding the politics heavy going like we are here,” Professor Garnaut said.

    Not only does he say Australia is an influence on the US and Canada but also on countries in the developing world.

    “If we don’t do anything, we can be pretty sure that there’s a whole lot of developing countries that would find that a good reason not to do anything,” he said.”

    This is an aspect of the problem which percolates down to individual responsibility also.
    We all need to step up to the plate and do the right thing….

    Please suport and pass on….

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    SolarWorld shipments increased 42% in 2010

    Preliminary financial results from SolarWorld show the integrated module manufacturer posted revenue of €1.3 billion in 2010, a 29% increase over the previous year when revenue of €1.01 billion was reported. Shipments of wafers and solar modules also increased over the previous year, reaching 819MW, up 42% over figures logged in 2009 when shipments reached 578MW.

    EBIT amounted to €193, compared to €153 million in 2009. Margins remained static at 15%, compared with the previous year. Profit increased to €89 million for the year, compared to a profit of €59 million in 2009.

    SolarWorld also noted that it had received 90% uptake in the share swap for the acquisition of Solarparc AG, suggesting the takeover would be concluded shortly and would boost SolarWorld’s downstream efforts.

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    SolarWorld posts strong 2010 results, sees higher 2011 sales
    SolarWorld, Germany’s largest module maker by market capitalisation, saw its share price zoom after revealing higher-than-expected earnings for fiscal-year 2010 and predicting higher sales for next year.

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    Solar technology obtains energy using crystals

    Power from a rock.

    That is how Ben Santarris describes the process his company, Solarworld, uses to transform sunlight into electricity.

    Solarworld manufactured the solar panels used in a project that was the joint effort of the City of Williamson, Dr. Donovan Beckett and the JOBS project.

    Santarris spoke at the Williamson Fire Department to explain how those panels harness the power of the sun.

    The science involved is fairly new. Pioneering relativity theorist Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1905 for his discovery of exactly how light caused waht was then called the photoelectric effect — essentially photovoltaics, getting electricity from light.

    The company uses silicon, melting it until it forms a white-hot liquid, the re-fuses the molten silicon into a giant crystal in which all atoms are perfectly aligned in a desired structure and orientation.

    The silicon crystal changes shape several more times, becoming the precisely calibrated wafers that form the foundation of photo-voltaic cells. The wafer is the main building block of a PV cell, but at this point of production, its only notable characteristics are its crystal structure and positive potential orientation.

    After the crystals are changed into wafer form comes the final step of assembly, moduling. The cells are soldered together, into strings that are laid out to form a rectangular matrix of 60 cells, and laminated onto glass.

    Under the sun, a photovoltaic cell acts as a photosensitive diode. that instantaneously coverts light, but not heat, into electricity.

    PV technology is extending beyond rooftops into locations that have never known the benefits of electricity. As on-grid applications bring cleaner power to wired homes, so do off-grid systems empower those without electric refrigeration and lighting.

    The sun emits so much energy that solar experts compete to put the output in terms we can grasp. Here’s one: Earth receives enough solar radiation in an hours to supple the planet’s electrical needs for a year.

    Frank Asbeck said renewable energy is the solution for environmental problems such as climate change.

    Read more: The Williamson Daily News – Solar technology obtains energy using crystals

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Obama: White House, CEOs Must Work Together

    President Barack Obama is telling business leaders that despite some strong disagreements, “we can and must work together.” Obama spoke Monday morning at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Feb. 7)

  30. paulm says:

    I think its warranted for scientist to go beyond the pen for this cause. They should be petitioning in person in Washington and there local governments.

    THis is an emergency situation and we need action now.

  31. catman306 says:

    Isn’t about time to mandate white roofs, white roadways, and white parking lots? If this is geo-engineering, I’m all for it. I’ll just wear darker sunglasses.

    Since all of those surfaces need to be renewed on a regular basis, mandate that white be used next time.

    We will all have to do everything we can that will raise albedo, or cut fossil fuel usage if we are to stop this real menace of constant extreme weather caused by climate change. ‘We’ means everyone.

  32. paulm says:


    The tiny town that gets a dozen earthquakes EVERY DAY after gas drilling goes awry

    Read more:

    Residents of Guy in Arkansas have lived through thousands of minor quakes in just six months after gas drilling apparently destabilised the earth beneath them.

    They claim that the tremors began when a gas company began drilling nearby in a geological formation called the Fayetteville shale.
    The companies dig deep wells which are injected with water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to get access to to gas pockets.

  33. Tom says:

    27 million, one more time 27 M., are you kidding. China is probably spending 27 billion on solar. When our government spends over a trillion a year (on what ???) is 27 million even a percent of a percent. Obamas 3rd year and 27 million is all he can invest in GW. We are in very dire straits when the president just proclaimed a renewed GW effort and this 27 million is our great effort.

    Where did you say that exit was again.

  34. Colorado Bob says:

    A new study links the contamination of a giant aquifer under Mexico’s Riviera Maya to the loss of up to 50 percent of coral reefs in the Caribbean since 1990.

  35. paulm says:


    Fog burned off by climate change threatens to stunt Muir Woods’ majestic redwoods

  36. paulm says:

    re 37

    it’s not only Muir Woods that’s in the dangerous path of climate change. Researchers warn the phenomenon could bring peril to many of Marin’s natural wonders in the coming years as weather conditions change.

    “It’s trees at Muir Woods, it’s a concern about sea level rise at Fort Baker, it’s many things,” said Alex Picavet, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, part of the National Park Service. “But it’s not only local, we are grappling with this across the country.”

    It could have no greater visible effect than in Muir Woods, where redwoods some 500 to 800 years old climb more than 200 feet toward the sky, providing a serene setting for visitors from Marin and around the world.

    A report recently issued by the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association concludes climate change could affect the formation and presence of fog along the entire Pacific Coast, and that in turn could stunt the giant redwoods.

    “It’s a concern that has been floating around the park service: how do you deal with the fog issue?” said Neal Desai, associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association Pacific Region. “The redwoods at Muir Woods are the iconic trees and the fog is their lifeblood.”

    In Muir Woods, higher temperatures have reduced by 30 percent the coastal fog that redwoods depend on for nearly half their water supply, according to the report, authored in part by Stephen Saunders, a former deputy at the U.S. Department of the Interior under President Clinton.

  37. paulm says:

    So a .8C rise gives rise to a 30% climate attribute.
    The floods in Auz, precipitation also looks like it is up 20-30% for many extreme events.

    There seems to be some link here. Stepwise refinement of climate states.

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    Edinburg taps landfill gas for renewable energy

    A plan to fuel electric generators with the gases given off by rotting waste at the city’s regional landfill should produce enough energy to power 20,000 homes.

  39. paulm says:

    Everyone seems to be talking about state change….
    The threshold seems to me to be 100ppm (over 280ppm).
    Consider the interglacial changes – 100ppm is equivalent to 1mile of ice over Chicago!

    That is around 1C Global rise. We have blown by this. So state change it is.
    And it is probably flipping right now at the 2005/2010 ceiling.

    2012 which is predicted to be warmer will be an interesting year. Oh, yeah, the Mayas predicted the end of the world….how do they do that?

    The Shift In State Of The Atmosphere

    As shown by numerous proxy-based paleo-climate studies, when the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rises above a critical threshold, the climate shifts to a different state. Any significant increase in the level of carbon gases triggers powerful feedbacks, including ice melt/warm water interaction, decline of ice reflection (albedo) and increase in infrared absorption by exposed water. Further release of CO2 from the oceans and from drying and burning vegetation shifts global climate zones toward the poles, warms the oceans and induces ocean acidification [3, 10].

    In some parts of Antarctica ice sheets have been losing 30 feet a year in thickness since 2003.

    At present the climate is in a lag period, with increasing atmospheric energy expressed by heat waves, hurricanes and floods, which increased by approximately a factor of 2 since 1980 (Figure 4), and by a shift of mid-latitude high-pressure zones toward the poles. With ensuing desertification of temperate zones, i.e. southern Europe, southern and southwest Australia, southern Africa, the desiccated forests become prey to firestorms. .

    At 460 ppm CO2-equivalent the climate is tracking close to the upper stability limit of the Antarctic ice sheet, defined at approximately 500 ppm [3, 5, 7]. Humans cannot argue with the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, nor with the sensitivity of the oceans and marine life to changes in pH [10].

  40. Prokaryotes says:

    On a sidenote, 40 post in the E&GN category at CP during 3 hours a good pace and just shows hot the influx mirrors the magnitude and associated impacts over this developing dyer situation and the human fight to get it under control.

  41. Prokaryotes says:

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce accused of working with Iran to get rid of sanctions

    Continue reading on U.S. Chamber of Commerce accused of working with Iran to get rid of sanctions – National Political Buzz |


  42. Prokaryotes says:

    Private Company Wants To Put a Robot on the Moon Next Year

    If you fund it, i produce a stunning flick starring this bot dubbed Wall-E. The plot is apparently following in the footsteps of the movie with the same name as the main actor.

  43. Prokaryotes says:

    #40 paulm “There seems to be some link here.”

    Maybe even a patten emerging? What if Nashville again experiences #Nashlantis conditions? A pattern we observe for some years now for several climate phenomena, such as the NAO, reoccurring deluges, droughts etc etc

  44. paulm says:

    The big decline….there is no escape a reduction in the west’s standard of living.
    Windsor backs cutting welfare to fund flood recovery
    Posted 1 hour 12 minutes ago

    Key independent MP Tony Windsor says he would support any Government move to cut ‘middle-class welfare’ to help fund the post-floods rebuilding effort.

    A $5 billion package comprised of the flood levy and spending cuts has been proposed to help rebuild after devastating floods in Queensland and Victoria.

    But the Government is now facing the necessity of trimming the budget again to meet the cost of damage caused by Cyclone Yasi.

    One option being canvassed is to cut ‘middle-class welfare’ by tightening eligibility for family tax payments.

    Member for New England Mr Windsor says he is not yet convinced the Government needs a levy to fund reconstruction works.

    He says ‘middle class welfare’ should be targeted.

  45. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate weirding

    Freezing temperatures kill 65 zoo animals in Mexico
    “It’s impossible to be prepared for something so unpredictable,” he said.

    Apparently it wasn’t possible for CNN resources to research why this cold snap happens. Or more importantly why we observe unprecedented warm temperatures in Greenland.

  46. Richard L says:

    Thorium reactor remixed lecture in 16 minutes (UNCLASSIFIED)

    Anyone heard of this? Anyone have any thoughts…

    Check out this video on using thorium instead of uranium in nuclear power plants. It almost sounds too good to be true – thorium is not nearly as radioactive as uranium (it is safe after 300 years instead of tens of thousands), it can’t be used to make weapons, it is more abundant than uranium, and a more dense energy source.

    Apparently, thorium was evaluated when nuclear energy was first being developed. The highest priority at the time was making weapons, not electricity, so the industry went the path of using uranium. There was a high level nuclear scientist who was a big proponent of thorium after the nuclear industry had already been designed around uranium and he kept touting the inherent safety benefits of it over uranium. Well, the guy got fired because he was suggesting that nuclear energy isn’t safe, and eventually the idea of using thorium died out.

  47. Atmospheric CO2 for January was 391.2 ppm at Mauna Loa, speeding away from safe 350 ppm at 2.7 ppm per year:

  48. Michael T. says:

    Southern Africa floods threaten more crops

    ROME (AFP) – Floods and heavy rain across southern Africa have damaged thousands of hectares (acres) of farmland and more may be hit in coming weeks, raising fears for food supplies, the UN food agency said Monday.

    With the rainy season still only half way through, and with the cyclone season due to peak in February, agricultural areas along the region’s rivers in remain at high risk of flooding, the Food and Africulture Organisation warned.

    Most countries in the region, including Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, are affected, it said, quoting quoted Cindy Holleman, FAO regional emergency coordinator.

    “Food insecurity levels are already critical in the affected areas of some of these countries and floods will only further worsen the ability of poor farmers to cope and feed their families in the coming months,” Holleman added.

  49. Michael T. says:

    Clouds — An Unwelcome Blanket for Arctic Sea Ice?

    By Anthony Del Genio — February 2011

    The climate of the Arctic appears to be extremely sensitive to human influences, but it is relatively poorly understood because it is poorly observed and involves interactions among the ocean, the overlying sea ice, snow resting on the sea ice, and the atmosphere above. Climate models predict significant future Arctic sea ice decline as the planet warms, but the models disagree over the rate at which this will occur, and the rate of sea ice retreat observed during the satellite era is actually faster than the model predictions, suggesting that the models do not adequately simulate the physical processes that regulate sea ice thickness and extent.

  50. Colorado Bob says:

    BBC Wales weather forecaster Derek Brockway said 189.4mm (7.45in) of rain had already fallen since the beginning of the month, more than the February average of 138.7mm (5.46in).

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    Michael i think the reason why the models predictions are to conservative with estimating sea ice loose, is because of the non linear properties of ice sheet behavior, speaking of tipping points.

  52. Prokaryotes says:

    The Shift In State Of The Atmosphere

    What is needed are urgent measures including deep cuts in carbon emissions and down- draw of atmospheric CO2, fast-track transformation to non-polluting energy utilities (solar, solar-thermal, wind, tide, geothermal, hot rocks), global reforestation and re-vegetation campaigns, including application of biochar (pyrolysis of biomass).

  53. David B. Benson says:

    catman306 — And white automobiles as well.

    Convince your local councilmen…

  54. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Prokaryotes #14, 15, the appellationally euphonious Herr Krauthammer is a classic example of Homo robopathicus, and his denunciation of climate science and the near total (rare in science)global consensus, as a ‘religion’, is simply crude projection. The only people suffering from religious delusion are Rightists like Herr Krauthammer who are so devoted to their God, Greed, that they are prepared to sacrifice all their sons and daughters, and everybody else’s, on his altar. Abraham was only prepared to do away with one. As for climate change bringing down the Roman Empire, that cannot be true. I distinctly recall our school Divinity teacher, between warnings of the dangers of Communism, telling us that Rome fell because of ‘moral lapses’-something to do with ‘sodomy’, which brought snickers from certain quarters.

  55. Prokaryotes says:

    Lol, and you are so right :)

  56. Eli Rabett says:

    Instead of

    As always, if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sharply enough to avert multiple catastrophes, you need a high and rising price on CO2.


    As always, if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sharply enough to avert multiple catastrophes, you need a higher price that reflects the actual cost of CO2 emissions.

  57. catman306 says:

    “David B. Benson says:

    And white automobiles as well.

    Convince your local councilmen…”

    Actually this albedo raising mandate would have to come from the top down and be nationwide. It would cost nothing. Since air conditioning is a large part of a city’s energy consumption, raising a city’s albedo would have drastic results in lowering energy consumption and thereby lower CO2 emissions without additional costs.

    The people wouldn’t mind if they knew what we do about how climate change will effect them.

  58. David B. Benson says:

    catman306 — Moving to white on top is something well suited to local action. It’ll catch on in most places once started.

  59. paulm says:

    Oh, Richard, Oh Yes. Welcome on board….

    Preparing for climate change ‘will boost economy’

  60. Joe Earth says:

    It’s great that the gov’t is increasing funding for the development of solar technology. Now, how will that decrease costs for consumers who might use it?

  61. Mike#22 says:

    Joe, the DOE has a webpage describing where this Sunshot aims. They are adding some millions to the larger effort already underway. Dollar a watt installed is ambitious, but that would deliver very competitive electricity at the wholesale level for utility scale installs across the country. So in this case, consumers will see level or declining costs for the electricity they buy, since sunlight is a permanent resource (unlike coal) and once at one dollar a watt, installed costs would likely keep falling.

    For a consumer looking to displace their electricity consumption with their own generation, the price to compare is the retail costs of delivered electricity. Depending on where you live, two to three dollars a watt installed will do that.

    Some module manufacturers are claiming “a dollar a watt” at the factory gate. Add to that the cost of a microinverter for each panel, such as made by Enphase, at about sixty cents a watt, and a retail plug and play (connects directly into house wiring) solution in the three dollar a watt range like the Andalay panel is already here. Still have to put it up though.

    Its early days yet. Once PV manufacturing really ramps up and automates, costs will go down. Dollar a watt installed? Ambitious.

  62. MightyDrunken says:

    I have high hopes for solar power and believe the reduction of 75% in costs is achievable in the next decade – possibly without new technology if we scale up solar thermal power.
    PV is also very exciting with many contenders for relatively cheap, light and flexible PV technology. But the one I love uses nano technology to make antennas to capture light like you do with radio waves. To capture visible light in this way may be beyond technology as you need electrical circuits which operate at the same frequency about 400 trillion times a second for blue light. Infra-red is almost achievable now any may have a very high efficiency!

    With graphene transistors the final hurdle may be overcome very soon. :)

  63. Prokaryotes says:


    Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011) More at IMDbPro »

    A feature length documentary work which presents a case for a needed transition out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs the entire world society. This subject matter will transcend the issues of cultural relativism and traditional ideology and move to relate the core, empirical “life ground” attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural laws into a new sustainable social paradigm called a “Resource-Based Economy”.

    Free download

    Going to watch this soon …

  64. Prokaryotes says:


  65. Prokaryotes says:

    Keith Olbermann Could Boost Ratings for Current TV Tenfold: Analyst

    I hope they have a online live stream too!

  66. Prokaryotes says:

    Obama to call for $53B for high-speed rail

    President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan for high-speed rail, as he seeks to use infrastructure spending to jumpstart job creation.

    An initial $8 billion in spending will be part of the budget plan Obama is set to release Monday. If Congress approves the plan, the money would go toward developing or improving trains that travel up to 250 miles per hour, and connecting existing rail lines to new projects. The White House wouldn’t say where the money for the rest of the program would come from, though it’s likely Obama would seek funding in future budgets or transportation bills.

    Obama’s push for high-speed rail spending is part of his broad goal of creating jobs in the short-term and increasing American competitiveness for the future through new spending on infrastructure, education and innovation. During last month’s State of the Union address, Obama said he wanted to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

    That’s one of the best things i read lately.

  67. Prokaryotes says:

    U.S. Rep. Fred Upton criticized for ‘flip-flop’ on climate change

    Has Fred Upton flip-flopped on the issue of climate change?

    Upton, Republican congressman of St. Joseph, has received a lot of press coverage in the last two weeks after floating a draft bill that would strip the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

    Several media outlets and environmental groups have seized on an Upton statement from April 2009 in which he called climate change a “serious problem” as evidence of an about-face on the issue now that he’s chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

    A long, but interesting and well-researched story in the Los Angeles Times chronicles the rise of the Koch brothers’ influence on the GOP. The story suggests Upton has changed his stance on climate change: “Until recently, Upton would have been an unlikely champion of that view.”

  68. Prokaryotes says:

    Labor uses report to bolster carbon price

    LABOR will attempt to bolster its case for a carbon price with evidence its three years in power have failed to stop Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions skyrocketing.

    A climate change department analysis estimates emissions in 2020 will be 24 per cent higher than in 2000 if the government sticks with current policies. The government and opposition have pledged a minimum 5 per cent cut in that time frame.

    Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the report showed the projected emissions for 2020 needed to be reduced by 160 million tonnes for Australia to meet that target.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    He said a carbon price – requiring industries to pay for their greenhouse output to encourage a shift to cleaner technology – was essential to make emissions cuts.

    ”Clearly more needs to be done, and that’s why we need a carbon price, soon,” he said in a statement.

    Yes! ACTION!

  69. Prokaryotes says:

    Engineers urge government to act now to ‘climate-proof’ UK infrastructure

    Report sets out how transport, water, power and communications systems can be made more resilient to effects of climate change