Energy and global warming news for February 9, 2011: Solar energy in CA cheaper than natural gas; Proposed EPA rules on power plants could bring jobs to Michigan

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"Energy and global warming news for February 9, 2011: Solar energy in CA cheaper than natural gas; Proposed EPA rules on power plants could bring jobs to Michigan"

SCE’s proposed contracts for 250 MW of solar PV projects come in below price of natural gas

We hear it every day: “Solar is too expensive.” Well, not according to the California utility Southern California Edison.

In a recent filing to the state’s Public Utilities Commission, SCE asked for approval of 20 solar PV projects worth 250 MW – all of which are expected to generate a total of 567 GWh of electricity for less than the price of natural gas.

Although the exact details of the 20-year contracts for the projects are kept confidential for a few years, the utility reports that all winning solar developers issued bids for contracts below the Market Price Referent, which is the estimated cost of electricity from a 500-MW combined-cycle natural gas plant.

What does that mean? It means that a large number of solar PV project developers believe they can deliver solar electricity at a very competitive price. And these aren’t mega-projects either. All of the installations will be between 4.7 MW and 20 MW – a sweet spot for PV projects.

Although the price of natural gas has plummeted in recent years because of excessive production and lower demand for power, the cost of solar projects and the price of solar electricity has dropped in tandem. With stong solar requirements in states like California, demand for PV has stayed strong.

“Solar energy is a natural hedge against rising energy costs – a hedge that regulators and utilities are turning to lower electricity costs for their customers,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

California regulators seem to agree that mid-sized solar PV installations, which capture economies of scale but suffer fewer regulatory and transmission constraints, are an important part of the market.

These latest projects were solicited through SCE’s Renewables Standard Contracts program, a reverse auction mechanism implemented by the utility in 2010. The program is a precursor to California’s Reverse Auction Mechanism (RAM) that was approved last December. That 1-GW program requires California’s three largest utilities to hold auctions twice a year to solicit bids from developers of mid-sized (i.e. 1-20 MW) solar PV projects.

The 250 MW of contracts sent to the CPUC for approval is in addition to a 500-MW solar program initiated by SCE in 2009.

According to SCE’s filing, the utility seems to be genuinely positive about the prospects for solar PV:

“Solar PV is a mature and proven renewable energy technology that has been supplying a substantial amount of renewable energy to SCE and other California load-serving entities (“LSEs”) for several years.”

While large-scale concentrating solar power projects have been gaining ground in California and other southwestern states, PV is looking like the better option in many cases. Due to the steady declines in the cost of production and price of modules, as well as improvements in Balance of Systems technologies (i.e. power electronics, racking and wiring) that make installations more efficient, solar PV is leading the way.

“The solar industry has done a great job in bringing down costs – long a promise, now a reality,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, in a response to the recent SCE announcement. “These are price-points that can really scale, and will encourage policymakers to think big.”

In a recent report from GTM Research comparing similar-sized CSP and PV projects, the authors forecast that electricity from utility-scale PV plants will be considerably lower than some CSP technologies. In the next decade, the research firm projects CSP plants will be generating electricity in the $0.10 to $0.12 per kWh range and PV will be producing electricity in the $0.07 to $0.08 kWh range. (On the flip side, CSP technologies can offer storage capabilities and hybrid natural gas components, providing value that PV can’t necessarily deliver.)

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Republicans v. EPA battle goes public

The GOP-led campaign to scuttle the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas rules will burst into public view Wednesday.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will be the star witness at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) bill to block regulation of power plants, refineries, factories and other facilities.

Both sides have been making their case in various forums of late “” Upton has been on a media blitz, while Jackson used a speech at a major conference Tuesday to argue that the Clean Air Act has a history of protecting public health without weighing on the economy.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee’s top Democrat, on Tuesday circulated a highly critical memo about Upton’s draft bill.

And later in the day he sent a letter to Upton noting that Stephen Johnson, who was EPA Administrator under former President George W. Bush, had supported issuing an “endangerment finding” that greenhouse gases pose a threat to human health and welfare.

EPA, greens strike back against Republican ‘job-killing’ message

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and green groups are ramping up their campaign to counter GOP claims that air pollution rules are “job-killers.”

Their efforts come ahead of Capitol Hill hearings this week that will feature a barrage of GOP and industry attacks on Obama administration regulations.

“Since EPA’s inception, we’ve heard concerns that meeting reasonable health standards hurts bottom lines and prevents job creation. But in truth, updating environmental standards not only closes pollution loopholes, but levels the playing field and provides certainty to businesses to create jobs,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Tuesday.Jackson “” who said the Clean Air Act has provided “trillions of dollars in health benefits” “” spoke to a “green jobs” conference hosted by the Blue Green Alliance, a coalition that includes the Sierra Club and the United Steel Workers.

“The total benefits of the Clean Air Act amount to more than 40 times the cost of regulation. For every dollar we have spent, we’ve gotten $40 in benefits in return. So say what you want about EPA’s business sense, we know how to get a return on our investment,” said Jackson, who noted that the air law has sharply cut pollution over four decades even as GDP has risen 207 percent over that time.

Proposed EPA rules on power plants could bring jobs to Michigan

Michigan would gain about 12,469 construction jobs a year for five years if proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air pollution rules go into effect, according to a study released today.

The report, prepared by James Heintz of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts and released at the 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference in Washington, D.C., says investment to clean and modernize U.S. power plants nationally is expected to create 1.46 million direct and indirect new jobs through 2015.

Australia blames mining for greenhouse gas rise

Australia said Wednesday carbon emissions will rise more than predicted by 2020 in the world’s biggest per capita polluter, blaming its Asian-led mining boom.

The climate change department predicted Australia’s emissions will surge by as much as 24 percent by 2020 compared to 2000 levels, four percent higher than last year’s projections.

“Growth to 2020 is dominated by emissions associated with the extraction and processing of energy resources driven by strong export demand,” the department said in its annual emissions report.

“Fugitive emissions from coal mines and oil and gas projects, as well as direct fuel combustion emissions from LNG projects, account for almost half of the growth in Australia’s total emissions from 2010 to 2020.”

The report found Australia was on track to reduce emissions to 106 percent of 1990 levels by 2012, two percent lower than its target agreed under the Kyoto protocol.

But it also said total emissions would grow 1.8 percent annually over the coming decade, compared with 0.4 percent since 2000.

By 2030 the report said emissions could be 44 percent above 2000 levels, though it cautioned this was a less reliable prediction.

Australia is the world’s worst per capita polluter and home to its biggest coal export port, shipping millions of tonnes of energy and steelmaking coal to Asian markets annually, as well as iron ore and other minerals.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill signals need for more investment in green technology

The most common refrain coming from Louisiana’s political representatives in Washington is that overreaction to the Deepwater Horizon disaster has stifled an otherwise worthy and indispensable industry in the Gulf.

But that was decidedly not the message delivered Tuesday at the opening day of a three-day Green Jobs conference sponsored by a “Blue Green Alliance” of labor unions and environmentalists — led by the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club — who see the disaster as a clarion call for greater investments in green technology.”Why did we put all our eggs in the oil and gas industry basket? Why haven’t we diversified our economy?” asked Jordan Macha, whose title — Gulf Coast Beyond Oil Regional Representative for the Sierra Club — encapsulates her uphill mission.

“Why can’t the Gulf Coast lead the nation in turning to green industry?” asked Macha, who in another statement of what amounts to ideological apostasy in Louisiana political circles, said the oil industry’s safety record might improve if a larger percentage of its workers were unionized.

Macha was part of a workshop titled, “11 Workers Killed and the Worst Environmental Disaster Ever: How Do We Respond to the Deepwater Horizon Explosion?”

White House to propose $53B for existing rail, high-speed project

The White House will dedicate $53 billion over the next six years to improve existing rail corridors and dedicate new tracks for high-speed trains, Vice President Joe Biden announced today.

The $53 billion injection will start with an $8 billion down payment in President Obama’s 2012 budget, which is set to be released Monday. The investment builds on President Obama’s promise in the State of the Union address to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail in 25 years.

“As President Obama said in his State of the Union, there are key places where we cannot afford to sacrifice as a nation — one of which is infrastructure,” said Biden, speaking with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Philadelphia this morning. “As a longtime Amtrak rider and advocate, I understand the need to invest in a modern rail system that will help connect communities, reduce congestion and create quality, skilled manufacturing jobs that cannot be outsourced.”

According to a White House press release, the funds will offer states long-term certainty to start planning rail routes. So far, the administration has paid out $10.5 billion, including nearly $2.4 billion to Florida and more than $3 billion to California. Obama had previously promised to spend at least $1 billion a year over five years on rail projects.

Although the price of natural gas has plummeted in recent years because of excessive production and lower demand for power, the cost of solar projects and the price of solar electricity has dropped in tandem. With stong solar requirements in states like California, demand for PV has stayed strong.

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36 Responses to Energy and global warming news for February 9, 2011: Solar energy in CA cheaper than natural gas; Proposed EPA rules on power plants could bring jobs to Michigan

  1. Colorado Bob says:

    CENTRAL, Western and Southeast districts of QLD received more heavy rain with storms yesterday.

    Baralaba in the Capricornia picked up a hefty 123mm in the 24 hours to 9am, this is their heaviest daily rain total in 8 years for any month.

    http://qcl.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/more-heavy-rain-for-qld/2071482.aspx

  2. Colorado Bob says:

    Sri Lanka flood damage bill estimated at 450 million dollars

    The floods also caused breaches in irrigation dams and damage to canals and reservoirs, Agriculture Ministry officials said.

    “The impact on people of this second wave of floods is even greater than the first in large part as people’s capacity to cope was already diminished,” UN humanitarian coordinator Neil Buhne said.

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/366330,estimated-450-million-dollars.html

  3. Colorado Bob says:

    Renewed flooding in Sri Lanka kills 11, affects 1.05 million
    Dr. Masters :
    According to the United Nations, the rains in January in Sri Lanka were the heaviest in nearly 100 years of record keeping. The flood that resulted was a 1-in-100 year event, according to The U.N. Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. Rainfall at Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, during the 42-day period December 1 – January 12 was 1606 mm (63″), which is about how much rain the station usually receives in an entire year (1651 mm, or 65″.) Satellite estimates of rainfall over Sri Lanka for the first week of February show that up to 12 inches (300 mm) of rain has fallen. The latest rainfall forecast from the GFS model projects that a tropical disturbance (91B) near Sri Lanka will bring an additional 1 – 3 inches of rain to the flood area this week, so the flood waters will be slow to recede.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1743#commenttop

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    Dark days for Nepal during energy crisis – Feature

    Nepal was to face 14 hours of daily power cuts starting Monday, the Nepal Electricity Authority said.

    The daily scheduled cuts would go up from 12 hours to 14 hours because electricity generation had decreased with the receding water levels in reservoirs.

    Energy Minister Prakash Saran Mahat painted a bleak picture of the situation last week.

    “Since no major power plant construction has taken place so far, the country will still face power cuts for the next five years,” he said.

    Nepal depends largely on hydroelectric generation for its electricity. It currently produces about 250 megawatts of electricity, but demand is 780 megawatts.

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/366141,energy-crisis-feature.html

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    From the story @ 4 –
    Even though Thatje predicted the crab invasion several years ago in a research paper, he was surprised at seeing so many so quickly.

    “The pace of changes that we are observing here in the Antarctic, which is the remotest continent on this planet, is quite frightening,” he said.

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    Re, “Australia blames mining for greenhouse gas rise”

    Acknowledging the problem is the first step, better late than never.

  7. Michael T. says:

    U.S. State of the Climate National Overview – January 2011
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2011/1

    Temperature Highlights:

    •Across the contiguous United States, the average January temperature was 30.0°F (-1.1°C) which is 0.8°F (0.4°C) below the 1901-2000 average.January 2011 was the coolest January since 1994 when the average temperature was 28.3°F (-2.1°C), breaking a long string of warm or near-normal Januaries.

    •Cooler-than-normal conditions dominated most areas east of the Rocky Mountains while the western coastal states of California, Oregon and Washington were above-normal in January.

    •The past three months (November-January) were especially cool in the Southeast climate region, which experienced its seventh coolest such period. Five states had top-ten-coolest such periods: Georgia (4th coolest), North Carolina (5th), South Carolina (6th), Florida (8th), and West Virginia (9th).

    •Looking at a rolling twelve-month period (February 2010-January 2011), average temperatures were record warm in Maine (3.5°F [1.9°C] above normal), New Hampshire (3.1°F [1.7°C] above normal) and Rhode Island (3.1°F [1.7°C] above normal-tied with 2002). Eight other states, in the Northeast and Great Lakes areas, averaged a temperature for the period among their ten warmest. The Northeast climate region experienced its fourth warmest such period.

    NCDC/NOAA also produces these temp. and precip. graphs of states/regions and different periods of time showing their long-term trends:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/time-series/

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    U.S. House Republicans push energy, science cuts

    U.S. Scientific research, high-speed rail, environmental protection and other priorities of the Obama administration would face steep cuts under a congressional Republican spending plan released on Wednesday.

    More than 60 programs would be eliminated entirely, including birth control funding, the Americorps volunteer program, public broadcasting, the community-oriented policing program and a weatherization program for homes and office buildings.

    Republicans in the House of Representatives aim to impose immediate cuts averaging 15 percent on domestic spending programs to narrow a budget deficit that is projected to hit a record $1.5 trillion this year, and show conservative voters that they are serious about scaling back the size of government.

    The proposal has virtually no chance of becoming law because President Barack Obama and the Democrats who control the Senate are certain to oppose it.

    But it will frame a debate over federal spending that is likely to dominate Washington this year. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/09/usa-congress-spending-idUSN0917613320110209

    Great, in the meantime climate change is accelerating and become much more pronounced. In the USA too! At least we know who to blame …

  9. Tom says:

    Quick comment on 58 billion on high speed train that only a few use. can’t we find something more beneficial to use our taxes for, such as, Wedges. The easiest one is efficiency. Offering factories a few million do up grade and make manufacturing more efficient would have a greater return then the wasted trains. How about take a few billions and support the solar R&D initiatives. Create a fund that will help startup solar installers. we could always use a new combustion engine and transmission that would improve efficiency in our autos.

    With all these suggestions implemented it still would be less then that 58 billion that again be wasted on Trains. Beside didn’t Bush give the train billions early in his term. Those billions were wasted for rider ship on trains has fallen during his term. Talk about a waste.

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    Can Geoengineering Save Australia?

    While floods hit northeastern Australia, southern Australia has been suffering through the worst drought in its history, one that has lasted a decade. In 2009, The Washington Post described the Outback as a “crematorium for kangaroos, livestock and farm towns.”
    “They’re optimistically calling it a drought,” says the veteran climate scientist Michael MacCracken. The drier conditions in Australia’s major agricultural areas appear to be a result of a shift in the storm track to the south, he says: “It’s not a drought. The Sahara isn’t having a drought. It looks instead to be climate change.”

    MacCracken is deeply interested in geoengineering. He was lead author of a section on geoengineering in the 1995 report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). So, when we met recently, we got to talking about Australia, and whether geoengineering could help there.
    It’s too soon to know, without further research, but MacCracken says research is exactly what’s needed. In 2009, he wrote a 11-page essay called On the possible use of geoengineering to moderate specific climate change impacts [PDF, download].
    It’s about the potential for targeted, localized geoengineering — the idea that geoengineering techniques, including solar radiation management and cloud whitening over the ocean, could be deployed, not to cool the planet as a whole, but to alleviate “specific consequences of climate change” that are causing significant negative impacts on the environment or society:
    …Among the particularly severe consequences of climate change and emissions mitigation that geoengineering might be able to beneficially moderate are the rapid warming of the Arctic, the intensification of tropical cyclones and drought … http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2011/01/18/can-geoengineering-save-australia

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    Bordeaux’s fabled wine grapes are under threat from global warming, climate experts told a meeting of industry leaders Tuesday.

    “The pessimistic scenario shows that Bordeaux’s climate, by 2050, will no longer favour Cabernet and Merlot,” the backbone varietals of the region’s red wines, said Jean-Pascal Goutouly, a researcher at the National Institute for Agricultural research (INRA).

    http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/Bordeaux_wines_face_climate_threat_experts_999.html

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    A Climate Cure’s Dark Side

    It sounded like a panacea for climate change: “geo-engineering” the atmosphere to block some sunlight and counter global warming. Now scientists scrutinizing the approach say it could produce dangerous cascade effects, severely disrupting weather and agriculture—and might fail to block the worst of the greenhouse effects anyway.
    Two prominent climate scientists raised the possibility of geo-engineering in 2006, and it’s been invoked as the world’s emergency escape hatch ever since—a quick fix to stabilize or even reverse the heating of the planet. It would head off worsening heat waves, droughts, and rising sea levels. The estimated price is right, too. A 2009 analysis found that geo-engineering would cost only $2 billion or so a year, chump change compared with converting from CO2-producing coal, oil, and natural gas to wind, solar, nuclear, and biofuels.
    But further study shows worrying pitfalls, according to a series of research papers that will appear in the next issue of Atmospheric Science Letters. The greatest threat is to Asian monsoons, which are driven by the temperature difference between warm land and cooler seas. In one scheme, a fleet of jets would crisscross the planet releasing five megatons of sulfur dioxide gas every year. The gas would mix with water in the stratosphere to form minuscule particles called sulfate aerosols, which scatter incoming sunlight back to space before it warms the atmosphere or ground. (That’s also how volcanic eruptions cool the planet.)
    In perhaps the greatest surprise to scientists, geo-engineering looks like it would fail to stop warming in the Arctic. “Quite a bit of warming keeps occurring there,” says Boucher, “so you don’t manage to reverse the greenhouse effect there.” Trouble is, loss of sea ice saps high-pressure bands that bottle up arctic winds, steering winter storms farther south. Europe and the U.S. would continue to be walloped by severe winter cold and snow, and ocean levels would keep rising. (Expect a seller’s market in sea walls.) http://biochar.me/science/25-geoengineering-geoengineering/75-a-climate-cure’s-dark-side.html

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Message for Policymakers: Ocean Iron Fertilization Chances of Success Low

    Another summary of the potential risks and benefits of ocean iron fertilization–the geoengineering method which proposes seeding oceans with iron so as to stimulate microscopic plants that absorb carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it–comes down against it. The summary for policymakers produced by scientists from seven countries concludes that the chances of success using iron fertilization to stop climate change are low.

    Lead author of the report, Professor Doug Wallace of the Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, says that published accounts of experiments conducted so far “suggest that even very large-scale fertilization would remove only modest amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over 100 years.” http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/01/ocean-iron-fertilization-chances-success-low.php

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Oil Services Favorites: Schlumberger, National Oilwell Varco

    “Oil had a good year in 2010, rising 15 percent, and 2011 looks to be even better, as a stronger global economy pushes demand for resources higher,” says Stephen Leeb.

    The editor of The Complete Investor explains, “Oil service and equipment companies are the most leveraged way to play rising oil prices. Here’s a look a Schlumberger (SLB) and National Oilwell Varco (NOV).

    “First is Schlumberger, operating in more than 80 countries. The company is the world’s leading supplier of energy technology, project management, and information solutions.

    “In November, it opened a geo-engineering center in Brazil focused on improving production and recovery from the potentially major deepwater and pre-salt fields off the coast. http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2011/02/09/schlumberger-national-oilwell-varco/

  15. 350 Now says:

    ABSURD.

    Having listened to the audio of 95% of Upton’s Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing online today (and yes, my ears are mostly bleeding), I predict the new catch word for the GOP in the weeks ahead will be “absurd.” EPA Administrator Jackson was asked a question by a GOP legislator (didn’t catch his name) to which the only conceivably logical answer was “absurd.” Now they have seized upon it like a hungry dog to a bone – and staying classy as ever, are using the comment completely out of context of her reply against her.

    But if there is a bit of poetic justice in the world, it may be this: just as former GOP Congressman Bob Inglis of SC (who was defeated by a GOP-Tea party candidate) suggested – those that deny AGW should go on record with their convictions. Then their grandchildren will be able to point back DIRECTLY to the mangy greedy dogs that they are and their actions that ravaged what was rightfully their birthright – clean air, water and soil.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRVlIT__w6A&feature=player_embedded

    And lest anyone think the hearings were fair and balanced (maybe in the FAUX news fantasy world ), consider Rep. Waxman’s comment at 3:13 pm EST regarding the leadership’s preventing the testimony by large, successful businesses who operate within the EPA regs and still make a healthy profit – being denied the opportunity to testify before the committee today. Nothing like stacking a one-sided debate, right, boys?

    I was very proud of Lisa Jackson today and think she did us all proud.

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    ATTENTION

    Lift-off
    Research into the possibility of engineering a better climate is progressing at an impressive rate

    The idea of liming is a comparatively old one, first mooted by Haroon Kheshgi, a researcher at ExxonMobil, in the mid-1990s. Dr Kruger’s work, meanwhile, was recently supported by a grant from another oil company, Shell, through what it calls its GameChanger programme. Cynics may smile at the oil companies’ involvement, and at the intellectual property and plans for profit that companies trying to pull carbon out of the atmosphere all rely on. But money is needed. Shell’s money, for instance, paid for a panel of researchers to look into Mr Kruger’s plans. They concluded that if put to use they might lock up carbon dioxide for $40 a tonne—which seems almost embarrassingly cheap, and which, as a preliminary figure, Mr Kruger is keen not to hype. Dr Keith thinks his air capture might, with luck, manage $100 a tonne. People further from the technology, but with less of a direct interest in its success, think prices will be higher. http://www.economist.com/node/17414216

    MacAfrican wrote: Nov 8th 2010 7:01 GMT
    It makes perfect sense from a self-interest and economic perspective for Shell/Exxon/etc to pump tens of millions into geoengineering propoganda because even a scheme that costs $100 per tonne of carbon for the few million tonnes the scheme can sequester is nothing compared to the same companies being taxed say $25 per tonne of carbon for ALL the carbon they actually emit each year.

    Other readers have said it all : this is sheer madness. http://www.economist.com/node/17414216/comments?page=4

    There is this high possibility that Exxon and Koch Industries and others, are already engineering the climate on large scale.

    An Evil Atmosphere Is Forming Around Geoengineering http://www.countercurrents.org/hamilton240710.htm

  17. LazyTeenager says:

    Prokaryotes says
    ———
    While floods hit northeastern Australia, southern Australia has been suffering through the worst drought in its history, one that has lasted a decade. In 2009, The Washington Post described the Outback as a “crematorium for kangaroos, livestock and farm towns.”
    ———-
    this is way out of date and extremely misleading. The last year has seen the drought broken and very good rains. Some of the southern states saw floods from the tail end of Yasi.

  18. Colorado Bob says:

    Using mathematical modeling to estimate the energetic impacts of a shortened hunting season, the research team calculated the following scenarios:

    If spring break up in Hudson Bay comes one month earlier than in the 1990s, 40 to 73 per cent of pregnant female polar bears will not reproduce.

    If the ice breaks up two months earlier than in the 1990s, 55 to a full 100 per cent of all pregnant female polar bears in western Hudson Bay will not have a cub.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208112647.htm

  19. Colorado Bob says:

    Coral Reefs Trace Australia’s Historic Rainfall

    “This reconstruction provides a new insight into rainfall in northeast Queensland,” said study author Janice Lough, a climate scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, in Queensland, Australia. “These coral samples, which date from 1639 to 1981, suggest that the summer of 1973 to 1974 was the wettest in 300 years. This summer is now being compared with that record-setting one.”

    http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/australia-corals-weather-110209-1088/

  20. paulm says:

    re 20.
    Was there anything climatically special about 73-74?

  21. paulm says:

    movement down under…

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/10/3135059.htm?section=justin
    Flannery to helm climate change commission
    Updated 35 minutes ago

    Professor Tim Flannery. (Australian Science Media Centre)

    Former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery will head the Federal Government’s climate change commission.

    The commission is being set up to help the Government build community consensus on the need for a price on carbon.

    The Government agreed to set up the commission after dumping its election promise of a citizens’ assembly.

    The body will be made up of climate experts.

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    paulm “Was there anything climatically special about 73-74?”

    Yes

    1974 Brisbane flood

    The 1974 Brisbane flood occurred in January 1974 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, when waterways in the city experienced significant flooding. The Brisbane River, which runs through the heart of the city, broke its banks and flooded the surrounding areas.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_Brisbane_flood

    This time they had the dam, and there are reports that it was worse than 1974.

  23. paulm says:

    “We’re going to have just a big brushpile on our hands..”: The Amazon’s 3 “100 year droughts” in the Last 15 Years
    February 7, 2011
    The amazon die back…predicted to arrive around 2040/50 is happening now. Could that be because of the added stress humans are putting on it or the fact that the climate has fallen off the cliff.

    Probably both!

  24. dbmetzger says:

    More on the former prison colony… environmentally speaking
    Australian Carbon Emissions to Exceed Targets
    A Federal Government report has shown Australia is on track to exceed its carbon emissions target by 2020. http://www.newslook.com/videos/289234-australian-carbon-emissions-to-exceed-targets?autoplay=true

  25. Mike says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/us/09roofs.html

    Winter’s Punch Crumbles Roofs in New England
    By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
    Published: February 8, 2011

    Homes, shopping plazas, a facility for people with mental illness, an airport hangar, a church, a saw mill, greenhouses, small businesses and at least 130 barns, those set pieces of the New England landscape — all have imploded under the snow.

    ———————————————–

    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/4032/sea-creatures-cant-grow-shells-warming-ocean

    Sea creatures can’t develop in warming ocean
    Tuesday, 8 February 2011
    Cosmos Online

    SYDNEY: Sea urchins and marine abalone – large sea snails – will not develop skeletons if the ocean continues to warm and acidify as predicted, new research has shown.

  26. paulm says:

    But what caused this?

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    Re paulm #22

    In this stunning video Tim Flannery speaks starting at 3:30, about biochar
    http://biochar.me/8-biochar-biochar/53-biochar-agrichar-terra-preta.html

  28. 350 Now says:

    Abandon Earth: GOP’s New Climate Strategy:

    http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/09/gop-abandon-earth/

    Is it April Fools Day 7 weeks early?

  29. Michael T. says:

    SciCafe: Life the Universe and Everything with Neil deGrasse Tyson

    “American Museum of Natural History’s Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson, hosted “Life the Universe and Everything: A Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson” at the Museum on June 2, 2010 as part of the ongoing free SciCafe series.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KRZQQ_eICo

  30. paulm says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/feb/09/australia-extreme-weather-flooding-drought
    Australia’s recent extreme weather isn’t so extreme anymore
    Global warming theory says cyclones, flooding and droughts will become more commonplace – and it’s already happening

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    Another phrase from a shirt –

    There Is No Planet “B”

  32. Colorado Bob says:

    The Republicans are enjoying beating the Democrats over the head with the subject—witness Mr Upton’s eagerness to cross-examine Ms Jackson—and would not want to give them any let-outs. And they are keen to play to their own base with displays of unflinching opposition to government meddling. Congress’s intention in discussing global warming is no longer legislating, but electioneering.

    http://www.economist.com/node/18114709?story_id=18114709

  33. Leif says:

    It is not intuitive but science tells us that a coating on glass only a few molecules thick can block out 60% of solar radiation from entering the home. (low E-Glass) Even thou the coating is too thin to “see” it still works on both liberal and GOBP homes. The science is broadly accepted. Much money in AC expenses is saved.

    Science tells us other molecules in the atmosphere tens of thousands of feet thick can prevent Earth’s long wave radiation from leaving the earth in a timely manor. Thus increasing Global temperatures and disrupting long established climatic systems. The increase is still too defuse to “see” with the unaided eye and GOBP refuse to look at the data thus preventing mitigating efforts. Much money is lost.

    Note to the GOBP. Since most of the money is currently held by the GOBP faction, most of the lost money will be yours!

    Most of the loss of life will be ours, but that is another story and somebody else’s problem.

  34. Prokaryotes says:

    Another downside of natural gas

    Allentown, Pa., Explosion Leaves Three Dead, Two Missing
    Authorities Investigate Explosion, Fires in Allentown Touched Off By Natural Gas Pipeline
    Three people were killed and two are missing after a powerful gasline explosion ripped through downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/pennsylvania-natural-gas-explosion-leaves-dead/story?id=12883552

  35. Prokaryotes says:

    ahumanright.org plans to buy satellite and provide free Internet access for entire world http://www.gizmag.com/ahumanright-worlwide-free-internet-access/17820/