August 9 News: 90-Degree River Shuts TN Nuclear Plant for Second Time; Offsets Could Make up 85% of CA’s Cap and Trade Program

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"August 9 News: 90-Degree River Shuts TN Nuclear Plant for Second Time; Offsets Could Make up 85% of CA’s Cap and Trade Program"


A round-up of climate and energy news. Please post other stories below.

90 Degree River Shuts Tennessee Nuclear Plant for Second Time

As oblivious as the proverbial frogs in slowly boiling water, we are beginning to experience the seemingly benign first years of catastrophic climate change. With the temperature in the Tennessee River approaching that of a nice warm hot tub, for a second summer in a row, three Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear power plants had to shut down this week.

As temperatures across the South have skyrocketed in record-breaking heatwaves, the water in the Tennessee River, where the plants discharge their cooling water, is already a staggering 90 degrees.

Because hot rivers are not good for fish, by law nuclear plants must not heat rivers above 86.9 degrees with their discharged water.

But that now quaint-seeming environmental protection was passed decades ago, well before global warming began to impact air and water temperatures. Summers like these make environmental niceties like not overheating rivers with nuclear cooling water a bit irrelevant, because the river in question is already as hot as a hot tub.

“When the river’s ambient temperature reaches 90 degrees, we can’t add any heat to it,” TVA’s nuclear spokesman Ray Golden told the Times Free Press.

The shutdown marks the second summer in a row that TVA has had to shut down nuclear power as local rivers have reached record temperatures.Last year’s shutdown cost the company $50 million in replacement power, a cost it passed along to its customers. To forestall the same problem reoccurring in future years, TVA invested $80 million in a seventh cooling tower at Browns Ferry, which began construction last October.

Offsets Could Make Up 85% of Calif.’s Cap-And-Trade Program

When can 8 percent also mean 85 percent? Only in the convoluted world of climate law.

Both numbers attempt to sum up the impact of offsets, a controversial part of California’s pending cap-and-trade program. Picking which one best applies is more than a debate over digits.

Starting in 2013, California’s landmark law will impose cap and trade, a system requiring businesses to account for greenhouse gas pollution. Companies will buy and sell allowance permits for their emissions. But they will also have the option of using offsets, investments in forest preservation and other efforts that pare carbon.

California argues cap and trade needs offsets to keep costs low. Environmentalists warn the numbers stack up in a way that threatens the success of the plan.

EIA: High temperatures drove record electricity demand and very high wholesale prices in Texas

Sustained 100+ °F (38+ °C) daily high temperatures in Texas last week led to new electric power demand records three days in a row, reported the US Energy Information Administration. ERCOT, the electric system operator for most of Texas, set demand records Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday last week (1-3 August 2011), exceeding the prior record set 23 August 2010 by 2,518 megawatts (MW) (3.8%).

On Thursday (4 August 2011), ERCOT did not break another all-time record, but probably only because they shed 1,500 MW of interruptible demand. To help lower demand, ERCOT also made a number of public appeals for conservation during the week.

A scarcity of generating capacity sent wholesale prices to record levels. Peak hourly day-ahead prices climbed higher each day reaching $2,500 per megawatt hour, more than 50 times the average daily on-peak wholesale prices in ERCOT for the first half of 2011, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Friday (5 August 2011).

Yosemite Installs Largest National Park Solar Array

Yosemite National Park is known for El Capitan and the breathtaking views captured by Ansel Adams, but visitors may soon remember another sight from their trip.  Yosemite has installed the largest solar power array of all the national parks with a 672 kW system that will provide 12 percent of the park’s power needs.

Installed by Suntrek, the system consists of a 500 kW solar canopy over a parking lot, a 100 kW rooftop array on a warehouse and a 72 kW wall mounted array, all located within the park’s maintenance and administrative complex.  The whole system is made up of 2,800 solar PV panels.

The $4.5 million installation will save the park $50,000 a year on energy costs and the park also expects to receive $700,000 in energy rebates from PG&E over the next five years.

U.S. invests more cash into solar power

The U.S. Energy Department announced it was offering a $967 million loan guarantee to back a 290-megawatt solar plant in Arizona.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the loan for Aqua Caliente Solar to support the construction of a solar generating facility in Yuma County, Ariz.

The Energy Department said that when the facility is completed, it would be one of the largest plants of its kind in the world.

“The Agua Caliente Solar project will bring hundreds of jobs to Arizona, while helping increase the reliability of renewable solar power,” Chu said in a statement.

The Energy Department said the United States had a dominant position in the solar energy sector in 1995, manufacturing 43 percent of the world’s solar panels. That market share slipped to 7 percent last year, however.

The so-called SunShot program by the U.S. government aims to spur American innovations to reduce the cost of solar energy.

U.S. President Barack Obama in a January address to the nation laid out a clean-energy target of meeting 80 percent of U.S. energy needs with clean sources by 2035.

Michigan Leads U.S. in ‘Clean’ Car Jobs; Ohio No. 2, Study Says

Michigan has 24 percent of U.S. jobs related to “clean” car technology, the most of any state, a report by the United Auto Workers union and two environmental groups said.

The state where General Motors Co. (GM)Ford Motor Co. (F) and Chrysler Group LLC are based has 38,067 of the 155,466 U.S. workers who make products that increase fuel efficiency or reduce emissions, according to a study released by the UAW, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation. Ohio is No. 2 at 13,753 such jobs.

Michigan also has 97 of the 504 U.S. facilities that create “clean” vehicle technology, the study said. California follows with 79. Seven states have none.

The report also advocated tightened rules for fuel economy and emissions. Automakers agreed last month to double the fuel economy of the vehicles they sell in the U.S. to a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The administration of President Barack Obama had considered a 56.2 mpg requirement, up from a fleetwide average of 27 mpg today for cars and light trucks.

Stronger fuel economy and emissions standards would “put automotive engineers and production workers on the job” and “provide the certainty necessary to foster automotive supplier and automaker investment,” the report said.

SunPower, First Solar plants win environment deals

First Solar and SunPower Corp reached agreements with environmental groups to help protect endangered animals around two of the largest planned solar power plants in the United States, the companies said on Tuesday.

The agreements help clear the way to build First Solar’s 550-megawatt Topaz solar farm and SunPower’s 250-MW California Valley Solar Ranch plants in the Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County.

The Carrizo Plain is a recovery area for the San Joaquin kit fox and giant Kangaroo rat.

Under the agreements with the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, the companies will add 9,000 acres to 17,000 acres that are currently set to be marked as permanently protected areas around the plants.

SunPower and First Solar will also remove 30 miles of fencing to allow for greater wildlife movement, help eliminate poisons used to control rodents in the area and make significant financial contributions to acquire undeveloped areas for restoration.

 

Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:

· Richard Brenne · Top Commenter · UCLA

The first and third stories above remind me that I recently had breakfast with physicist Al Bartlett, who’s been writing and speaking (over 1700 times in 49 states) about how unsustainable exponential growth and most other things about our society are since the 1960s.

He feels that sometime within a century we’ll revert back to the technology of the Amish, or about 1830, as Peak Oil experts James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg and John Michael Greer also feel.

All are quite scholarly (Kunstler’s the only one prone to a little hyperbole and premature predictions, though the substance of his predictions is as accurate as anyone’s) and Heinberg has an excellent essay about what it would take to maintain the electrical grid. It would take trillions we are not investing, first because the rich have not wanted to pay any taxes to ma…See More

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 2:50pm

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Joan Savage · Top Commenter · SUNY-ESF

Thanks for the succinct review.
I doubt if we will get a tidy reversion to anything.
1830 makes me think of grimy collieries, power looms run by steam engines, intense use of animal labor and huge dependence on stable weather conditions to do anything.
The Amish buy fabric, metal work, canning jars and other items that are made with you-know-what energy sources, so their skill set is not as self-sufficient as it once was.
It is going to be a stretch.

2 · Like · Reply · August 9 at 5:17pm

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Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

” First years of catastrophic climate change”.

Time to renforces this slogan banner phase….

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 12:57pm

·

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

July 2011: Most extreme July on record for the U.S.

According to the National Climatic Data Center’s Climate Extremes Index, July 2011 was the most extreme July on record (since 1910) with a value of 37%. The Climate Extremes Index is created by merging the various climate indicators (drought, flood, extreme heat, extreme cold, etc.) into an index that can be tracked over time. This month’s record CEI was due to extreme warm minimum temperatures across the country, wet northern Plains and Great Lakes, extreme warm maximum temperatures, and the severe drought across the South and Gulf Coast.

It was the fourth warmest July on record for the nation, and the fourth warmest month overall with an average temperature of 77°F. Extreme heat continued to bake the South, and Oklahoma and Texas both had their warmest months on record. Oklahom…See More

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 3:16pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/08/japan-tsunami-icebergs-antarctica_n_921659.html

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 1:52pm

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Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/53548/when-glaciers-attack.asp

Like · Reply · August 9 at 3:12pm

·

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

What was the deluge in Pakistan called last year? A one in a 1000 year event?

Widespread rains expected from today.
ISLAMABAD, Aug 7: The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted widespread monsoon rains and thundershowers in parts of the country between August 8 and 14.
http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/08/widespread-rains-expected-from-today.html
…See More

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 11:47am

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Survivors of Patalpani accident remember horrific day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt-la0vAZ0I&NR=1

Like · Reply · August 9 at 11:52am

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Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

New Texas Dust Bowl Spurs Record Cotton Loss.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-09/texas-dust-bowl-redux-spurs-record-u-s-cotton-loss-farm-claims.html

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 2:51pm

·

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

ALEX JONES IS SUCH A RETARD – MOUTHPIECE OF THE KOCH BROTHERS.

Marc Morano & Alex Jones: Al Gore’s Green Nazi Movement Have Lost The Global Warming War! 1/2
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAlexJonesChannel?blend=1&ob=5#p/u/1/BdMQfiRqacQ

STFU ALEX JONES!

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 10:47pm

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Joan Savage · Top Commenter · SUNY-ESF

Water too hot to function as cooling water for a nuclear plant is another item to add to my list of what I think Joe Romm may have meant by the “different in kind” events that come with global warming.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 12:58pm

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Joan Savage · Top Commenter · SUNY-ESF

The UCS has a fact sheet, “Got Water” on the needs of two common kinds of nuclear power plants.
In brief, the discharge water is commonly 30F higher than intake, unless a higher volume of water is used to keep the change in temperature to a lesser 20F.
http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_technology/got-water-nuclear-power.html
It didn’t reveal an engineering limit on the temperature of intake water (though there could be one), so for the moment the emphasis is on the environmental limits of the discharge temperature.

Like · Reply · August 9 at 4:51pm

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Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

Are win trouble? Yep- the more the merrier- as those from the extreme right scurry about.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 11:49am

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Wesley Rolley · Top Commenter · Northwestern University

Yeah, they are truthfully called rip-offsets.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 11:48am

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Barry Saxifrage · Top Commenter

Maybe the nuke plants should install big heat pumps to generate steam from all that overheated water. By capturing river heat via heat pumps they would be cooling the river. The combo might allow the nukes to remove as much heat as they put back into the river.

A common problem with heat pumps using water bodies for heat sources is that they can over-cool those water bodies. In this case it could be used to advantage.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 3:12pm

  • Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/27359_100000882982662_2320_q.jpg

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

Major Carnot Cycle fail. Where does the energy for the heat pumps come from eh?

Like · Reply · August 9 at 7:42pm

·

charlesnathansiegel (signed in using Yahoo)

The obvious solution is to require two-for-one offsets. For each ton of emissions you produce, you must provide enough offsets to reduce emissions by two tons. This would still lower costs for businesses dramatically, and it would jumpstart efforts to reduce emissions.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 12:43pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2087504,00.html
Why the South’s ‘creeping disaster’ could get a whole lot worse.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 1:34pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/27359_100000882982662_2320_q.jpg

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

$2500/megawatt hour would pay for a LOT of solar panels in Texas. It would also cover the cost of a few hundred thousand ice-energy storage systems that could offset cooling loads to cooler hours.

Just a thought Texans.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 7:49pm

·

andrewsdanielj (signed in using Yahoo)

Why 86.9 degrees? That seems awful precise. Why not 87 degrees and up? Is that just a wording issue where you say more than 86.9 rather than 87 and up?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 2:15pm

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Bill Walker · Top Commenter · San Marcos, California

86.9 F = 30.5 C. I’m guessing the limit is specified in degrees C.

Like · Reply · August 9 at 3:42pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

Does anyone think that the time is here where we should start thinking/implementing fossi fuel rationing?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 1:35pm

 

August 9 News: 90-Degree River Shuts TN Nuclear Plant for Second Time; Offsets Could Make up 85% of CA’s Cap and Trade Program

· Richard Brenne · Top Commenter · UCLA

The first and third stories above remind me that I recently had breakfast with physicist Al Bartlett, who’s been writing and speaking (over 1700 times in 49 states) about how unsustainable exponential growth and most other things about our society are since the 1960s.

He feels that sometime within a century we’ll revert back to the technology of the Amish, or about 1830, as Peak Oil experts James Howard Kunstler, Richard Heinberg and John Michael Greer also feel.

All are quite scholarly (Kunstler’s the only one prone to a little hyperbole and premature predictions, though the substance of his predictions is as accurate as anyone’s) and Heinberg has an excellent essay about what it would take to maintain the electrical grid. It would take trillions we are not investing, first because the rich have not wanted to pay any taxes to ma…See More

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 2:50pm

  • Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/203455_100000753080237_5603971_q.jpg

Joan Savage · Top Commenter · SUNY-ESF

Thanks for the succinct review.
I doubt if we will get a tidy reversion to anything.
1830 makes me think of grimy collieries, power looms run by steam engines, intense use of animal labor and huge dependence on stable weather conditions to do anything.
The Amish buy fabric, metal work, canning jars and other items that are made with you-know-what energy sources, so their skill set is not as self-sufficient as it once was.
It is going to be a stretch.

2 · Like · Reply · August 9 at 5:17pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

” First years of catastrophic climate change”.

Time to renforces this slogan banner phase….

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 12:57pm

·

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

July 2011: Most extreme July on record for the U.S.

According to the National Climatic Data Center’s Climate Extremes Index, July 2011 was the most extreme July on record (since 1910) with a value of 37%. The Climate Extremes Index is created by merging the various climate indicators (drought, flood, extreme heat, extreme cold, etc.) into an index that can be tracked over time. This month’s record CEI was due to extreme warm minimum temperatures across the country, wet northern Plains and Great Lakes, extreme warm maximum temperatures, and the severe drought across the South and Gulf Coast.

It was the fourth warmest July on record for the nation, and the fourth warmest month overall with an average temperature of 77°F. Extreme heat continued to bake the South, and Oklahoma and Texas both had their warmest months on record. Oklahom…See More

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 3:16pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/08/japan-tsunami-icebergs-antarctica_n_921659.html

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 1:52pm

  • Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/53548/when-glaciers-attack.asp

Like · Reply · August 9 at 3:12pm

·

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

What was the deluge in Pakistan called last year? A one in a 1000 year event?

Widespread rains expected from today.
ISLAMABAD, Aug 7: The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted widespread monsoon rains and thundershowers in parts of the country between August 8 and 14.
http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/08/widespread-rains-expected-from-today.html
…See More

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 11:47am

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Survivors of Patalpani accident remember horrific day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt-la0vAZ0I&NR=1

Like · Reply · August 9 at 11:52am

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/70339_663574992_694872_q.jpg

Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

New Texas Dust Bowl Spurs Record Cotton Loss.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-09/texas-dust-bowl-redux-spurs-record-u-s-cotton-loss-farm-claims.html

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 2:51pm

·

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

ALEX JONES IS SUCH A RETARD – MOUTHPIECE OF THE KOCH BROTHERS.

Marc Morano & Alex Jones: Al Gore’s Green Nazi Movement Have Lost The Global Warming War! 1/2
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAlexJonesChannel?blend=1&ob=5#p/u/1/BdMQfiRqacQ

STFU ALEX JONES!

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 10:47pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/203455_100000753080237_5603971_q.jpg

Joan Savage · Top Commenter · SUNY-ESF

Water too hot to function as cooling water for a nuclear plant is another item to add to my list of what I think Joe Romm may have meant by the “different in kind” events that come with global warming.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 12:58pm

  • Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/203455_100000753080237_5603971_q.jpg

Joan Savage · Top Commenter · SUNY-ESF

The UCS has a fact sheet, “Got Water” on the needs of two common kinds of nuclear power plants.
In brief, the discharge water is commonly 30F higher than intake, unless a higher volume of water is used to keep the change in temperature to a lesser 20F.
http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_technology/got-water-nuclear-power.html
It didn’t reveal an engineering limit on the temperature of intake water (though there could be one), so for the moment the emphasis is on the environmental limits of the discharge temperature.

Like · Reply · August 9 at 4:51pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/202991_1583576455_316955_q.jpg

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

Are win trouble? Yep- the more the merrier- as those from the extreme right scurry about.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 11:49am

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/173821_1447293072_6801579_q.jpg

Wesley Rolley · Top Commenter · Northwestern University

Yeah, they are truthfully called rip-offsets.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 11:48am

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/187570_100000014917921_4231110_q.jpg

Barry Saxifrage · Top Commenter

Maybe the nuke plants should install big heat pumps to generate steam from all that overheated water. By capturing river heat via heat pumps they would be cooling the river. The combo might allow the nukes to remove as much heat as they put back into the river.

A common problem with heat pumps using water bodies for heat sources is that they can over-cool those water bodies. In this case it could be used to advantage.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 3:12pm

  • Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/27359_100000882982662_2320_q.jpg

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

Major Carnot Cycle fail. Where does the energy for the heat pumps come from eh?

Like · Reply · August 9 at 7:42pm

·

charlesnathansiegel (signed in using Yahoo)

The obvious solution is to require two-for-one offsets. For each ton of emissions you produce, you must provide enough offsets to reduce emissions by two tons. This would still lower costs for businesses dramatically, and it would jumpstart efforts to reduce emissions.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 12:43pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2087504,00.html
Why the South’s ‘creeping disaster’ could get a whole lot worse.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 1:34pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/27359_100000882982662_2320_q.jpg

John Poteet · Top Commenter · Chico, California

$2500/megawatt hour would pay for a LOT of solar panels in Texas. It would also cover the cost of a few hundred thousand ice-energy storage systems that could offset cooling loads to cooler hours.

Just a thought Texans.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 7:49pm

·

andrewsdanielj (signed in using Yahoo)

Why 86.9 degrees? That seems awful precise. Why not 87 degrees and up? Is that just a wording issue where you say more than 86.9 rather than 87 and up?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 2:15pm

  • Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/49296_853495264_6752084_q.jpg

Bill Walker · Top Commenter · San Marcos, California

86.9 F = 30.5 C. I’m guessing the limit is specified in degrees C.

Like · Reply · August 9 at 3:42pm

· Description: http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/273992_1397291031_3694455_q.jpg

Paul Magnus · Top Commenter

Does anyone think that the time is here where we should start thinking/implementing fossi fuel rationing?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 9 at 1:35pm

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