October 13 News: “Horrible” New Zealand Oil Spill Closes Beaches

Other stories below:  U.S. to impose sanctions on BP, Gulf spill contractors; NASA Launches New Climate & Weather Satellite; Clean Energy Investment Rises 16%.

Natacha Pisarenko/AP

New Zealand Closes Beaches as Containers Wash Up

Several beaches on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island were closed to the public from Thursday and operations at the Port of Tauranga will be suspended overnight, after oil and containers from a damaged cargo vessel washed ashore, with concerns that things might get worse as salvage efforts remain fraught with danger.

“It is really horrible. I really didn’t think it would affect us. It’s awful,” said Cathy Lake, 40, a resident of Tauranga. “I just don’t know how it could have happened.”

The MV Rena cargo vessel struck the Astrolabe Reef Oct. 5 on its way to Tauranga, and oil leaks were detected soon after. Salvagers moved in the following day and began pumping oil to a bunker barge late Sunday, but bad weather hampered the operation.

A stress fracture to the hull of the 21-year old vessel, which triggered fears the boat may break in two, is making efforts to remove about 1,000 tons of oil and more than 1,000 containers off the boat difficult.

“The best-case scenario is we get everything off (the boat), but what’s the reality? It’s incredibly dangerous, it’s incredibly complex and we have to make sure it’s a safe environment for the people working,” said Maritime New Zealand’s manager of salvage operations, Bruce Anderson.

On BP spill, the gang’s all here

The House Natural Resources Committee will delve deeply into the 2010 BP oil spill at a hearing that includes federal investigators that probed the disaster and officials from the three main companies involved.

The hearing comes a day after the Interior Department formally notified the companies that they allegedly violated offshore drilling safety rules.

The committee will hear from the co-chairmen of the joint Interior Department-U.S. Coast Guard investigative team that spent roughly a year — with subpoenas and everything — probing the causes of the disaster that killed 11 people and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

But this week the committee added witnesses that will really make it interesting: Representatives from BP, Deepwater Horizon drilling rig owner Transocean Ltd., and Halliburton, which performed the cement work on BP’s Macondo well that blew out.

U.S. to impose sanctions on BP, Gulf spill contractors

The U.S. offshore drilling regulator on Wednesday formally issued sanctions against BP and the major contractors involved in the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement filed 15 “incidents of noncompliance” (INCs) to the companies. It did not release details of how much the companies may face in fines.

By law, the companies face fines of up to $35,000 a day, per incident for the violations.

In its final report on the accident issued last month the Interior Department outlined infractions committed by the companies.

BP, owner of the ruptured Macondo well, received the lion’s share of the sanctions, with seven notices for violations ranging from failure to protect health and property to failing to keep the well under control at all times.

NASA Launches New Satellite for Predicting Weather and Climate Changes

NASA is soon launching a new satellite that will help computers predict future environmental conditions and produce more accurate weather forecasts and warnings.

The National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, slated for launch on Oct. 27, is the first mission designed to collect critical data to improve weather forecasts and increase understanding of climate change.

The data will be useful for emergency responders in anticipating, monitoring and reacting to many types of natural disasters.

Using data from instruments, including four new state-of-the-art sensors, scientists will be able to correlate the 30 key data records that have previously been collected by several Earth-observing satellites, such as ozone layer, land and sea ice coverage and atmospheric temperatures, to understand and predict changes in global climate.

China Gas aims to double gas sales volume by 2015

China Gas Holdings Ltd , a natural gas distributor, expects its annual gas sales volume to almost double by 2015 and gas prices to increase, a company executive said.

Sales volume was expected to rise to 10 billion cubic metres in 2015 from 5.2 billion this year, Joint Managing Director Eric Leung told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

The growth would be driven by the completion of China’s new west-to-east natural gas pipeline, gas pipelines linking China with Kazakhstan and Myanmar, and several liquefied natural gas receiving terminals along China’s coast, he said.

Leung also said he expected China to increase natural gas prices around the end of the year, narrowing the price gap with gasoline and diesel.

“The price of natural gas for vehicle use is only half that of gasoline and diesel. Chinese prices for natural gas face upward pressure,” he said.

Clean-Energy Investment Rises Annual 16% in Quarter, BNEF Says

New investment in clean energy rose 16 percent in the third quarter to $45.4 billion, driven by a surge in wind and solar plant financings even amid Europe’s debt turmoil, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Asset finance of utility-scale renewable-energy projects jumped to a record $41.8 billion in the quarter, led by offshore wind deals, the London-based researcher said today in a statement.

Mergers and acquisitions surged 59 percent year-on-year, even as the European financial crisis unfolded and clean energy share prices slid, the data show.

23 Responses to October 13 News: “Horrible” New Zealand Oil Spill Closes Beaches

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Solar PV workign Nights and no land extra lines required! Made in Germany

    What do you think? Gamechanger?

  2. prokaryotes says:

    I made a climate tshirt with climate science!

    Features the sentences

    “The oceans are warmer Today than they were 30 years ago, means there’s about, on average, 4 percent more water vapor lurking around” – Kevin Trenberth, Scientist

    Can soon be ordered in the USA too :)

  3. joyce says:

    Shameful advertizing–but you hooked me! Cool. I’d thought about making one for myself.

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    HOUSTON — In a 30-mile area of the Texas Panhandle, biologists found 76 white-tailed deer – but zero babies. Not far away, they located only three quail on a stretch of road where they would see 15 in a normal year. In South Texas, a biologist reports a lack of water on some ranches is “killing deer like flies” and says he discovered more than 20 dead adult deer on one ranch.

    And this is only the first glimpse at the harm one of the worst droughts in Texas history is causing to the state’s wildlife.

  5. Colorado Bob says:

    Illinois Team Wins Oil Spill Cleanup X CHALLENGE
    X PRIZE officials said the recovery rate was three times the industry standard, and in fact conventional systems tested in the facility where the competition took place typically achieve 900 gallons (3,400 liters) per minute. And as for typical efficiency: The U.S. government concluded that only 3 percent of the 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons/780 million liters) spilled in last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster was retrieved by skimmers. It drove home to the world that technology had not advanced since the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska 21 years earlier, where only 14 percent of the oil was recovered by cleanup crews.

    The X PRIZE Foundation launched the challenge last summer even before the well was permanently capped, when Wendy Schmidt, president of the energy and natural resources-focused Schmidt Family Foundation and wife of Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, stepped forward to sponsor the competition. It was designed “to challenge the status quo,” said Schmidt at the awards ceremony in New York, “and to do so in a matter of months, not years.”

    Elastec emerged at the top of set of ten finalists, who were chosen from more than 350 applicants to share in the $1.4 million prize purse.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Between the year-long drought and Gov. Rick Perry campaigning for the presidency, global warming has become a big topic in Texas these days — and the head of the University of Texas Energy Institute, Raymond Orbach, is wading into the debate with a new paper aiming to debunk eight “myths” about climate change.

    The paper, “Our Sustainable Earth,” appears in the forthcoming issue of Reports on Progress in Physics, a British journal known for encouraging (relatively) simple language from its contributors. In it, Orbach summarizes existing scientific evidence to argue that humans bear responsibility for climate change and an 80 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050 is needed to stabilize global temperatures. Otherwise, he writes, “current global temperature rises will continue, and even accelerate” as greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    In remote, rural Wisconsin, PVC pipe and white tarps transformed a section of an airplane hangar into a forum for some of the world’s top climate scientists to show the high stakes of ignoring a warming world.

    Outside the hills are green and forested, but inside the talks focus on the climate science underpinning the double threat of drought and rising seas, already resulting from global warming.

    Thirty-three scientists gathered at the recent annual Comer Conference on abrupt climate change to share a year’s worth of research from across the globe. They sit at tables, chatting congenially.

  8. Colorado Bob says:

    The man with the microphone introduces himself as Richard Alley, a geoscientist from Pennsylvania State University and a force field of energy. His noisemaker is a gift from Columbia University’s Wallace Broecker, the 80-year-old titan of climate change research who coined the term “global warming” in the 1970s.

  9. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate models do not take into account the realistic senario of the possible negative feedback on emissions from the rising temp.

    At 2C there will be no global economy and emissions will be severely reduced from what they are now.

    At 3C there will hardly be any economic activity and the world’s population will be severely (and I mean severely) reduced, impacting emissions.

    Climate Portals shared a link.

    Are you ready for a four degree world?
    In mid-July, as Prime Minister Gillard began to stump the countryside selling her carbon package, a conference at the University of Melbourne considered the prospect of climate policy failure.Climate…

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Thanks Joyce!

    Notice the US shop is currently under heavy update and the “Climate” theme will be online in the next 48hrs

    (No shipping cost in october) :D

  11. prokaryotes says:

    Financially supported by J. Pierpont Morgan, Tesla built the Wardenclyffe laboratory and its famous transmitting tower in Shoreham, Long Island between 1901 and 1905. This huge landmark was 187 feet high, capped by a 68-foot copper dome which housed the magnifying transmitter. It was planned to be the first broadcast system, transmitting both signals and power without wires to any point on the globe. The huge magnifying transmitter, discharging high frequency electricity, would turn the earth into a gigantic dynamo which would project its electricity in unlimited amounts anywhere in the world.

    Tesla’s concept of wireless electricity was used to power ocean liners, destroy warships, run industry and transportation and send communications instantaneously all over the globe. To stimulate the public’s imagination, Tesla suggested that this wireless power could even be used for interplanetary communication. If Tesla were confident to reach Mars, how much less difficult to reach Paris. Many newspapers and periodicals interviewed Tesla and described his new system for supplying wireless power to run all of the earth’s industry.

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    A severe storm in SE Queensland killed one and roofs collapsed under hail (ABC TV 24). Sounds like a supercell.

    Even worse forecast for today and tomorrow, ME

  13. prokaryotes says:

    New Zealand oil spill – in pictures
    The 47,230-tonne Liberian-flagged Rena has been stranded on a reef 12 nautical miles off Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island since running aground a week ago. Oil leaking into the sea has increased by as much as ten-fold, with the government calling it New Zealand’s worst ever maritime environmental disaster

  14. David B. Benson says:

    prokaryotes — Reactive power regulation is a required ancillary service (which may be underpriced in the USA). Of course using power electronics, such as inverters, for this is possible. However, despite many years of continued development, power electronics is generally insufficiently reliable for widespread use by the electricity utilities. The extant uses are limited to those situations where nothing else will do, such as the rectifier/inverter pairs at the ends of HVDC transmission lines.

    I wish that German entrepeneur well, but I remain dubious.

  15. Colorado Bob says:

    prokaryotes –
    Years ago , I was trapped in the real world.

  16. Colorado Bob says:

    prokaryotes –
    Trust me , we will all be skinned like baked monkeys.

  17. prokaryotes says:

    Now are the climate science designs online in the Unites States!

  18. prokaryotes says:

    You talking about the Game Changer?

  19. prokaryotes says:

    In Thailand looters stealing even the beds of peoples. Two third of the country under water. The army is guarding dams, which people try to pull down, cause some areas which are inhabited are flooded to save others.

  20. prokaryotes says:

    Bacterial Communication Could Affect Earth’s Climate, Researchers Discover
    In the ocean, bacteria coalesce on tiny particles of carbon-rich detritus sinking through the depths. WHOI marine biogeochemists Laura Hmelo, Benjamin Van Mooy, and Tracy Mincer found that these bacteria send out chemical signals to discern if other bacteria are in the neighborhood. If enough of their cohorts are nearby, then bacteria en masse commence secreting enzymes that break up the carbon-containing molecules within the particles into more digestible bits. It has been suggested that coordinated expression of enzymes is very advantageous for bacteria on sinking particles, and Hmelo and her colleagues have uncovered the first proof of this in the ocean.

    “We don’t often think about bacteria making group decisions, but that is exactly what our data suggest is happening,” said Hmelo, now at the University of Washington.

    The paper is published in the current online, “early view,” issue of Environmental Microbiology Reports.

  21. prokaryotes says:

    Btw why don’t you link to your Newsvine site?