May 18 News: Vermont Becomes First U.S. State To Ban Fracking

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"May 18 News: Vermont Becomes First U.S. State To Ban Fracking"

A round-up of the top climate and energy news. Please post other links below.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday signed into law the nation’s first ban on a hotly debated natural gas drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laced water deep into the ground. [Associated Press]

Shumlin said the increased amounts of natural gas obtainable through hydraulic fracturing were not worth the risk to drinking water supplies.

In the coming generation or two, “drinking water will be more valuable than oil or natural gas,” Shumlin said.

“Human beings survived for thousands and thousands of years without oil and without natural gas,” he said. “We have never known humanity or life on this plant to survive without clean water.”

Apple plans to power its main data center entirely with renewable energy by the end of this year, taking steps to address longstanding environmental concerns about the rapid expansion of high-consuming computer server farms. [Guardian]

An advocacy group blasted Clear Channel Thursday for rejecting an advertisement aimed at countering a controversial Heartland Institute climate change billboard. [The Hill]

Texas saw a 13 percent increase in the amount of energy generated by renewable sources in 2011, according to a new report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for about 85 percent of the state. [CleanTechnica]

Japan’s domestic shipments of solar cells and modules surged 38 percent to 392 megawatts in the first three months of this year, the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association said today. [Bloomberg]

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13 Responses to May 18 News: Vermont Becomes First U.S. State To Ban Fracking

  1. Robert Nagle says:

    Electric plants in Texas (population 25 million) emit as much CO2 as electric plants in the COMBINED states of New York, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Oregon (population: 86 million) http://www.eia.gov/state/state-energy-rankings.cfm?keyid=86&orderid=1

    This level of CO2 emissions for Texas has pretty much held steady over the last decade (dipping a bit during the 2009 recession and increasing in 2010).

  2. EDpeak says:

    Last 50 years were Australia’s hottest: study

    For the first time scientists have provided the most complete climate record of the last millennium and they found that the last 50 years in Australia have been the warmest.

    The researchers from Melbourne University used 27 different natural indicators like tree rings and ice cores to come to their conclusion, which will be a part of the next United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change report.

    The findings show that no other period in the last 1,000 years matches the temperature rises Australia and the region has experienced in the last 50 years.

    Report co-author Joelle Gergis says the findings are significant.

    “It does show that the post-1950 warming is unusual in the Australasian region,” she said.

    Excerpted from:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-17/study-says-last-fifty-years-were-australias-hottest/4016304

    Which also has this quote:

    Co-author Professor David Karoly says the strength of the study is that it relied more on direct observations and measurements than climate modelling….”the warming in the last 50 years is very unusual and very likely cannot be explained by natural climate variability alone,”

    the scientists have minimised the variability in their model by crunching the data 3,000 different ways…t in 95 per cent of the reconstructions, we actually see that the post-1950 warming observed in the region is unprecedented in the context of the last millennium

  3. John Tucker says:

    Analysis: Germany’s Merkel losing green battle to cheap coal

    Gas-fired power plants, in fact, lose money during baseload hours (24-hour supply), only turning a profit at the higher-priced hours of peak demand (0800-2000 local time).

    According to Reuters research, an ageing coal plant would still be more than four times more profitable than a new gas power plant.

    Although solar generation rarely reaches maximum output, the capacity is enough to shave several euros per MWh off peak demand prices, eroding profits that gas power plants rely on.

    ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/18/us-energy-summit-power-gas-idUSBRE84H0C020120518 )

    Reality runs contrary to a popular talking point; that nuclear and coal were a “false dichotomy.” They were indeed a true dichotomy.

    • John Tucker says:

      This also quells the erogenous belief perpetuated everywhere that nuclear and renewables compete. Renewables compete with gas. (probably why some places installing gas choose to sabotage renewable energy by installing poorly/inappropriately as in Germany)

      A substantial carbon tax is also critical.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The real problem is that neo-liberal capitalism relies on cheap power. Although in the near future, renewables will be cheaper than the polluting sources like fossil fuels and nuclear, and would be so even quicker if sufficient sums were invested in them, cheap power is an absolute prerequisite. First in order to compete with lower priced economies, leading to that ever-present feature of market capitalism, ‘the race to the bottom’ in standards. And second because neo-liberal capitalism deliberately causes excessive poverty amongst the working masses in order to transfer more and more wealth to the deserving rich who pay for neo-liberal propaganda and compliant stooge-politicians to introduce and enforce it. Just as Wal-Marts cheap goods from China are bought by its underpaid, ‘working poor’ employees, and tens of millions like them, so too do German workers, whose wages and conditions have been dramatically undercut in the last ten years, need cheap power simply to get by. We have entered the vortex end-stage of neo-liberal capitalism, or the ‘circling the plug-hole’ period.

  4. Steve Leary says:

    1 down 49 to go.