April 18 News: And The Latest Big Corporate Clean Energy Push Comes From … Walmart

Walmart’s new policy calls for a 6-fold increase in renewable energy from 2010 levels, and 20 percent less energy consumption. [E&E News]

The retail behemoth is throwing its full economic muscle behind energy sustainability. Local utilities that don’t get on board with Walmart’s green energy programs could be left behind like an old, worn-out shopping center.

The company’s new energy policy, announced this week at its Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, calls for Walmart to produce or procure 7 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy globally by the end of the decade, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels.

At the same time, the retailer will make deep cuts to its energy consumption by shaving 20 percent from 2010 levels the amount of electricity required to power a square foot of a Walmart store or warehouse.

Environmental groups joined with NY, CT, DE, MA, ME, NM, OR, RI, VT, DC, and New York City to threaten a lawsuit over the EPA’s delayed carbon rules for new power plants. [LA Times]

The only public hearing on Keystone will be held today in Nebraska. [Washington Post]

Rep. Bobby Rush on Rep. Fred Upton: “He also believed in climate change. But now all of the sudden, since he became the chair, he’s had a new reorientation. He thinks that climate change now is a hoax.” [The Hill]

The IEA said that the world is not switching to renewable energy fast enough to stop climate change. [Reuters]

The EU’s carbon trading program will still be burdened with too many credits, but Connie Hedegaard, EU commissioner for climate action, said other reforms could work as well. [Guardian]

The Mississippi River could hit ten feet above flood stage next week — after being so low that barge traffic had been endangered last year. [New York Times]

Greenland’s fishing industry has been hurt by global warming, and therefore they are turning to … increased mining. [Bloomberg]

Sandy aftereffects: New Jersey is having to offer to buy flood-prone homes to encourage adaptation to rising sea levels and storm surge. [AP]

There are now more than 48,000 electric vehicle charging stations on the planet. [CleanTechnica]

24 Responses to April 18 News: And The Latest Big Corporate Clean Energy Push Comes From … Walmart

  1. prokaryotes says:

    In a sweeping holding, Chief Justice John Roberts led a splintered court in ruling that several Nigerians alleging an oil company aided an abetted torture, arbitrary killings, and indefinite detention could not sue, because the corporate conduct occurred outside the United States

  2. David Goldstein says:

    March 2013 CO2 – 397.34, 2.89 ppm above March 2012. It’s gonna be a real nail-biter for 400 this May. Dig up and burn some carbon if you can (I WANT 400 now- anything to speed along the ‘attention getting’ events- though 400 will only be a short-lived and fairly esoteric curiousity in the media).

  3. Joan Savage says:

    I’m very sorry for the Nigerians who seem to lack a due process for addressing environmental and human health damages in their own courts.

    In contrast, the Chevron pollution in Ecuador was successfully handled in Ecuadorian courts.

    Ecuador’s constitution recognizes “rights of nature” as well as adhering to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    Nigeria was one of eleven countries that abstained from support of the UN Declaration.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    GASLAND 2 TICKET CONTEST! I am thinking of a number between 3.6 and 7.9 The first person to guess it in your comment, wins a pair of tix to see GASLAND PART II at Tribeca Film Festival to one of the screenings on April 23,24 and 26th. Guess away! (Bob Howarth at Cornell University showed that methane was leaking out of gas drilling, fracking and delivery infrastructure at a rate between 3.6 and 7.9 percent. That means fracked gas is worse than coal for the climate.)

  5. fj says:

    10 companies join @PlaNYC’s “Carbon Challenge” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40% in the next 10 years: — City of New York (@nycgov)

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Chevron grills U.S. lawyer in $19 billion Ecuador pollution case

    (Reuters) – Chevron Corp on Tuesday sought to persuade a New York federal judge to punish a U.S. lawyer representing Ecuadorean villagers who won a $19 billion environmental damages award, saying the lawyer is withholding documents from the oil company.

  7. Joan Savage says:

    For further reading:

    Oronto Douglas and Ike Okonta, “Ogoni People of Nigeria versus Big Oil,” Chapter 19 in Paradigm Wars, 2006, edited by Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

  8. Joan Savage says:

    Maybe that’s going to lead to a Supreme Court decision, too.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    Nature is throwing all it has at Middle America, from snow in the north to tornadoes in the Plains, and enough rain in Chicago to cause a sinkhole that swallowed cars.

    All it has … ofc the journal is clueless that there is a connection between climate and weather.

  10. Henry says:

    I take it that they are not worried about drought this year then?

  11. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Not worried about drought at the moment Henry. Right now we have too much water. I have a lake in my back yard with perhaps another 2 inches of rain yet to come.

    So the droughrt appears broken for now. This summer? Who knows. This is Chicago, and one of our mottos is, “If you don’t like the weather, give it a few minutes. It’ll change.”

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Ways solar panels can save the planet and save you money

    Plus, like we said earlier, this is all in addition to the considerable benefits that switching to solar power can have for the environment. In fact, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the use of solar power reduces oil consumption on a global basis by 75 million barrels annually and keeps 35 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This number is only growing as countries like Germany, the No. 1 user of solar power on the planet, continue to expand their capacity.
    All in all, it’s a win-win deal in the long run — for your pocketbook and the planet.

    Read more:

  13. prokaryotes says:

    The cold start into spring has made people in parts of Europe wonder if the climate is really warming. Global temperatures have not been rising in recent years. Is the earth cooling instead of warming?
    Looking at the average temperature over five years during the last 15 years, global temperatures might appear to be flattening out.
    “Over the last decade there has been very little new warming,” says Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. The development is not unexpected, he told DW: “We are confident that human emissions of greenhouse gases have caused a large component of the warming over the last 150 years, but at the same time we do not expect every year to be warmer than the last. There are reasons why temperatures may remain flat for a decade and continue to warm later on.” Hawkins cites periods in the 1960s and 1970s when temperatures were actually cooling.

    “When it comes to climate processes, we always look at 30 year periods”, he told DW. “And for the last 30 years there is a clear upward trend.” Using a shorter time span means that one single year can distort the picture. If, for instance, 1998, an exceptionally hot year, is taken as the start or end of a five-year period, the trend would appear to be rising or falling, accordingly. Lemke says temperatures have indeed risen in the last 15 years – if you look at the overall development and not at shorter intervals within the time span. “2010 was the warmest year from a global perspective,” says Lemke. “2005 was not far behind it. Since 1978, temperatures have not been within the normal range but considerably above it.” “Normal” means an average measured over a 30-year period.

    Climate warming = colder winters?
    The long winter and cold spring which might give people in western Europe the impression the earth is cooling rather than warming have been caused by a stable area of high pressure over Scandinavia – a weather phenomenon rather than climate change. AWI climate chief Lemke stresses that seen from a global point of view, the winter was warmer than usual.

    “The interesting thing is that some climate studies indicate that a stable area of high pressure over Scandinavia like this one could occur more often when the pack ice in the Arctic has been significantly reduced in the previous summer and autumn”, Lemke explains. This lack of ice means the ocean warms up and releases the warmth into the atmosphere in the autumn. That disturbs the usual circulation patterns, so that we get the area of high pressure, and that it is more stable than usual.” In 2012, Arctic sea ice coverage reached a record low. The long period of cold spring weather would seem to confirm the theory expressed by Vladimir Petoukhov from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. When he published his paper in late 2010, his comment was “hard winters do not contradict our image of global warming. On the contrary, they complete the picture. ”

  14. prokaryotes says:

    Ice hockey

    Filed under: Arctic and Antarctic Climate impacts Climate modelling Climate Science El Nino In the News Instrumental Record Oceans Paleoclimate — eric @ 17 April 2013
    Eric Steig

    It is well known that ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula have collapsed on several occasions in the last couple of decades, that ice shelves in West Antarctica are thinning rapidly, and that the large outlet glaciers that drain the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) are accelerating. The rapid drainage of the WAIS into the ocean is a major contributor to sea level rise (around 10% of the total, at the moment).

    All of these observations match the response, predicted in the late 1970s by glaciologist John Mercer, of the Antarctic to anthropogenic global warming. As such, they are frequently taken as harbingers of greater future sea level rise to come. Are they?

    Two papers published this week in Nature Geoscience provide new information that helps to address this question. One of the studies (led by me) says “probably”, while another (Abram et al.) gives a more definitive “yes”.

    The somewhat different details of the two papers appear to have hopelessly confused many journalists (though the Christian Science Monitor has an excellent article, despite a somewhat misleading headline), but both are really just telling different aspects of the same story.

    There is already strong evidence that anthropogenic forcing has played a significant role in the collapse of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, cause by significant melting at the surface during summer. The warm summer air temperatures have been related to an increase in the “Southern Annular Mode” (SAM), essentially the strength of the circumpolar westerlies. Increased CO2 is clearly part of the forcing of the observed positive trend in the SAM, though a larger player is likely to be ozone depletion in the stratosphere. Nevertheless, the short length of the observations – of both the ice sheet and climate – make it difficult to assess to what extent these changes are unusual. There is evidence for one ice shelf that a collapse like that observed in the 1990s has not occurred since at least the mid-Holocene, but comparable evidence is lacking elsewhere.

  15. Carol says:

    I hear you Dennis——- as I look around and see water inundating the suburbs of Chicago I am getting flashbacks of Kevin Costner in his ripped up outfit sailing around in Waterworld (did I just admit to watching that?)

    Cars are falling in sinkholes (ironic)
    There are migrating ducks swimming on flooded fields and “lawns”. Suburbanites desperate to save their turf grass are rigging up pumps to pull the water to the curbs and gutters. Glad I restored the land around my house from turf grass to native grasses/ wetland and prairie plants as they are helping absorb the rainwater.

    Kudos to Tom LaPorte with the Chicago Water Department who linked extreme weather events to climate change this morning live (they couldn’t stop him!) on WGN news. Prior to talking specifics on the historic flooding currently underway in the Chicago area he brought the facts of climate change to the fore loud and clear. Almost dropped my coffee cup to hear someone on MSM speak the truth this morning!

    And further north in the upper reaches of Wisconsin it looks like opening fishing day may not happen as lakes are still thick with ice and they are getting yet another winter storm today.

    It feels surreal yet I know it is all too real . . .

    If things are this unstable now, how will it be in 5, 10, 20 years?

    Joe . . you posted an article in December 2010: “Where would be the best place to live in 2035? 2060?”

    It generated a great deal of interesting discussion. It would be nice to revisit this question in 2013.


  16. fj says:

    It should be obvious when large companies with access to the best financial, political, and scientific advice appropriate substantial resources to address climate change then everyone should be concerned and the government must do the most to insure success against this extremely serious crisis

    Anything less puts far too many lives and livelihoods at great risk.

  17. prokaryotes says:

    I think what we have now is a new regime (basically from less sea ice), and we have yet to experience the new extremes of said regime.

  18. fj says:

    Will this threat of financial collapse based on overvalued fossil fuels be the “Climate Pearl Harbor?”

  19. fj says:

    And will this greatly amplify investment opportunities and flow of financing into clean tech?

  20. Ed Leaver says:

    I read it as a bit less than glass-half-full. Firstly, that Wal-Mart thinks they can — and will — trim 20% from their stores and warehouses is phenomenal and commendable. BUT. As we all know Wal-Mart (and Sam’s Club) facilities are huge. Cost per cubic ft of upgrading insulation decreases with size, and internal heat capacity rises. The photo suggests (but does not prove) that Wal-Mart may intend to do this on the back of roof-top solar: PV for summer cooling and active water heat for winter warmth. In which case the gubmints’ gots nuttin’ to do with it and could care less unless their voters do. ‘Course, Sam Walton was good for nothin’ if it weren’t promotion and marketing, so we’ll see…

  21. fj says:

    Rapid development and deployment of net zero transport and transit, smart microgrids, and net zero buildings will accelerate the transition.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Thugs in expensive suits.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    There are any number of bubbles inflating right now, as the banksters keep interest rates near zero, year after year, as they confect trillions in ‘quantative easing’, as households sink further into debt, and as the plutocrats sit on tens of trillions in tax havens. Fossil fuels may be a ‘bubble’ of stranded assets, but it may not be the one that sets of the final collapse of the house of cards. The system is destabilising, just like the climate, caused by the same driver-elite greed and short-termism.