"July 12 News: Record Heat Waves, Sea Level Rise, Superstorms And Wildfires Endanger Electric Grid"
U.S. energy supplies will likely face more severe disruptions because of climate change and extreme weather, which have already caused blackouts and lowered production at power plants, a government report warned Thursday.
What’s driving these vulnerabilities? Rising temperatures, up 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, and the resulting sea level rise, which are accompanied by drought, heat waves, storms and wildfires, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“It (climate change) is a very serious problem and it will get worse,” says Jonathan Pershing, who oversaw the report’s development. While impacts will vary by region, “no part of the country is immune,” he says. He adds that climate change is exacerbating extreme events.
“Sea level rise made Sandy worse,” Pershing says, noting that it intensified flooding. When the superstorm slammed the East Coast last year, it took down power lines, damaged power plants and left millions of people in the dark.
The Georgia Public Service Commission voted in favor yesterday of a plan that will require the state’s largest energy provider to increase its solar power capacity by 525 megawatts by the end of 2016. [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
Air pollution kills more than 2 million people worldwide per year, with sooty particles and ozone causing the most deaths, according to a new study. [Guardian]
A vast area of ocean — either around East Antarctica or south of New Zealand — could soon be turned into a marine sanctuary. But because the areas are home to commercial fishing, the proposals face some hurdles from involved countries. [NPR]
A law that requires federal buildings to be mostly free of fossil fuels is facing threats again from the natural gas industry, with somewhat unexpected help from two energy efficiency groups. [InsideClimate News]
The Mayflower pipeline crude oil spill in Arkansas was caused by outdated welding, according to a ExxonMobil. [Wall Street Journal (subs. req'd)]
Next year’s Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will have to have the “biggest artificial snowmaking system in the world” because of concerns that the region will not have enough snow. [NPR]
Shale gas extraction in Poland is turning out to be much more difficult than previously expected. [Economist]
Jellyfish are threatening tourism and marine life as overfishing and warmer waters allow historic population blooms. [Spiegel]
A 278-square-mile iceberg bigger than Chicago broke off of Antarctica’s Pine Island glacier on Monday. [Guardian]
A new study suggests that injecting water underground — as is common practice in shale oil and gas fracking, as well as geothermal power production — can prime faults and cause earthquakes of a magnitude of 4 or 5. [Guardian, Daily Climate]
Maine’s oil spill fund is nearing dangerously low levels as oil companies ship their product by rail, taking advantage of a loophole in state law. [Reuters]
Smart grids can help save money in the U.S. by making electricity production more efficient, but they can save lives on battlefronts like Afghanistan by allowing generators to not waste fuel when they are not needed. [Marketplace]
On Monday, Tesla Motors will join the NASDAQ-100 stock index after turning a profit, increasing market capitalization, and paying back its government loan early. [CleanTechnica]
BP’s bill for paying back thousands of Gulf oil spill claimants is larger than it expected, so the company is appealing, claiming many Gulf businesses are receiving settlements for “exaggerated or even fictitious losses.” [The New York Times
Solar installation in California increased by 26 percent in 2012. The state is now equipped to produce enough energy to power 150,000 homes. [LA Times]
A Republican House staffer recently wrote an award-winning op-ed urging action on climate change — but did so anonymously for “job security reasons.” [Grist]