Energy and Global Warming News for November 9th: GE to invest $2 Billion in China; Spring floods cost Nashville a year’s worth of economic activity; Europe to invest in massive solar plants in India

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"Energy and Global Warming News for November 9th: GE to invest $2 Billion in China; Spring floods cost Nashville a year’s worth of economic activity; Europe to invest in massive solar plants in India"

General Electric Plans to Invest $2 Billion in China

General Electric Co. plans to invest more than $2 billion in China in technology and financial service ventures and research, adding 1,000 jobs in a country Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt is targeting for growth.

GE intends to invest more than $1.5 billion in joint ventures with Chinese state-owned companies in “key high- technology sectors,” it said in a statement today. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company will spend $500 million on product development and customer innovation centers through 2012, where the jobs will be added.

Immelt yesterday appointed Vice Chairman John Rice to accelerate a push to bolster exports and expand partnerships in countries building infrastructure to support economic growth, such as China and India. GE expects to have $20 billion in discretionary cash by year-end partly for investment to boost sales, which missed analyst estimates in the third quarter.

“China and India will lead future growth in energy demand,” Zhang Shun, a Beijing-based analyst with Ping An Securities Co., said by phone today. “They will need more roads, more power plants and more railways to meet the needs of their soaring economies, generating opportunities for equipment manufacturers and technology providers like GE.”

Spring Floods cost Nashville a year’s worth of economic activity

Early May’s flooding has left a major hole in the region’s financial fabric, sparing some residents but leaving recovery months away for many other consumers and business owners who saw jobs, houses or their companies washed away.

Although more than $1 billion in federal aid will end up flowing into counties with damage from the flood statewide “” mostly in grants to individuals or local governments “” that money and private insurance proceeds won’t nearly be enough to cover all of the losses. By one estimate, Nashville alone lost the equivalent of one year’s worth of economic activity as a result of the flood or about $2.65 billion in the value of goods and services from damaged buildings to lost business operations.

Short-term gains tied to the sale of supplies to repair homes and offices, as well as the labor hired to do the rebuilding helped some people land temporary jobs. Others who worked at the still-shuttered Opry Mills mall or at smaller businesses that never reopened are still looking for work.

On the harsh side of the equation, hundreds of millions of dollars in property values were wiped out by rising waters, much of it linked to damaged properties that weren’t covered by flood insurance.

“By itself, a flood that affects 2,700 businesses is virtually a recessionary occurrence,” said Ralph Schulz, the president of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, speaking about Davidson County’s impact alone. “At six months, the long-term nature of the recovery really starts to sink in.”  The Chamber estimates that 300 to 400 businesses impacted by the flood have not reopened and about 1,500 jobs probably have been lost.

For background, see “The Tennessee deluge of 2010: Nashville’s ‘Katrina’ and the dawn of the superflood” and “Stunning NOAA map of Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge.”

Europe to Invest in Massive Solar Power Plants in India

The Asian Development Bank has roped in the European Investment Bank to invest in large-scale solar power plants in India. The ADB is committed to arrange finances for India’s ambitious National Solar Mission projects.

The Asian Development Bank has been working closely with many Asian countries to provide them financial, technical and policy-related support for expanding solar energy infrastructure. The ADB is playing an active role in India to make solar energy more popular. In addition to the European Investment Bank, the ADB has also attracted funding from the US Import-Export Bank and Germany’s KWF.

Under the National Solar Mission, India plans to install 20,000 MW solar-based power generation capacity by 2022. The current install capacity is a dismal 14 MW. The 20,000 MW capacity also includes the off-grid rural power plants. In order to rapidly increase the installed capacity the Indian government has announced two massive solar farm projects, one each in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Both these states are blessed with substantially high solar radiation resource and also have large areas of unused lands due to lower agricultural land use. Rajasthan has the vast Thar desert while Gujarat has vast wastelands in the west. Gujarat has set aside 2,500 hectare for a 1,000 MW plant while Rajasthan has set aside 8,000 hectare for a 3,000 MW plant. Construction of these plants is expected to start after 2013, that is, during the second phase of the National Solar Mission.

The ADB is also supporting the project developers who intend to set up power plants during the first phase. The first phase aims at installing 1,1o0 MW by 2013; ADB will support 350 MW of these installations. The smaller power plants have been provided with 50 percent loan guarantees and project developers will also provided direct loans.

Costa Rica Confronts Large and Costly Cleanup Effort

Costa Rica is beginning to tally up the cost of damage as well as donations of cash and other assistance as the country begins to deal with the aftermath of last week’s deadly downpours, which claimed at least 27 lives. Early estimates from Costa Rica’s Executive Branch indicate that the storms, which forced flooding and landslides across the country, have already cost the country ‚¡840 million ($1.6 million) in immediate response efforts to the disaster.

According to a report released on Monday by Costa Rica’s vice president, Luis Liberman, the country has spent ‚¡300 million ($590,000) in the distribution of supplies such as food, water and medical goods and ‚¡400 ($785,000) in rent for heavy machinery to clear debris from roads. Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) has distributed ‚¡100 million ($196,000) to local governments in areas most affected by the disaster. The government calculates that money transfers and fees have cost ‚¡40 million (78,500) so far.

The government has not yet estimated a total cost for cleanup and repairs after last week’s weather destroyed homes and collapsed bridges and highways, but announced that it has created a ‚¡4 billion (roughly $7.7 million) fund that will be used to build or repair houses for storm victims.

On Monday, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) pledged a total of $60,000 to Costa Rica between the two bureaus. This money will be used to buy blankets, small electric generators and fuel for search and rescue helicopters. Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) also confirmed a $300,000 donation from the Moroccan government, which will be used to support rescue missions and transport supplies to isolated communities and evacuation shelters across the country.

A Novel Tactic in Climate Fight: Expanding the Montreal Protocol

With energy legislation shelved in the United States and little hope for a global climate change agreement this year, some policy experts are proposing a novel approach to curbing global warming: including greenhouse gases under an existing and highly successful international treaty ratified more than 20 years ago.  The treaty, the Montreal Protocol, was adopted in 1987 for a completely different purpose, to eliminate aerosols and other chemicals that were blowing a hole in the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

But as the signers of the protocol convened the 22nd annual meeting in Bangkok on Monday, negotiators are considering a proposed expansion in the ozone treaty to phase out the production and use of the industrial chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs The chemicals have thousands of times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas.

HFCs are used as refrigerants in air-conditioners and cooling systems. They are manufactured mostly in China and India, but appliances containing the substance are in use in every corner of the world. HFCs replaced even more dangerous ozone-depleting chemicals known as HCFCs, themselves a substitute for the chlorofluorocarbons that were the first big target of the Montreal process.

“Eliminating HFCs under the Montreal Protocol is the single biggest chunk of climate protection we can get in the next few years,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, a nongovernment organization based in Washington. He noted that the ozone protection effort had begun under former President Ronald Reagan and continues to enjoy bipartisan support.

The United States has thrown its support behind the proposal and negotiators said there was a strong current of support for the move at the meeting on Monday. All the signatories to the Montreal Protocol would have to agree to the expansion, but no further approval from Congress would be needed. So far, there has been no Congressional or industry opposition to the idea. But the plan is not expected to be adopted this year. Large developing countries, including China, India and Brazil, object that the timetable is too rapid and that payments for eliminating the refrigerant are not high enough.

Oil Traveled Up the Gulf Food Chain

A group of scientists in Alabama has been studying another pathway for all of that oil: through the Gulf of Mexico’s hungry oil-eating microbes. Scientists expected bacteria to eat the oil, but speculation remained about what would happen after that. As it turns out, the oil that the bacteria consumed traveled up the food chain as the oil-eating bacteria were eaten in turn, the scientists suggest.

By tracking oil’s particular carbon signature, which differs from the nutrients in the usual bacterial diet, scientists from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama were able to observe the growing presence of oil in the planktonic food web as oil reached the waters of the northern gulf.

They describe their findings in a report published on Monday in Environmental Research Letters.

“We showed with little doubt that oil consumed by marine bacteria did reach the larger zooplankton that form the base of the food chain,” Monty Graham, the lead author of the report, said in a news release. These zooplankton are in turn eaten by larger marine organisms like fish and whales.

Australia and U.S. partner on solar energy

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a $50 million joint solar research program aimed at developing cheaper solar power solutions. “The price of solar technology has come down in recent years but we need to accelerate that trend,” Gillard said Sunday. The project aims to bring down the sales price of solar technology by two to four times.

Gillard said the research would focus on advance solar technologies, such as dual junction, photovoltaic devices, hot carrier solar cells and high-temperature receivers. “We have a common goal of making solar energy competitive with conventional sources by the middle of this decade, 2015,” said Clinton.

Clinton also announced a $500,000 grant from the U.S. State Department to Australia’s state-backed Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute to fund a global survey to identify promising technologies for reusing carbon dioxide.

Australia has set a renewable energy target of at least 20 percent of the nation’s electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, which Gillard said is expected to generate $19 billion in related investment. Australia has allocated $5.1 billion for the country’s clean energy.

At least 10 more years of R&D needed, but algae biofuels could be major contributor (particularly for jet fuel): study

If you want a comprehensive snapshot of the state of algae biofuel development you may want to read a 178-report put out by the Energy Biosciences Institute in California. The general observation is that the market is in “early gestation” and there’s at least a decade to go before algae biofuels achieve the production economics that make them competitive with conventional fuels. “It is clear from this report that algae oil production will be neither quick nor plentiful “” 10 years is a reasonable projection for the R&D to allow the conclusion about the ability to achieve relatively low-cost algae biomass and oil production, at least for specific locations,” according to the report, which also goes far in separating hype from reality.

However, the report excluded analysis of algae-to-ethanol production, such as that being pursued by Algenol, which says it is only a few years away from commercial-scale deployment.

“The availability of the resources required for microalgae production “” land, climate, water, and, perhaps most critically, carbon dioxide “” at the same site, will likely limit the U.S. potential for algae oil production to less than a few billion gallons annually. While minor compared to total U.S. transportation fuels consumption (about 200 billion gallons per year), renewable algae oil could be a major contributor to biofuel resources, particularly in specific markets, such as aviation fuel.” I agree on the last part with regards to jet fuel, but I’m a bit more optimistic on the overall market impact. The good news is that 10 years isn’t such a long time to wait, unless you’re a VC firm waiting to cash out.

Cogenra’s Hybrid PV and Hot Water Plus Financing

Cogenra Solar is a solar cogeneration startup combining photovoltaic and heat generation to deliver electricity and hot water for commercial and industrial sites. We profiled them here in September.

Hybrid PV and hot water is not entirely new — the twist the Khosla Ventures-funded Cogenra might be the combination of the Heat and Power Purchase Agreement (HPPA).   Cogenra offers renewable energy below utility rates while trimming natural gas and grid-sourced electricity usage.  This is akin to what Solar City and SunRun offer in residential solar PV and to what a host of firms like Tioga Energy or Borrego Solar offer for commercial solar. Meanwhile, Skyline Innovations and Metrus Energy do hot water and “everthing but PV” PPAs.

The firm just officially unveiled a solar cogeneration project at the Sonoma Wine Company in Graton, California. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures were on hand as the winery flipped the switch on the 272-kilowatt installation.  Although, as Ed Gunther reports — these units were not operational for long.

The Sonoma Wine Company buys the heat and electricity generated from the installation at a guaranteed rate from Cogenra under the company’s Heat and Power Purchase Agreement (HPPA). Under the HPPA, Cogenra maintains ownership of the solar systems, and the wine company gets a hedge against jumpy power prices throughout a 15-year contract.

Cogenra claims that their system produces five times more energy and three times the greenhouse gas reductions over traditional solar offerings.  The solar thermal element heats water to 165 degrees F to fuel some of the wine company’s tank and barrel washing requirements. Other early-stage companies looking to generate more than just electricity from the sun include Absolicon, Chromasun, PVT Solar, Sundrum, Turkey’s Solimpeks.

Peru to Add 200 MW of Renewable Energy in 2012

Peru is to launch six renewable energy projects in 2012, with a total capacity of 200 MW, as part of the government’s new drive to seek alternative sources of energy, it has been announced.

Three wind farms and three solar power plants will operate in 2012 in Peru, according to newspaper El Comercio.

El Comercio quotes the Ministry of Energy and Mines’ director of electricity Ismael Aragon, who explained that the wind farms will be located in northern Peru’s Piura Department, while the solar plants will be built in the south – specifically in Moquegua, Arequipa and Tacna departments.

Aragon also said that this month the concessionary company of the Inambari hydroelectric project is due to deliver its feasibility study, although other studies to define a date when the works will begin are still pending, according to the press report.

Power Grid of the Future Saves Energy

Green energy too comes out of the electricity socket, but to get there it has to travel a long journey — from wind turbines in the North Sea or regional solar, wind and biogas power plants. On the way to the consumer lots of energy is lost. New electronic components will change things in future.

Cars and trucks race down the highway, turn off into town, wait at traffic lights and move slowly through side streets. Electricity flows in a similar way — from the power plant via high voltage lines to transformer substations. The flow is controlled as if by traffic lights. Cables then take the electricity into the city centre. Numerous switching points reduce the voltage, so that equipment can tap into the electricity at low voltage. Thanks to this highly complex infrastructure, the electricity customer can use all kinds of electrical devices just by switching them on.

“A reliable power supply is the key to all this, and major changes will take place in the coming years to safeguard this reliability. The transport and power networks will grow together more strongly as a result of electromobility, because electric vehicles will not only tank up on electricity but will also make their batteries available to the power grid as storage devices. Renewable energy sources will become available on a wider scale, with individual households also contributing electricity they have generated,” says Professor Lothar Frey, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB in Erlangen.

In major projects such as Desertec, solar thermal power plants in sun-rich regions of North Africa and the Middle East will in the future produce electricity for Europe. The energy will then flow to the consumer via long high-voltage power lines or undersea cables. The existing cables, systems and components need to be adapted to the future energy mix now, so that the electricity will get to the consumer as reliably and with as few losses as possible. The power electronics experts at the IISB are working on technological solutions, and are developing components for the efficient conversion of electrical energy.

For energy transmission over distances of more than 500 kilometers or for undersea cables direct current is being increasingly used. This possesses a constant voltage and only loses up to seven percent of its energy over long distances. By comparison, the loss rate for alternating current can reach 40 percent. Additional converter stations are, however, required to convert the high voltage of the direct current into the alternating current needed by the consumer.

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46 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for November 9th: GE to invest $2 Billion in China; Spring floods cost Nashville a year’s worth of economic activity; Europe to invest in massive solar plants in India

  1. cyclonebuster says:

    “Solar” only works when the sun is out! The ” Underwater Suspension Tunnels” work 24/7/365 for years thus far surpassing Solar energy!

  2. Prokaryotes says:

    Solar works also when clouds are present or during nights – dependent on the solar technology present.

    Given this new Karl-Letelier hypothesis about potential net sequestration of CO2, if ocean biogeochemical conditions are suitable for generating primary and secondary blooms, and given the potential for a single Atmocean pump to produce nominal upwelling volume of 200,000 cubic meters per day (consistent with 3 meter wave height), initially we estimate precision upwelling could result in net additional sequestration of about 60 tons CO2 per pump per year, with the significant added benefit of 1.5 tonnes annual increase in fish biomass. Many elements of this process remain to be tested, including the multiple effects over many seasons and in different ocean environments, and how the upper, mid, and deep-ocean concentrations of nutrients and CO2 could transition over longer time periods. http://www.atmocean.com/sequestration.htm

    The Atmocean Plan For A Sea Change In Wave Energy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blKhycsLnew

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    Call to stop fossil fuel subsidy
    A global energy think tank has urged nations to stop subsidising fossil fuels as soon as possible.

    It says that last year governments, mainly in the developing world, spent $312bn subsidising coal oil, gas and coal.

    This was even though they agree these fuels cause climate change.

    The International Energy Agency says removing the subsidies would be the quickest way to control the soaring demand for energy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11718304

    STOP SUBSIDIZING FOSSIL MATTER! or we are really doomed!

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    US urged to commit to climate change at G20

    The US President Barack Obama has arrived in Indonesia on the next leg of his ten day Asia tour.

    Mr Obama is expected to sign a comprehensive partnership agreement dealing with trade, security, investment and climate change.

    A Golkar member of Parliament, Adi Tahir, says as food production is vulnerable the US must also commit to action on climate change at the G20 meeting on Thursday.

    “Now we in Indonesia feel very much climate change,” he said. http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/stories/201011/3061838.htm?desktop

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    The devil and the deep blue sea: Climate change on Kiribati

    Tebunginako on the island of Abaiang, Kiribati, shows us what the rest of the South Pacific island state might expect in the future. The population has had to relocate after coastal erosion and rising salt water made their homes and lands uninhabitable. These impacts are already felt on the atolls of Kiribati and will be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. This week, islanders and delegates from other vulnerable nations are hosting a conference calling for urgent action
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/gallery/2010/nov/08/climate-change-kiribati

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    A Republican House Won’t Doom Climate Legislation

    Climate change will almost certainly proceed slower in a Republican Congress, but it needn’t be down for the count. As former Oklahoma Congressman Dave McCurdy argues, dreams of a comprehensive climate change bill may have to yield to piecemeal legislation, but good things can still be done.

    Climate change legislation can appeal to businesses and small government conservatives alike. Cleaner, more efficient cars require fewer subsidies before they sell. Funding climate innovation now can help create the next generation of high-paying green jobs. In fact, climate change legislation may survive in the same way many politicians do – by shifting shape for changing times. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-sesno/a-republican-house-wont-d_b_780652.html

  7. Michael Tucker says:

    Business as usual still trumps ALL green efforts so far and, unless things change, will continue to dominate the world energy market for the next 25 years.

    The International Energy Agency’s annual forcast:

    “…reliance on fossil fuels means that emissions of carbon dioxide will increase 21 percent to 35 billion tons in 2035 from 29 billion tons in 2008, leading to an increase of 3.5 degrees Celsius in world temperature “in the long term,” the [IEA] said.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-09/china-to-drive-energy-surge-through-2035-warming-planet-iea-outlook-says.html

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Lame Denial from The National Post Lorne Gunter: The latest climate crisis is no climate crisis http://bit.ly/9GhBSD

    Fact checking, National Post style: Lorne Gunter on global cooling http://deepclimate.org/2009/03/05/lorne-gunter-on-global-cooling-part-1/

  9. I Read It On The Internet says:

    A Novel Tactic in Climate Fight: Expanding the Montreal Protocol

    This is the best news in a long time, so let me add one more quote from the NY Times story:

    “the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that adopting the HFC proposal could eliminate the equivalent of 88 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2050, and slow global warming by a decade.”

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    New energy: climate change and sustainability shape a new era

    A new energy revolution – similar to shifts from wood to coal to oil – is inevitable as climate change and oil scarcity drive a global search for sustainability in power production. But even the promise of renewable energy holds drawbacks. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2010/1108/New-energy-climate-change-and-sustainability-shape-a-new-era

  11. MarkF says:

    . “By one estimate, Nashville alone lost the equivalent of one year’s worth of economic activity as a result of the flood or about $2.65 billion in the value of goods and services from damaged buildings to lost business operations.”

    The question is frequently asked, here and elsewhere. what should we do about cliimate, and what should the message be.

    what do you think the message be would be if the occurrence of this flood actually supported the doing nothing right wing anti action machine?

    We would have heard about it endlessly.

    This is a very good example of the complete miserable failure of the people in this fight.

    This happened in the heart of denier -ville.

    It should be huge news, it should be mentioned constantly, it is a perfect example of the future.

    This Nashville example, should be pounded on again and again.

    But wil it be?

    kind of doubt it.

    were too stupid I guess.

  12. Solar Jim says:

    “On Monday, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) pledged a total of $60,000 to Costa Rica between the two bureaus.”

    What is that? The lunch hour pay for an investment bank CEO? We seem to have become an inconsiderate, third world, banana republic, debtor nation.

  13. Today, the International Energy Agency launched its World Energy Outlook 2010, amongst others revealing that fossil-fuel subsidies amounted to $312 billion in 2009. In the press release, IEA executive director Tanaka stated: “Getting the prices right, by eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies, is the single most effective measure to cut energy demand in countries where they persist, while bringing other immediate economic benefits” http://bit.ly/WEOsub

  14. Colorado Bob says:

    about $2.65 billion in the value of goods and services from damaged buildings to lost business operations.

    ———–
    30 years ago Dr. James Hansen , and others told us that as the climate warmed , we would begin to see more and more extreme rain events. The largest re-insurance company in the world, Munich Re , has just reported they have received more claims in 2010 due to “weather” than at anytime since they began keeping records. And that was for just the first 9 months of this year.

    I’ve paid attention to this stuff for about 10 years, I can say now that this year will be remembered as the year when a sharp jump in these extreme rain events took place. Their frequency , intensity, & duration have taken a sharp jump. They are a new weekly feature in the system, the only question is, will it rain 14 inches like Nashville, or 72 inches like Vietnam ?

    It rained 11.5 inches in New Brunswick, Canada this week.

  15. paulm says:

    #16 CBob,

    Yes, if you look at the temp thresholds that we are pushing up against…1998, 2005 2007?, and now 2010

    I think that that temperature seems to be some kind of gate. Once we break through, probably around 2012, then we are in a new state, where the weather is much more chaotic and destructive.

  16. catman306 says:

    Does anyone keep track of total rain during rainfall events rather than daily rainfall totals? A rainfall event may last several days. The quantity and totals of such ‘events’ might be a good way to track climate change.

  17. catman306 says:

    “For energy transmission over distances of more than 500 kilometers or for undersea cables direct current is being increasingly used. This possesses a constant voltage and only loses up to seven percent of its energy over long distances. By comparison, the loss rate for alternating current can reach 40 percent. Additional converter stations are, however, required to convert the high voltage of the direct current into the alternating current needed by the consumer.”

    I thought that the reason that we use AC electricity worldwide is that it is difficult to transmit DC for more than about 10 miles. I couldn’t find a link at Joe’s link that would explain that first quoted sentence. Could any of you physicists pass me a link, please? It’s so hard to stay up to date.

  18. Bob Wallace says:

    catman – read up on HVDC (high voltage DC) and UHVDC transmission. Wikipedia has some decent info about it.

    There’s about a 1.5% loss in converting up to high voltage DC and back down to lower voltage AC, but that’s more than made up by the much lower loss along the lines. AC for short runs, DC for long.

    We’ve already got a lot of HVDC transmission up and running, including the Pacific Intertie which brings hydro-generated power from the Pacific Northwest and the Mountain Intertie which (for a little while longer) brings coal-generated power to the Southwest.

  19. Michael Tucker says:

    Catman306,

    You might be interested in reading about the San Francisco Trans Bay Cable.

    http://www.transbaycable.com/cable-operation/

    It is only 53 miles long between Pittsburg, California and SF. By-the-way the converter stations are the most expensive part of the system.

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    Scientists Scramble to Bridge the Uncertainty Gap in Climate Science

    Skeptics of climate change — a good number of them about to take seats in Congress — often point to uncertainties or holes in the science as reasons for delaying or not taking action.

    “If you were to hear someone say, ‘I know with 100 percent certainty that the Earth’s climate will change or not,’ that would be a statement to walk away from because you would know right away that a scientist hasn’t made that statement.”

    There are several coordinated efforts under way to bridge the gap. John Abraham, an associate engineering professor at Minnesota’s St. Thomas University, is creating a “climate rapid response team” of scientists who are open to addressing the politics of global warming. The American Geophysical Union, separately, is establishing a bank of climate scientists to serve as experts on global warming.

    Scientists are waiting for integrity standards to come out of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, required by President Obama in a March 2009 executive order and a year-and-a-half overdue. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility recently filed a lawsuit to obtain documents relating to the overdue standards. Without them, it has been difficult for government agencies to agree on policies for transparency, collaboration and public participation in data gathering and decisionmaking based on that data. http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/11/09/09greenwire-scientists-scramble-to-bridge-the-uncertainty-65524.html

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate Change Crazy Talker May Win House Environment Post
    Rep. Shimkus Says Cap and Trade Is Worse Than Al Qaeda Attacking the U.S.

    He also has implied that the earth will be worse off if we reduce CO2 emissions because cutting such emissions is “taking away plant food from the atmosphere.” Maybe true, if your plants have evolved to live in really, really hot places.

    But Rep. Shimkus didn’t stop there. He said that we didn’t have to worry about climate change because God promised Noah, after the Flood, not to destroy the earth. http://unearthed.earthjustice.org/blog/2010-november/climate-change-deniers-vie-key-house-post-0

    Seriously if this guy gets any say in Environment – you could come to the conclusion that humanity is total fucked.

  22. Prokaryotes says:

    Europe’s largest firms more hesitant on climate change

    An analysis of European responses to the latest annual survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) suggests that Europe’s largest firms have become more hesitant in their plans to cut carbon emissions. http://www.endseurope.com/25013

  23. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate Deal Rests on Government, Private Cooperation, U.K. Says
    Global-warming talks this month in Mexico will fail without more cooperation between government and private industry, the U.K.’s climate change minister said.

    “Simply a global treaty, simply government action, simply large public funds in itself aren’t going to deal with the problem,” Greg Barker, the U.K. minister, told delegates today at a climate conference in London. There needs to be “much greater interaction, much greater partnership between the private and public sector and that’s going to be more difficult internationally.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-09/climate-deal-rests-on-government-private-cooperation-u-k-says.html

  24. Prokaryotes says:

    UK Department of Energy and Climate Change publishes business plan

    As part of the UK Coalition Government’s drive to be ‘accountable’ to the electorate, all departments including the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have published business plans.

    DECC’s business plan sets out a new set of indicators, which the public can scrutinise against progress, including the number of installations of cavity wall and loft insulation, how many households are in fuel poverty, percentage of energy consumption from renewable sources and total emissions from the UK.

    First on the list to be ticked off, is the monitoring of departmental energy consumption, which is now live online. Going forward, however, all departments including DECC have committed to cutting emissions 10% by next May.

    Meanwhile, the Department’s activities over the next five years start the first Green Deal offers this December, at the same time as the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill is introduced in Parliament.

    The formal Green Deal is slated to start in October 2012, according to the plan, with the first progress update on uptake of the offers in the following March.

    The second priority for 2011 will be the Green Investment Bank, proposals for which will be published in May, followed by formal set up in 2012. The first update on funds invested by the Bank will be published in May 2013.

    Meanwhile, the document also commits to an implementation plan for smart meter rollout next April, which is then slated to actually start in July 2012.

    Next year will also see the implementation of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in June, but the first major review of feed-in tariffs (FITs) will now stick to the original schedule of April 2013.

    Final National Policy Statements, along with a white paper on the electricity market and a review of energy regulator Ofgem are also due next year in May.

    A contract for the first carbon capture and demonstration project will have to wait until December, with a shortlist of the next round of demonstration projects not forthcoming until May 2012. Towards the end of that year will also see the publication of offshore grid development proposals.

    In addition to DECC’s activities, the Department for Transport plans to publish the route for the proposed new high speed rail links next year, with legislation planned for 2013 before the final routes between Manchester and Leeds are finalised the following year. http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/i/3549/

  25. Prokaryotes says:

    Media should make education on climate change a priorit http://www.ghananewsagency.org/s_science/r_22346/

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Making Climate Change Cool in the Classroom http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2030099,00.html

  27. Prokaryotes says:

    Weatherwatch: Global flooding

    At the start of last week, a low pressure system in the western Mediterranean brought heavy rain and flooding to northern and central parts of Italy which led to mudslides. The Alpone, Bacchiglione and Frassine rivers all burst their banks whilst the river Po rose by 2.5 metres in just one day. The rain caused 10,000 people from the north of the country to be evacuated and claimed the lives of three.

    Thailand and Malaysia also experienced flooding when a tropical depression gave days of torrential rain. In the 24 hours ending 7am local time on Tuesday, 358mm fell in Songkhla in southern Thailand. Eight provinces in southern Thailand were affected by severe flooding with water levels reaching up to 3 metres in places. With three people being killed in northern parts of Thailand on Thursday, the nationwide death toll from flooding during the past month has reached 122.

    Hurricane Tomas swept past the Guatanamo province of Cuba on Wednesday night, hitting the area with strong winds and heavy rain. Tomas also caused flash floods and landslides in Haiti which is still suffering in the aftermath of the January earthquake with over a million people living in makeshift camps.

    Heavy rainfall spawned by Tomas killed at least 20 people in Costa Rica, where La Ceiba airport recorded 127mm of rain in the 12 hours up to 12pm on Thursday. The Dominican Republic also suffered torrential rain with floods and mudslides. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2010/nov/09/weatherwatch-global-flooding

    The world has all the communication tech and intelligence to get aware of this building threat from more frequent flooding.

  28. Prokaryotes says:

    RESIDENTS had to be rescued in boats in Hampshire today – as Britain braced itself for flash flooding http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3218708/Brits-braced-for-flash-flooding.html

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    The World Food Programme (WFP) is seeking to deliver emergency food aid to tens of thousands of victims of the heaviest floods to hit the African country of Benin in 100 years, it said Tuesday.

    The floods have affected more than 680,000 people in more than three-quarters of Benin’s municipalities.

    The WFP plan aims to help all the affected but there is a group of around 50,000 in urgent need of food, it said.

    “The first food distributions are targeted at around 50,000 flood victims, and WFP is drawing up plans to help hundreds of thousands more people over the coming months,” it said in a statement.

    The floods have destroyed some 12,000 tons of food stocks and left 128,000 hectares of farmland under water.

    Benin’s WFP chief Moumini Ouedraogo said the floods have “dramatically” affected people across the entire country, which is wedged between Nigeria and Togo, and borders Niger and Burkina Faso — all of which have also been badly hit by the floods. http://www.africasia.com/services/news_africa/article.php?ID=CNG.6095ad0244d7e827797d3abdd3379231.d1

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    Fresh US donation enables UN to continue aiding flood-hit Pakistanis

    UNITED NATIONS, Nov 8 (APP): The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today it has received a $90 million donation from the United States which, combined with other recent contributions, will help prevent a reduction in food aid to millions of people affected by the recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan. “With these funds behind us, we can ensure an uninterrupted flow of food assistance to the hungriest and the most vulnerable in Pakistan, especially young children,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran,said in a statement in Rome, which was also issed at UN Headquarters in New York.
    http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=121589&Itemid=2

  31. Prokaryotes says:

    ‘Ketzaleh: Tel Aviv Jews Will Flee to Yesha from ‘African Flood’

    National Union chairman Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz warned a Knesset committee Monday that 100,000 African immigrants will flood Tel Aviv in the next few years.

    MK Katz heads a committee on foreign workers and has previously sounded the alarm bells on the flood of refugees that threatens the character of the Jewish state. Most of the refugees previously settled in southern cities, where they began to dominate smaller towns and cities, such as Arad, and are a significant percentage of the population and the crime statistics.
    ‘)

    Their movement to Tel Aviv will make Tel Aviv look like an African city http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/140514

  32. Prokaryotes says:

    Colombia rainy season death toll raised to 108

    This year’s rainy season killed at least 108 in Colombia and caused damages to the houses and lands of 1.1 million people, the Red Cross said Sunday. Authorities in several parts of the country declared a state of emergency to deal with looming floods.

    According to Red Cross rescue director in Colombia, Carlos Ivan Marcos, 21 people are still missing following landslides and floods, 183 are injured, 1,538 houses have been destroyed and 174,000 houses have been damaged. http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/12782-colombia-rainy-season-death-toll-raised-to-108.html

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    Six Months After The Flood

    Six months ago devastating floods across the state put many people’s lives temporarily on hold.

    That was the case for dozens in Millington who lost everything when high waters swept through their homes. They spent months rebuilding.

    It only took minutes for floodwaters to destroy nearly everything inside Marie Feingold’s home. http://www.wreg.com/news/wreg-flood-recovery-story,0,6565323.story

  34. David B. Benson says:

    Not precisely new, but I don’t recall seeing this here on ClimateProgress other than as a reader’s comment asking how good it was.
    New solar-powered process removes CO2 from the air and stores it as solid carbon
    http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=17198.php

    I, at least, hope to see enough research to determine if it scales up to the size required.

  35. Prokaryotes says:

    MANILA, Philippines PNP deploys rubber boats to flood-hit Cagayan, Isabela

    In a statement Wednesday, PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo said these inflatable rubber boats would be sent to Cagayan and Isabela, where several towns and villages remain submerged in floodwaters.

    An active low pressure area east of the country has brought non-stop rains in northern Luzon, resulting in the evacuation of thousands in the two provinces. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20101110-302446/PNP-deploys-rubber-boats-to-flood-hit-Cagayan-Isabela

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    Thailand’s Flood Death Toll Rises To 181 Nationwide

    BANGKOK, Nov 9 (Bernama) — Thailand’s flood-related deaths on Tuesday rose to 181 in 28 provinces from Oct 10 to Nov 9 and more than three million people have been affected, Thai News Agency (TNA) quoted the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department as saying. http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsworld.php?id=541895

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesman Percy Morokane said flash floods were “possible”, especially if drains were blocked.

    He warned people to be careful during floods.

    “It’s better if you have an evacuation plan,” he said.

    The SA Weather Service has issued a warning for “heavy rainfalls” expected over Mpumalanga and northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

    On Monday forecasters measured 15mm of rainfall in Bloemfontein and 5.8mm of rain at Durban’s King Shaka Airport. http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article754336.ece/Flood-warnings-as-rainy-season-starts

    Evacuation Plan for Mars?

  38. Prokaryotes says:

    Global rice demand may outstrip supply

    HANOI (Nov 9, 2010): The world is likely to be short of rice in the next decade without new measures to increase production, experts at a global rice conference said Tuesday.

    Rice production needs to rise 1.5% per year to keep up with demand, even as the available land for rice farming shrinks due to urbanisation and climate change, industry officials said.

    “Projected demand for rice will outstrip supply in the near to medium term unless something is done to reverse current trends of slow productivity growth,” said Robert Zeigler, director-general of the International Rice Research Institute.

    Zeigler said several governments had reduced their forecasts for harvests in the upcoming year. Crops in Pakistan were hit by floods, while China has experienced both flood and drought.

    “It does not look to be at a crisis level, but it’s possible that supplies will tighten a little bit,” Zeigler said.

    Other speakers noted the increasing concerns over rice security since 2008, when forecasts of shortages triggered price surges that plunged 100 million people into poverty, the World Bank estimated.

    Rice productivity surged from the 1960s through the 1990s, but productivity increases have since fallen to about 1% per year, according to the institute. That is not enough to keep pace with demand.

    Thailand and Vietnam are the world’s two largest rice exporters, but both are losing paddy area to urbanisation and increased salinity in delta regions linked to rising sea levels. http://www.thesundaily.com/article.cfm?id=53849

  39. paulm says:

    So how come voters, especially GOPs, didn’t know about this….messaging sucks!

    South Florida water managers weigh costly consequences of sea level rise
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-sea-level-rise-south-florida-20101109,0,2333983.story?page=1

  40. Prokaryotes says:

    Samurai children suffered severe lead poisoning from cosmetics used by their mothers, Japanese archeologists report.

    Lead poisoning causes severe neurological damage to children, as well as associated health problems including fatigue, cramping, coma and death. Based on chemical and X-ray analysis, the bones of the children in the study contained levels of lead dozens of times higher than both the male and female adults, the researchers report. “The median value for the children 3 years of age and under was over fifty times higher than that of their mothers.”

    What was the culprit? White facial powders used by nursing mothers, say the researchers:

    During the Edo period, cosmetics became popular and the vogue was usually introduced by Kabuki actors, courtesans and geisha through ukiyoe prints and popular literature, and by beauticians who helped establish fashions. The white face powders used in those days were keifun (mercury chloride) and empaku (white lead). Mercury chloride was imported mainly from China, and white lead was popular in Japan, although the toxic nature of lead cosmetics was not recognized. Ikutarou Hirai, the first professor of the Department of Pediatrics at Kyoto University, revealed in 1923 that “so-called tentative meningitis” of infants was actually caused by lead-containing face powder used by mothers.

    The study authors note suggestions that lead poisoning afflicted the ruling class of the Roman Empire and the plantation owners in colonial Virgina, which may have added to social strife. Some studies have linked increases in violent crime rates in the United States to the use of leaded gasoline, which raised atmospheric lead levels. Similar problems may have lead to the downfall of Japan’s rulers, the authors suggest:

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/10/samurai-kids-lead-poisoning-cosmetics/1

  41. Raul M. says:

    Particulate matter in the atmosphere, is usually
    said to aid cooling. But not in the pole areas as
    it causes warming. My thought is that it blocks
    sun rays. In the pole areas, it is a layer that the
    suns rays can be below. In the other areas toward
    the equator at sunrise and at dusk the suns rays
    would be caught for warming not cooling. If pollution
    is bad how far the photons could bounce from
    surface to layer and back to surface?

  42. it is the right step in the right direction for Europe’s investment in renewable energy, the solar energy advantages that such initiative can bring can be amazing. such a commitment to renewable energy option is commendable