Energy and Global Warming News for December 3: Global solar energy may reach 980 gigawatts by 2020; China schools U.S. on building a skilled clean energy work force; Future cars may eat their exhaust

Global Solar Energy May Reach 980 Gigawatts by 2020

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) — Global solar energy capacity may reach 980 gigawatts by 2020 as governments worldwide seek to reduce fossil fuel consumption and cut emissions of greenhouse gases, a group of renewable energy associations said.

Development of photovoltaic and solar thermal power projects will cut emissions of carbon dioxide by about 570 million tons over the decade, the equivalent of shutting down 100 coal-fueled power plants or taking 110 million cars off the road, according to a report released in Cancun, Mexico, today by the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association.

The report took place as United Nations envoys in Cancun consider whether to extend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to cut man-made emissions of carbon dioxide that scientists say contribute to global warming. The trade group of 21 associations from around the world urged governments to include solar energy incentives as part of the effort to address climate change.

“The capital needed to manufacture that much capacity is staggering,” said Nancy Hartsoch, vice president of marketing at SolFocus Inc., a Palo Alto, California-based maker of concentrating photovoltaic panels. “And because solar hasn’t reached grid-parity in most regions, that kind of deployment would require stronger policies than we’ve got in place now.”

The solar groups plan to discuss their report, which includes development profiles for 20 countries and the European Union, during a Dec. 6 presentation in Cancun.

For the U.S., boosting total solar capacity to 139 gigawatts, as the report predicts, would account for 4.9 percent of the country’s total output, add 683,0000 jobs and help reduce the cost of electricity to $2.32 a watt from $5.71 today.

China building a skilled clean energy work force — a tale of two countries

SHANGHAI — When President Obama last year proposed a “historic commitment” to empower Americans with a clean energy education program, his speech appeared to have reminded Chinese leaders of their own educational needs.

A few months later, China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, gave a speech in Beijing, calling for creating more world-class scientists here to work in cutting-edge fields. And clean energy topped Wen’s list.

But their similar pitches had different outcomes: The proposed $170 million American energy education program, called “RE-ENERGYSE,” is still on the launching pad in Congress, which rejected it last year and appears to be in an even more tightfisted mood this year. Meanwhile, in China, newly established programs focused on clean energy are sprouting on campuses like bamboo shoots after the rain.

After it led the world in clean energy investment last year and manufactured about one-third of the global solar panels and wind turbines, China has been moving full-speed toward creating more clean energy professionals, from Ph.D.-level engineers to well-trained technical operators.

“The Chinese government and Chinese firms are using a number of different strategies to attract and develop talent in clean energy,” said Kelly Sims Gallagher, an associate professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School who follows China’s energy and climate policy.
Moreover, Western technology giants have come to help. As their research centers mushroom in China, they are fostering Chinese researchers in advanced clean energy technologies.

While China may not be at the cutting edge in terms of having the best talent yet, its knowledge base in clean energy is growing rapidly, said Gallagher. And compared with Europe and the United States, China has a key advantage in aiming to deliver a generation of new professionals and workers who are literate in the demands of clean energy. “No other nation has so many engineering professionals [as China has], and so this provides a strong foundation for development,” she said….

In March, China’s Ministry of Education urged universities to establish more educational programs focused on advanced technologies, clean energy among them. Less than half a year later, dozens of universities set up clean energy faculties and scheduled to enroll undergraduates starting from 2011.

Meanwhile, Chinese universities that already offered degree programs in clean energy are expanding student enrollment. Lin Boqiang, director of China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University — which provides studies in clean energy economics — said their enrollment in 2010 alone almost caught up with the total enrollment number in the previous years….

“China’s solar industry grows fast … but it lacks vocational programs to create skilled work force that the industry needs badly,” Zhang Qingyu, the college’s president, said of why Himin Solar opened its wallet to support education….

To groom more Chinese to become solar energy professionals, Zhang’s college provides a three-year vocational program free of charge and offers scholarships to those from poor families. In 2009 alone, Himin Solar poured more than $2.5 million into education incentives. With such support, the number of students there climbed to nearly 2,300 this year, up from fewer than 100 in 2007, when the college had just started.

Himin Solar may have a significant role to play in filling the green-collar labor pool, but it is not alone. Other Chinese clean energy companies have also taken action. LDK Solar, a NYSE-listed solar photovoltaic producer, provides technical training courses at a local college in central China.

Besides its direct support for education, China has found shortcuts to get the country’s brightest minds more quickly engaged in clean energy innovation.

China, which recently surpassed the United States to take the position as the world’s largest energy consumer, declared that 15 percent of its power supply should come from renewable energy by 2020. Such market potential, together with cash-rich local manufacturers who are hungry for technology, is luring Western companies to come and launch research centers.

That, in turn, helps Chinese get trained by international giants and acquire knowledge of the world’s more advanced clean energy technologies.

“[General Electric Co.’s] huge research center in Shanghai’s Pudong district is staffed by smart young Chinese engineers and scientists, and they are getting lots of practical training by working for GE,” said Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Along with the GE team that currently tests materials used to make solar panels, “there has been a lot of international investment and effort to develop China’s clean energy education,” said Turner.

The latest news came from Denmark’s Vestas, a world leader in wind energy. In October, Vestas celebrated the establishment of its new research center in Beijing.

Gamesa and Eolia Sign Agreement to Develop 324 MW of Wind Energy in Mexico

Gamesa, a manufacturer of wind turbines, has signed an agreement with Eolia Renovables de Inversiones – an independent European wind power producer – to jointly develop several wind energy projects in Mexico, for which Gamesa will supply 100% of the turbines with combined installed capacity of 324 MW.

The deal calls for turnkey construction of the wind farms, including turbine supply, transport, assembly, erection and start-up, and operation and maintenance services during the turbine warranty period. Gamesa will supply a total of 162 of its G9X-2.0 MW turbines to equip the Eoliatec del Istmo (164 MW) and Eoliatec del Pacifico (160 MW) projects in the state of Oaxaca.

The turbines are scheduled for delivery between 2011 and 2013.

Mexico offers significant growth potential in the medium and long term. At the end of 2009, the country had 582 MW of installed wind assets, while forecasts (Emerging Energy Research, EER) indicate that Mexico will host 7,000 MW of installed wind capacity by 2025. Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, highlighted in his speech to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 16) the growth potential of the country, which could generate up to 71,000 MW of wind energy.

Gamesa has a significant presence in Latin America, where it has installed more than 200 MW of wind energy in five countries. The new contract brings its agreements/orders to 740 MW in Honduras, Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico.

Also in Mexico, the company this year signed a long-term agreement (10 years) to supply 100% of the turbines for wind farms the Cannon Power Group plans to develop in Baja California (combined installed capacity of 1,000 MW).

The Car of the Future Will Eat Its Own Exhaust

GM, not content to rest on the laurels of its highly rated new Chevy Volt electric/gasoline car, is working with researchers at Purdue University to develop thermoelectric generators that can harvest the waste heat from a car’s exhaust and turn it into electricity. The initial goal is to reduce fuel consumption by 5%, and once some kinks are worked out a savings of 10% is possible.

Thermoelectric Generators and Car Exhaust

The new generator would save gas by using scavenged energy to charge the battery and keep the car’s electrical systems running. The researchers have developed a prototype that sits behind the catalytic converter. A more efficient design would be to fit the generator inside the converter, but the device is not yet engineered to withstand the high temperatures within catalytic converters.

Thermoelectric Generators – How They Work

The principle behind thermoelectric generators is simple enough: the devices are made of materials that generate electricity through a difference in temperatures, a phenomenon known as the Seebeck effect. The car exhaust will heat the side of the thermoelectric generator that faces the hot gasses, while the other side remains relatively cool. Purdue research team leader Xianfan Xu explains that the trick is to keep the heat from flowing too rapidly from one side to the other, while grabbing the maximum amount of heat from the exhaust.

A Hearty Stew of Thermoelectric Materials

At GM, researchers are focusing on generators made from the crystalline mineral skutterudite, which can contain cobalt, arsenide, nickel or iron. To achieve the desired effect, skutterudite needs to be mixed with lanthanum, cesium, neodymium, or other rare-earth elements, but researchers are exploring less expensive materials such as mischmetal, a naturally occurring alloy that is commonly used as a flint in lighters.

Bamboo can capture carbon fast, says report

Bamboo, a wild grass that grows in Africa, Asia and Latin America, could help tackle climate change and provide income for local communities, a conference has heard. It can sequester carbon faster than similar fast-growing tree species such as Chinese fir and eucalyptus when properly managed, said Coosje Hoogendoorn, director-general of International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), based in Beijing, China.

She was speaking today (2 December) at the launch of ‘Bamboo and Climate Change Mitigation’ “” a report on bamboo’s potential role in adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development “” in a press conference held during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 16), in Cancun, Mexico.

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet “” with a growth rate of up to 1.2 metres a day. It is stronger than steel, weight for weight, and its roots can reduce soil erosion by up to 75 per cent.

“Although botanically bamboo is a woody grass and not a tree, bamboo forests have comparable features to other types of forest regarding their role in the carbon cycle,” the report said. “They sequester carbon through photosynthesis, and lock carbon in the fibre of the bamboo and in the soil where it grows.”

Ethiopia Sets its Sights on Biodiesel

Policy-makers in Ethiopia, challenged by fluctuating oil prices and poverty, are seeking solutions that will improve the living conditions of its people and boost its fragile economy. One such solution, Ethiopian leaders hope, is renewable energy.

Statistics from the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MoME) indicate that the country spends about Ethiopian Birr 10 billion (US$800 million) annually to import petroleum products for domestic consumption. The figure, according to the MoME represents more than 90 percent of Ethiopia’s earnings from foreign trade each year. Were the country to tap some of its renewable energy potential, the energy independence it would achieve as a result, would be a boon to the economy.

Because of its location, Ethiopia is perhaps one of the most-suitable nations in Africa for tapping renewable sources of energy not only for its own economy, but also for export into regional economies such as Kenya, which is always looking at enhancing its energy capacity.
Biodiesel Production

While Ethiopia boasts of numerous green energy possibilities such as geothermal, solar and wind power generation, it is the biodiesel sub-sector that has taken off over the last few years and continues to witness increased attention both from the government and development partners from abroad.

Ethiopia is one of the largest countries in Africa but it is also one of the driest, a factor that renders most of its land unsuitable for agricultural production. This has led the Ethiopian government to shift its focus to biodiesel crops that flourish under the harsh climatic conditions of Ethiopia.

The shift from expensive fossil fuels to cost-effective biofuels has received a stamp of approval from the Ethiopian government. It recently approved a 16-page renewable energy strategic document that was prepared under a collaborative partnership between the MoME, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD).

More Efficient Polymer Solar Cells Fabricated

Researchers from Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory have developed a process capable of producing a thin and uniform light-absorbing layer on textured substrates that improves the efficiency of polymer solar cells by increasing light absorption.

“Our technology efficiently utilizes the light trapping scheme,” said Sumit Chaudhary, an Iowa State assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. “And so solar cell efficiency improved by 20 percent.”
Details of the fabrication technology were recently published online by the journal Advanced Materials.

Chaudhary said the key to improving the performance of solar cells made from flexible, lightweight and easy-to-manufacture polymers was to find a textured substrate pattern that allowed deposition of a light-absorbing layer that’s uniformly thin — even as it goes up and down flat-topped ridges that are less than a millionth of a meter high.

The result is a polymer solar cell that captures more light within those ridges — including light that’s reflected from one ridge to another, he said. The cell is also able to maintain the good electrical transport properties of a thin, uniform light-absorbing layer.

Tests indicated the research team’s light-trapping cells increased power conversion efficiency by 20 percent over flat solar cells made from polymers, Chaudhary said. Tests also indicated that light captured at the red/near infrared band edge increased by 100 percent over flat cells.

Researchers working with Chaudhary on the solar cell project are Kai-Ming Ho, an Iowa State Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy and an Ames Laboratory faculty scientist; Joong-Mok Park, an assistant scientist with the Ames Laboratory; and Kanwar Singh Nalwa, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering and a student associate of the Ames Laboratory. The research was supported by the Iowa Power Fund, the Ames Laboratory and the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

Green Roofs are Starting To Sprout in American Cities

The low scrubland of densely packed succulents is in full fall color, a carpet of green fading brilliantly to red and gold. This 2.5-acre oasis, located among a barrens of blacktop roofs that stretches east to Broadway and west to the Hudson River, would be an impressive sight even if it wasn’t sitting atop the U.S. Postal Service’s 1933 landmark Morgan Processing and Distribution facility in midtown Manhattan.

The biggest green roof in New York City and one of the largest in the country, the Morgan facility’s verdant covering was completed in December 2008 and has thrived since. As the inscription above the landmark James Farley Post Office might have it, the roof has been affected by “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night,” and has flourished through freezes and thaws, through summer rooftop temperatures that reach 150 degrees, and through weeks of drought and torrential summer storms, despite never being watered, weeded, or fertilized.

The vegetation is a densely planted assemblage of some 25 hardy, low-growing species that have thrived in their few inches of planting material. The plants’ size and modest requirements, however, belie their substantial biological capacities and environmental benefits. Since the roof has been installed, the building’s storm water runoff into the New York municipal water system has been reduced by as much as 75 percent in summer and 40 percent in winter. The U.S. Postal Service estimates that the plants’ ability to cool the roof in summer and insulate it in winter will reduce the building’s energy costs by $30,000 a year.

The sprouting of a large, living roof in midtown Manhattan is a sign that this universally lauded green practice, which has spread rapidly across Europe, is now gaining a serious foothold in the U.S. Although initially more expensive than standard asphalt or shingle roofs, green roofs offer major environmental and economic advantages, from slashing storm water runoff and energy costs, to cooling overheated cities and cleaning their air.

PowerSecure Grows and Profits From Smart Grid Systems

The U.S. broad stock indices have dramatically outperformed green sector indices over the first 11 months of 2010. However, a handful of green sector companies are bucking the trend with strong revenues and profits and impressive share price increases.

Several of these companies have been profiled in EBOOM CAPITAL this fall — and here’s another one: PowerSecure International, Inc. (NASDAQ: POWR), headquartered in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Approximately 85 percent of PowerSecure’s revenues come from providing energy efficiency and smart grid systems to electric utilities and their customers, while 15 percent of revenue is from energy and water management services to oil and natural gas companies.

PowerSecure’s capabilities include including the ability to 1) reduce peak power costs by forecasting electricity demand and electronically deploying the systems to deliver power at peak demand periods, 2) provide utilities with dedicated electric power generation capacity to utilize for demand response purposes, and 3) provide customers with standby power the company’s claims is the most dependable in the industry.

The company also provides customers with energy efficient lighting technologies that deliver improved quality of light. An example is its proprietary EfficientLights LED lighting product for retail stores’ refrigerated cases that PowerSecure claims saves grocery, drug, and convenience stores 70 percent in costs compared with traditional fluorescent lighting.

In the company’s latest financial results, PowerSecure reported nine-month (ended September 30, 2010) net income of $3 million on revenue of $90.4 million, compared with 2009’s nine-month net income of $2.1 million on revenue of $72.5 million.

Salt Lake City Oil Spill: Chevron Pipeline Leaks Thousands of Gallons for Second Time in Six Months

After a Chevron oil pipe has leaked crude oil near the Red Butte Creek in Salt Lake City, Utah for the second time in six months, city and state officials are calling for the oil company to shut down the pipeline indefinitely.

The leak which, was reported by Chevron employees at 11:30 PM on Wednesday, spilled an estimated 100 barrels of oil. Emergency response crews, with the help of oil booms and earthern berms, were able to stop the flow of oil 50 before it reached the nearby Red Butte Creek.

In June, the same section of the pipeline failed leading to 800 barrels of oil leaking into the community. The oil contaminated three waterways: the Jordan river, Red Butte Creek, and the Liberty Park pond. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) allowed the pipeline to resume operations only eight days after the initial spill. The DOT determined the pipeline was safe after Chevron conducted five tests of the compromised section.

The oil giant may not receive such an allowance this time around, especially if Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker has his way. Becker has requested the DOT’s Public and Hazardous materials Safety Administration shut the pipeline down indefinitely while an independent investigation of the pipeline and the latest incident is conducted.

This morning at a press conference an incensed Becker said, “At this point we cannot trust Chevron. Chevron has broken the trust we have and the work that’s been done to give us a safe pipeline and [our efforts] to protect the community.”

Although Chevron (NYSE: CVX) was not represented at the press conference, the company has stated it will take full responsibility for the oil spill. The last spill, more major in its scope, saw Chevron receive a $423,600 fine from the U.S. government. So, just how much responsibility the oil giant will have to assume will be a developing story.

37 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for December 3: Global solar energy may reach 980 gigawatts by 2020; China schools U.S. on building a skilled clean energy work force; Future cars may eat their exhaust

  1. Prokaryotes says:

    Related to the car of the Eaarth future

    SAIC Leaf concept promises negative emissions

  2. Esop says:

    The Arctic atmospheric circulation is repeating the highly unusual activity that we saw last winter (and some in 2009). This indicates that a new pattern is about to get estabilshed, and that a repeat of the pattern that we saw this summer could also be on the menu for 2011.
    If that happens, it means that the Russians better prepare for another month of extreme heat and the Pakistanis should get ready for another monster flood.

  3. Leif says:

    If your intellectual capacity ranks you as “one in a million” in the US there are a thousand others just like you in China. That fact alone should have us quaking in our boots.

  4. Bill W. says:

    Speaking from personal experience, bamboo cuttings can also take root in and ultimately clog seasonal waterways, causing flooding of adjacent areas, while also crowding out native species. And it’s nearly impossible to eradicate.

  5. dbmetzger says:

    2010: Hottest Year on Record?
    Despite the current big freeze in europe, scientists at a United Nations climate change conference in Cancun say 2010 could be one of the hottest years ever recorded.

  6. Prokaryotes says:

    The probability is high i guess, that Europe would see roads and walkways iced for weeks and the US a blizzard or two (once in a 500 years event). Which damages roads and is a huge stress test for road services. And it has the potential to create food shortages, broken water pipes, electricity break down etc etc.

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Google unveils satellite platform to aid forest efforts

    Google Inc unveiled technology on Thursday it says will help build trust between rich and poor countries on projects designed to protect the world’s tropical forests.

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    The fuck? A month after the elections, the city of New York finds an extra 200,000 votes – “or 17 percent more votes than were originally reported.” The largest cache of newly found ballots was in Queens — about 80,000, or 31% more than were reported on election night.

  9. Colorado Bob says:

    Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on the south west coast , current temp is 43 °F . Current temp. in Norway at 70.70 N Lat. is 34 °F c%20Norway

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    BP: U.S. estimate of oil spill is too high
    Number is key for fines; company says figures are 20-50 percent off

    WASHINGTON — BP is mounting a new challenge to U.S. government estimates of how much oil flowed from the runaway well deep below the Gulf of Mexico. The issue will be critical in determining the size of federal pollution fines the company will pay.

    Staff working for the presidential oil spill commission said Friday that BP is arguing that the government overestimated by 20 percent to 50 percent the amount of oil that spilled. The company’s argument could reduce BP’s likely fines under the Clean Water Act by as much as $2.7 billion.

    Money collected from BP could be used to pay for restoration of the Gulf coast.

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Cancun: Scientists warn of escalating climate change threats

    Two new reports highlight growing temperature and ocean acidification risk

    Scientists yesterday underlined the urgent need for diplomats to deliver progress at the Cancun summit. They released new data confirming 2010 will almost certainly be one of the three warmest years since temperature records began, and revealed that ocean acidification is happening at a faster rate than previously thought.

    The latest temperature data from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) for January to October suggests global average temperatures for the full year will be among the hottest since records began in 1850, despite the fact the El Niño effect is being replaced by a strong La Niña effect which contributes to cooling.

    Despite the freezing weather currently being experienced in Northern Europe, global average temperatures for November are similar to those recorded in 2005, suggesting 2010 will end up as the second or third hottest year on record.

    The WMO also confirmed the past decade has been the hottest on record, noting that “over the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46°C above the 1961 to 1990 average, 0.03°C above the 2000 to 2009 average and the highest value ever recorded for a 10-year period.”

    Long-term forecasters predict 2011 will be cooler than this year as the cyclical La Niña phenomenon takes effect, but it is still expected to rank among the top 10 hottest years.

  12. Colorado Bob says:

    Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro have declared flood emergencies after heavy rain pushed the River Drina to its highest level in 100 years.

  13. paulm says:

    Good discussions here…its sinking in… finally. Recognition of the problem. Now the action….

    Climate Connection explores some of the ideas we’ve heard throughout the series in an audience discussion with experts in the fields of economics, psychology, leadership and environmentalism.

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Dyer delivers message of climate change doom

    I think the author got some dates messed up.

  15. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate: a million deaths a year by 2030: study

    By 2030, climate change will indirectly cause nearly one million deaths a year and inflict 157 billion dollars in damage in terms of today’s economy, according to estimates presented at UN talks on Friday.

  16. Berbalang says:

    Bill W.@4:
    I have a number of species of bamboo and I can speak from personal experience about it. The stuff clogging waterways is almost invariably either Arundo donax or Japanese Knotweed. Both are highly invasive, clogg waterways and are very frequently misidentified as bamboo. They are not really bamboo any more than Lucky Bamboo is a bamboo.

    As far as the claim that bamboo will crowd out native species, it should be pointed out that there are three known species of bamboo native to North America, the most common being Arundinaria gigantea.

    It should also be pointed out that there have been experiments to test the invasiveness of bamboo. What was found is that bamboo will invade lawns, but doesn’t really spread into native areas. Creatures like voles can even wipe it out since they love to eat the rhizomes.

    There are a lot of scare stories about bamboo that have little to do with reality. In fact, there was a rather awful scare story published in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago about bamboo. The journalist basically ignored the experts and focused on the scare stories.

  17. Colorado Bob says:

    Australia –

    But nowhere has been wetter than the township of Parkes, where about 10,000 residents were isolated yesterday after more than 130mm of rain fell in 24 hours.

    130mm = 5.11 in.

    Authorities in central Queensland last night hoped to reopen roads around Emerald, where rainfalls of up to 300mm had isolated the town’s 14,000 residents.

    300 mm = 11.81 in.

  18. paulm says:

    Unprecedented precipitation, flooding and massive freak storms every 3-5yrs or so from now on in.
    Will modern society survive Eaarth?

  19. paulm says:

    looks like a tropical like depression developing in Atlantic and about to hit the Europe…

  20. The 980 GW installed based number by 2020 implies about a 35% growth in annual PV sales starting with the 13.5 GW expected to be sold this year. That’s relatively modest annual growth compared to recent history but it remains to be seen if that growth can continue over the whole decade.

  21. Bill W. says:

    Berbalang @19, you’re right, what we’ve got is Arundo Donax. I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t a bamboo. It certainly has many similarities to bamboo.

  22. catman306 says:

    Industries and governments are joining forces to create policies that support the use of crops and other “biomass” (trees, agriculture “residues,” manure and more) as substitutes for coal, oil and gas – not just for energy and fuels, but also for the production of plastics and chemicals. While presented as “green, clean, and renewable,” the shift from petroleum to biomass is, in fact, worsening climate change, increasing deforestation and biodiversity loss, degrading soils and depleting water supplies. Further, the new “bio-based” economy threatens livelihoods, especially in the global South where it encourages “land grabs.”

    The New Biomassters a report from the Etc Group.

    Apparently biomass is NOT a green and clean answer to the world’s energy problems.

    entire pdf is available through a link here

    Ethanol is dead:
    with a Tom Philpott podcast of an interview with Jim Thomas from the ETC Group

    (the earth doesn’t produce enough sustainable biomass to make gasoline to fuel our civilization)

  23. Michael says:

    Spencer says that the anomaly for November was 0.38°C, which is higher than I thought it would be and only 0.04°C cooler than October, given the large drop over the month, to below average during the last 10 days, even if the first week did reach record highs*. This also means that 2010 gained a lot over 1998, which had a November anomaly of only 0.192; now within a hundredth of a degree.

    *One of the commenters mentions that the daily AMSU data is much cooler than the official UAH numbers; the “average” apparently isn’t the 1979-1998 average; another links to the following blog about the differences between the daily AMSU data and official monthly data, which is about 0.18°C warmer (but not consistently):

  24. Bill W. says:

    Late breaker: Massey Energy Chairman and CEO Don Blankenship, who a judge ruled must face two lawsuits holding him personally responsible for the blast at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, will retire effective 12/30:

  25. adelady says:

    Bamboo. Growing more in the regions where it is suited and harvesting it there would be a huge step. Use it for textiles. Reducing the water-greedy, pesticide reliant cotton plantations in dozens (or hundreds) of totally unsuitable places around the world would be a boon.

    I had great hopes for a conversion to hemp fibre, but the political ructions around that have made it a more or less impossible dream.

    Bamboo is the way to go.

  26. Colorado Bob says:

    Buy flour , you’ll be glad you did –

    EXTREME weather is threatening to push the economy into reverse amid fears rain and drought will wipe up to $6 billion off bumper grain harvests.
    60% of the Australian grain crop is still in the fields. They are the #4 exporter in the world. Some of these towns are getting a months worth of rain in 10 min.
    More heavy rain is on the way in the next week.

  27. Paulm says:

    So canadiana now know all about climate warming. And things are so bad that the inurance industry is owning up to it now. Yep they are toast now. It’s just starting…. Airline industry I think maybe another 18-24 months.

    Rise in flood claims tied to climate change
    Last Updated: Friday, December 3, 2010

    Canadian insurance companies are facing unprecedented growth in claims and payouts for water-related home damage, and industry experts lay the blame squarely on climate change.

    ‘For most of the country, the infrastructure is not built for the climate that we are now starting to see.’
    —Brock Carlton, CEO, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

  28. Paulm says:

    “The FCM wants a national discussion on how cities have to adapt to the new vagaries of weather, and it’s up to federal and provincial governments to take the lead on that conversation, Carlton says.

    “Climate change is on our front steps. It’s in our communities. We see it. We have to adapt. We can’t wait for some global agreement and we can’t just try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions only.”

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Under Fire Since Explosion, Mining C.E.O. Quits

    Mr. Blankenship, 60, and Massey, one of the country’s largest coal producers, have been under fire since an explosion in April at a mine in West Virginia in which 29 workers were killed. The explosion, at the Upper Big Branch mine, was the nation’s worst coal mining accident in 40 years.

    Mr. Blankenship is known as an outspoken skeptic of global warming theories, which he has characterized as a hoax that endangers the American economy. He came into prominence during a bitter mining strike in the 1980s, when as a manager he fiercely resisted making concessions to unions. The unions ended up making concessions, and Massey eventually became nearly union-free. Over the years, he has used his wealth and company power to become a force in West Virginia politics, chiefly to reduce environmental and safety regulations.

  30. Prokaryotes says:

    We’re waiting, Mr President

    A US government report on a pressing environmental issue is edited to falsely imply that scientists had peer-reviewed and supported the central policy recommendation. Almost 1 in 4 government scientists working on food safety say they have been asked by their bosses to exclude or alter technical information in scientific documents during the past year.

    These incidents sound as if they come from the dark days of George W. Bush’s presidency, when complaints about political interference in government science reached a crescendo. But in fact, both refer to the behaviour of the current US administration, led by a president who famously promised to “restore science to its rightful place” in his inauguration speech of January 2009.

  31. Mike says:

    Climate change to push Ghana into water stress by 2025

    04 Dec 2010

    Source: alertnet // Suleiman Mustapha