Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Energy and global warming news for January 21: Siemens renewables division to add 2,000 jobs in 2011; Clean energy jobs grow strong in greater Minnesota; Buzz builds for “clean energy” standard

By Climate Guest Contributor  

"Energy and global warming news for January 21: Siemens renewables division to add 2,000 jobs in 2011; Clean energy jobs grow strong in greater Minnesota; Buzz builds for “clean energy” standard"


google plus icon

Siemens Renewable-Energy Division Planning to Add 2,000 Jobs This Year

Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering company, will add at least 2,000 jobs at its renewable-energy division this year, as the business expands to meet rising demand for clean energy.

Siemens has invested “hundreds of millions” of euros in wind energy since it entered the industry with an acquisition in 2004, Rene Umlauft, chief executive officer of the unit, said in a telephone interview yesterday. The unit employed 800 people in 2004 and plans to add to its current workforce of more than 7,000, he said.

“We had a record order intake in 2010, and our goal is to increase orders by a double-digit amount this year,” Umlauft said. He reiterated a plan to make the company one of the top three makers of wind-energy equipment by 2012. The renewable- energy unit posted a 23 percent increase in new orders for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the fastest growth among Siemens’s divisions. The order backlog today stands at more than 10 billion euros ($13.5 billion), Umlauft said.

In a dark recession, green jobs grow strong in greater Minnesota

Manufacturing has been hit hard by the recession. But some Minnesota manufacturing companies are thriving and creating new jobs. They’re part of a small sector in the emerging “green economy.”

State officials say more than half of those new green jobs are popping up in areas of Minnesota outside the Twin Cities metro.

Workers on a Brainerd assembly line, for example, are making a cutting-edge device that stores excess solar energy.

Silent Power manufactures specially designed batteries, housed in a box, that make the energy available later in the day, when utility companies typically struggle with peak power demand. The devices are being tested in pilot projects around the country.

“Every utility in the country is looking at adding battery storage to their system,” said Todd Headlee, the company’s CEO.

Headlee said the recession has had little impact on his seven-year-old company, because renewable energy is in high demand.

Get moving on energy reform, IEA says

World leaders need to look to unilateral energy initiatives because they can’t wait for a global climate deal, the IEA executive director said in Abu Dhabi.

Nobuo Tanaka, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, spoke during the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. He blamed a “lack of ambition” in the effort to find a comprehensive clean-energy plan for exacerbating the threat posed by climate change.

“We cannot wait for a global climate deal,” he said in his address. “Countries must act now to achieve a secure and cleaner energy future.”

With health care ‘repealed,’ GOP turns to climate change

Now that the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the health care law, Republicans say they’re likely to move soon to another target “” a rewrite of the Clean Air Act so that it can’t be used to fight climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency in December said it would draw up performance standards that would help cut heat-trapping gases produced by refineries and coal-fired power plants. The EPA hasn’t proposed the specifics yet, and existing plants wouldn’t be affected until the later years of the decade, but opponents of regulation aren’t waiting.

Buzz Builds for ‘Clean Energy’ Standard, but Passage Won’t Be Easy

Legislation advancing clean energy at first glance seems like a palatable option for a divided Congress, a kind of combination plate enticing lawmakers with varied morsels.

Key lawmakers from both parties praise the idea and lobbying efforts are starting. But the clean energy proposals now gaining buzz could be too ambitious for this Congress to stomach.

“Reports of a clean energy standard’s life are greatly exaggerated right now,” said Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank. “There’s a long way to go before we’ll see any movement on this.”

A clean energy standard, or CES, would require utilities to generate a portion of power from sources that emit less carbon pollution like solar and wind but, also nuclear, coal with carbon capture and sequestration, and possibly natural gas. It would expand on the renewables-only mandates that failed to pass the last Congress.

EPA beefs up policy shop with Hill aide

Facing incoming fire from Republicans, the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday beefed up its ranks with a longtime Capitol Hill Democratic veteran.

Michael Goo, most recently the staff director of the now-defunct House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will join EPA’s Office of Policy as associate administrator, a job that answers directly to Administrator Lisa Jackson, E&E News reported.

Goo spent the past two years working for Select Committee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), playing a key role in promoting the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in June 2009. Earlier in his career, Goo worked for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Clean Technology in China — a Difficult Balance Between Cooperation and Competition

Executives of ECOtality Inc. believed in 2009 that their battery charging technology would be a winner when plug-in electric vehicles began to hit the market this year. But with debts running far ahead of revenue, the San Francisco firm needed immediate financial support to stay in the game.

The help came from China, through a $2 million investment that year by a Chinese company. In return, the Chinese company received the rights to make and sell ECOtality’s chargers in its country and in other Asian markets. The relationship is one example of the complex linkage between American clean energy technology and Chinese capital and markets that will be a subject in this week’s U.S.-China summit in Washington led by President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The relationship is contentious and collaborative at the same time, commented Georgetown University’s Joanna Lewis, writing in the latest assessment of China’s environmental activities for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

A blueprint for keeping America competitive

President Obama has asked me to chair his new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. I have served for the past two years on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and I look forward to leading the next phase of this effort as we transition from recovery to long-term growth. The president and I are committed to a candid and full dialogue among business, labor and government to help ensure that the United States has the most competitive and innovative economy in the world.

Business leaders should provide expertise in service of our country. My predecessors at GE have done so, as have leaders of many other great American companies. There is always a healthy tension between the public and private sectors. However, we all share a responsibility to drive national competitiveness, particularly during economic unrest. This is one of those times.

UPDATE 3-Obama names GE’s Immelt head of new economic panel

U.S. President Barack Obama will name General Electric Co. (GE.N) Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt to head a new economic advisory panel on Friday focused on promoting growth by investing in business.

The “President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness,” will work to encourage companies to hire and invest in U.S. competitiveness, the White House said in a statement.

The council replaces an economic recovery advisory panel led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who is stepping down when his group dissolves next month.

Bringing Immelt on board solidifies Obama’s efforts to improve his relationship with the business community, with whom the White House has had strained ties for the last two years.

Calif. Plants Put A Wrinkle In Climate Change Plans

As the globe warms up, many plants and animals are moving uphill to keep their cool. Conservationists are anticipating much more of this as they make plans to help natural systems adapt to a warming planet. But a new study in Science has found that plants in northern California are bucking this uphill trend in preference for wetter, lower areas.

Usually, coping with climate change is an uphill struggle for ecosystems “” literally. Plants and animals want to be in a temperature zone where they can survive best.

“We see it consistently for mobile species such as insects and animals,” says Solomon Dobrowski, an assistant professor of forest landscape ecology at the University of Montana. “A lot of the real foundation studies of this have come out of studies of butterflies, for example.”

Dobrowski expected he’d see the same trend when he looked into historical movements of plants in a vast area of northern California. He dug through a remarkable record of the region’s vegetation, collected back in the 1930s thanks to a federal project started during the Great Depression. He and his colleagues from the University of Idaho and the University of California, Davis then compared that with modern vegetation surveys.

The Climate Post: Hu Jintao’s visit prompts soul searching in U.S. energy and climate circles

The truly astonishing amount of material that came out after a recent visit by China’s President Hu Jintao is a measure of how pivotal energy and climate change are between the U.S. and China. This includes a piece on the importance of energy cooperation between the two nations by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu himself.

Scientific American’s Dave Biello describes the relationship between the U.S. and China as the kind of detente that exists between “frenemies,” but one of the most comprehensive assessments of the current state of affairs was articulated by Daniel Firger of the Columbia Center for Climate Change Law. He says the year to come in China and U.S. energy news will revolve around three things:

A National Commitment to Win the Clean Energy Race

With the arrival of Chinese President Hu this week in Washington, there can be no better time for the U.S. to make clear its unqualified commitment to winning the global race for clean energy jobs.

This is not just an international issue; it’s an urgent domestic one. While the employment situation shows some glimmer of hope, there are still more than 14 million people unemployed and many more so discouraged they’ve left the job market. And the progress we have made on clean energy is at risk. Evergreen Solar, a Massachusetts company, recently announced it would lay off 800 workers and move production to China.

The U.S. needs a comprehensive strategy for creating jobs, and a long-term, dedicated investment in clean energy is one of the quickest and most effective ways to get millions of Americans back to work and to position the United States as a global leader in the production of clean energy technologies.

A Clear No for the Spruce Mine

If the Obama administration stays the course, the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision last week to revoke a permit for one of the nation’s biggest mountaintop-removal mining projects could be the beginning of the end of a mining practice that has caused huge environmental harm across Appalachia.

The decision is a tribute to the agency, which faced fierce political opposition and a victory for the West Virginians who worked long and hard to block the mine. It should also be a warning to the mining industry that the days of getting its way, no matter the cost, are over.

Sunoco shuts Oklahoma crude line after Weds. leak

Sunoco Logistics reported to the National Response Center that it had a crude oil spill at a pipeline in Oklahoma on Wednesday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday.

The 1,250-barrel spill was in Garvin County, said David Bary, a spokesman for the EPA.

Sunoco spokesman Thomas Golembeski said that the pipeline was shut after the leak was found in the 10-inch line running from Eola to Maysville, Oklahoma.

ONGC Shuts Some Wells at India’s Biggest Oil Field After Pipeline Leakage

Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India’s largest energy-exploration company, closed some wells at the nation’s biggest oil field after a pipeline leakage off the west coast. The shares fell to the lowest in almost eight months.

The spill is estimated to be about one mile (1.6 kilometers) long and the state-run explorer may have lost 25,000 barrels of crude oil, according to an e-mailed statement from the company today. ONGC didn’t say what caused the leak in the pipeline, which has a capacity of 212,000 barrels a day.

Production from the area may be halted for three hours, ONGC said. The spill, about 80 kilometers off the Mumbai coast, was spotted at 8:45 a.m. local time, according to the statement.

“A three-hour stoppage in production and the volume of loss doesn’t look like it will impact ONGC much,” said Niraj Mansingka, a Mumbai-based analyst at Edelweiss Capital Ltd. “The impact on the environment will have to be assessed.”

Germany to trim solar power subsidies

Germany’s government and an industry group said Thursday they have agreed to trim solar power subsidies by up to 15 percent this year as demand thrives in the country, a leading producer and user of the renewable energy source.

High demand for solar energy equipment has driven down costs, making it possible to move up planned subsidy cuts without curbing the sector’s growth, Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said.

“We want a reliable expansion of solar energy, but we also want to use the potential for cost reduction,” Roettgen told journalists in Berlin.

Germany has been heavily subsidizing solar power and other renewable energies since 2000, prompting an industry boom.

Guenther Cramer, who heads Germany’s solar industry association, said a subsidy cut planned for 2012 will be advanced to this July so long as officials are confident that this year’s sales of photovoltaic devices will top 3.5 gigawatts of capacity “” about half last year’s level.

Calif. Plants Put A Wrinkle In Climate Change Plans

As the globe warms up, many plants and animals are moving uphill to keep their cool. Conservationists are anticipating much more of this as they make plans to help natural systems adapt to a warming planet. But a new study in Science has found that plants in northern California are bucking this uphill trend in preference for wetter, lower areas.

Usually, coping with climate change is an uphill struggle for ecosystems “” literally. Plants and animals want to be in a temperature zone where they can survive best.

“We see it consistently for mobile species such as insects and animals,” says Solomon Dobrowski, an assistant professor of forest landscape ecology at the University of Montana. “A lot of the real foundation studies of this have come out of studies of butterflies, for example.”

Dobrowski expected he’d see the same trend when he looked into historical movements of plants in a vast area of northern California. He dug through a remarkable record of the region’s vegetation, collected back in the 1930s thanks to a federal project started during the Great Depression. He and his colleagues from the University of Idaho and the University of California, Davis then compared that with modern vegetation surveys.

‹ Meet the Climate Fockers: Why family fights over climate are a good sign

Republican Study Committee proposes unilateral disarmament to China in innovation, clean energy ›

40 Responses to Energy and global warming news for January 21: Siemens renewables division to add 2,000 jobs in 2011; Clean energy jobs grow strong in greater Minnesota; Buzz builds for “clean energy” standard

  1. fj3 says:

    @GOODfeed Guangzhou, China, for leading the way in integrated transport systems. check out more transit oriented cities: http://www.st-award.org

  2. fj3 says:

    How civilizations commit suicide | The Nation http://bit.ly/feq3DH

  3. paulm says:

    Insurance now….

    New Melt Record for Greenland Ice Sheet

    A report published by WWF and Allianz in 2009, Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector, found that global sea level rise of just 20 inches, with an additional 6 inches localized rise along the northeast U.S. coast, could jeopardize assets worth close to $7.4 trillion.

    “The shocking rate of Greenland’s ice melt is a wakeup call,” said Lou Leonard, WWF Managing Director of Climate Change. “Study after study is reaching the same conclusions: climate change is accelerating, the livelihoods of people and the habitats of species are becoming more stressed and the costs of doing nothing are piling up. Time is growing short, but we still have a chance to avoid the worst impacts and economic damages if we begin to phase out fossil fuels and transition to a clean energy economy today.”

  4. Barry says:

    World leaders need to look to unilateral energy initiatives because they can’t wait for a global climate deal, the IEA executive director said in Abu Dhabi.“We cannot wait for a global climate deal,” he said in his address. “Countries must act now to achieve a secure and cleaner energy future.”

    So nations will need to cut fossil fuel pollution because it is NECESSARY to a safe future…even though none of those nations’ unilateral actions will be anywhere near SUFFICIENT to solve the problem.

    Same reality applies to all of us as individuals. Time to make big cuts in our climate destabilizing pollution levels. Starting now.

    The delayer meme that “if your emissions are small then you don’t need to cut now” had better die soon. Climate Hawks need to stop re-enforcing this delayer message and start leading the way on necessary unilateral action.

    Don’t think so?

    Maybe you aren’t listening to the excuse even the dirtiest industries are using. For example, here is what the tar sands industry trots out to excuse themselves from GHG cuts: “Oil sands account for … 1/1000th of global GHG emissions…equivalent to 2% of emissions from the U.S. coal fired power generation sector.” Got it?

    The meme has to switch to “everyone has to start cutting emissions because all of it is necessary for a safe and sustainable future.” Period. No exceptions.

  5. Barry says:

    Another food crisis from usual weather: The problem began late last fall, when unseasonal monsoon rains caused a fungus in Maharashtrastate, the country’s onion belt – and ruined the crop. The government’s agricultural board was anticipating a record harvest, and neither it nor farmers picked up on the problem until too late…there was no new harvest. The onion price quadrupled; the nation staggered.


  6. dbmetzger says:

    From the china news agency Xinhua
    2010 One of the Three Warmest Years on Record
    The World Meteorological Organization has declared last year the one of the three warmest years on record. The WMO notes that these years have all been within the past 12 years, and warns that the warming may trigger continuing extreme weather. http://www.newslook.com/videos/285051-2010-one-of-the-three-warmest-years-on-record?autoplay=true

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    I find it ironic that Australia is about to impose a flood tax , to pay for the last 6 months of damage.

  8. PSU Grad says:

    @Colorado Bob (#7): I think there was an oil filter commercial with the tag line “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later”. Seems appropriate here.

  9. And the next flooding: Dozens dead and damages over $50 million across the country: South Africa sees heaviest floods in years: http://bit.ly/SAfFld

  10. Pbo says:

    A few articles worth reading:

    Cold comfort: Canada’s record-smashing mildness

    2010 Greenland ice sheet melt sets new record, 2011 starts warm

    Record setting 2010 Greenland temperatures and long term trends

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    From the fungus desk -

    In Colombia, heavy rains in December left 300 people dead and 2 million homeless, injured or whose property was damaged. Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland and coffee-growing lands were destroyed, causing millions of dollars in damage, and the excessive humidity caused the appearance of a fungus that attacks coffee plants.


  12. Colorado Bob says:

    Normal to flooded in 22 minutes

    THESE incredible images, taken over a period of just 22 minutes, were taken on a farm at Helidon on Monday, January 10. The property is just upstream from Grantham – the township that bore the full force of the disaster. There had reportedly never been water on the cultivation before.


  13. Colorado Bob says:

    Heavy snow, icy rain wreck havoc in southwest China

    But icy rain has hit 87 counties, cities and districts, affecting 7.49 million people and causing direct economic losses of over 3.9 billion yuan (592 million U.S.Dollar), provincial authorities said.

    According to the Guizhou meteorological center, snowfalls hit most of the province Friday, and outdoor electric wires in 27 counties were coated with ice.

    The National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecasts most regions in south and east China to experience more icy rain and snowfalls in the coming three days.


  14. Colorado Bob says:

    Johannesburg, 21 January 2011 (IRIN) – Heavy rains and localized flooding across southern Africa from Angola to Madagascar are raising fears that the devastating floods of 2000 will be repeated. Then, thousands of people were plucked from rooftops by helicopter, several hundred died, and Mozambique’s agricultural production was severely impacted.

    “All countries in contiguous southern Africa are expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall between January and March 2011 – northern Zimbabwe, central Zambia, southern Malawi, central Mozambique and most of Madagascar are expected to receive above-normal rainfall,” said an update by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), published on 20 January.


  15. Prokaryotes says:

    Green Cars Electrify Detroit Auto Show

    The electrification of Motown was in full display this week at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, which runs through January 23. In the past, press previews at the event have featured carnival-style new car announcements. Not this year, but there was still a subdued sense that although Detroit may not yet be fully recovered from bankruptcy and recession, U.S. automakers are getting back on their feet. And electric cars are emerging as central to that rebirth. http://www.onearth.org/article/green-cars-electrify-detroit-auto-show

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    SD delegation backs ethanol-gas blend decision

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s congressional delegation hailed expanded use of the 15 percent ethanol-gasoline blend as a trigger for job creation and a move away from foreign oil.

    The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday approved the use of 15 percent ethanol blended with gas in cars and light-duty trucks manufactured between 2001 and 2006. Last October it approved so-called E-15 for cars built since 2007.

    Sen. John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem said it’s a decision the EPA should have made sooner and will increase demand for ethanol.

    Sen. Tim Johnson said expanded approval of E-15 fuel is good for consumers and will help meet renewable fuels targets.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-21/sd-delegation-backs-ethanol-gas-blend-decision.html

  17. Prokaryotes says:

    E.P.A. Approves More Ethanol in Auto Fuel

    But the practical impact of the announcement on the fuel blend, known as E15, was not clear. An announcement in October that cars in the 2007 model year and later could use the blend has so far had little impact on retailers or drivers. A new fuel requires multiple approvals from many agencies. And retailers are typically not set up to offer an additional grade of gasoline at their pumps, meaning that if they wanted to sell E15, they would have to stop selling something else.

    The ethanol industry is facing a problem selling its product because overall gasoline sales are down even while its production is up. In addition, while many cars have been produced that can run on an 85 percent ethanol blend, known as E85, very few gasoline retailers outside the Midwest actually sell the fuel. Automakers had expressed concern that the E15 blend could harm older model cars. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/22/business/energy-environment/22ethanol.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

  18. Prokaryotes says:

    “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

    By the mid 2000s, with sales of big SUVs and trucks spinning off proportionally big profits, I can recall senior GM executives disparaging Toyota’s then small-selling Prius as a bad business strategy, describing it as a costly kludge of electric and gas technologies whose price could never cover its cost to build.

    Fast forward a few years. Toyota is the biggest carmaker in the world, and the Prius is a global hit. GM meanwhile is struggling back from bankruptcy and is earning kudos for rolling out an e-car that’s similar to the Prius in more than just looks. The Volt is a 60 mpg, four-door sedan that plugs in and runs on a combination of battery power, a gas engine. And it will cost $40,000, a price that — just like early versions of the Prius — critics have said can’t cover the true costs of its advanced technologies.

    If GM failed to recognize the EV1’s potential, it’s not making the same mistake this time. Just as Toyota has benefited hugely from the green halo that the Prius lends the company’s reputation, GM seems to get that even if early Volts are money losers, the reputational benefits are enormous. Thanks to GM’s huge, years-in-the-making publicity campaign for the vehicle, the public is probably more aware of this car than any new vehicle in recent history, gas or electric.

    For all the attention heaped on GM, Ford is also banking on a small fleet of new electric vehicles designed to appeal to a broader set of buyers. The sole U.S. automaker to avoid a government bailout, Ford introduced three new electric vehicles at the show. The most ambitious is the Focus Electric, an all-battery plug in sedan, which can roll 100 miles on a charge. It will cost around $30,000.

  19. Prokaryotes says:

    Utah Approves a Mine Next to Bryce Canyon for Coal America Doesn’t Need

    Imagine: a massive open-pit coal mine next to a wilderness jewel. A scenario like that might have been routine in the past, but this is the 21st century, when many cleaner, more sustainable ways to power our economy abound. We no longer have to sacrifice an iconic landscape in order to burn some dirty rocks.

    And yet a mining company got approval last month to open Utah’s first-ever strip mine for coal in the small community of Alton. Few new coal mines have opened in the West in the past decade since most developers focus on expanding existing mines, not reaching into untouched wilderness. And that’s what makes this mine so troubling: it will be located 10 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park. http://www.onearth.org/blog/utah-approves-a-mine-next-to-bryce-canyon-for-coal-america-doesn’t-need

  20. Prokaryotes says:

    Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012

    Dr. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, outlined the scenario to news.com.au. Betelgeuse, one of the night sky’s brightest stars, is losing mass, indicating it is collapsing. It could run out of fuel and go super-nova at any time.

    When that happens, for at least a few weeks, we’d see a second sun, Carter says. There may also be no night during that timeframe. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/two-suns-twin-stars_n_811864.html

    More Heat, Great!

  21. fj3 says:

    As Mark Hertsgaard argues at The Nation, this brand of American has become so pernicious, it’s time to stop adhering to the protocol that dubs them “climate deniers” and start calling them “climate cranks.” He explains:

    “True skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method, but an honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts, if they are sound. The cranks are impervious to facts, at least facts that contradict their wacky worldview. When virtually every national science academy in the developed world, including our own, and every major scientific organization (e.g., the American Geophysical Union, the American Physics Society) has affirmed that climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank continues to insist that it’s all a left-wing plot.”


  22. Colorado Bob says:

    Greenland’s Ice Feels the Heat in Record-Setting 2010

    Unusually warm conditions in much of the country helped extend the annual melting season by up to 50 days longer in 2010 than the average observed between 1979 and 2009, researchers found. ……………
    Recent studies suggest that sea level will rise between 3 and 6 feet by 2100, with a significant contribution coming from the more rapid melting of huge ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.

  23. paulm says:

    ClimateFlightAction vow FB page….

    Addressing Global Warming, I vow to eliminate all my non-essential flying.


    It’s a moral issue….

  24. fj3 says:

    Net-zero mobility is an accelerating moving target

    The PiCycle: Electric Bike w/Smartphone Sync Up http://bit.ly/eAYYkT #eco #green # http://picycle.com/

  25. paulm says:

    In September, a privately held and highly secretive U.S. biotech company named Joule Unlimited received a patent for “a proprietary organism” – a genetically engineered cyanobacterium that produces liquid hydrocarbons: diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline. This breakthrough technology, the company says, will deliver renewable supplies of liquid fossil fuel almost anywhere on Earth, in essentially unlimited quantity and at an energy-cost equivalent of $30 (U.S.) a barrel of crude oil. It will deliver, the company says, “fossil fuels on demand.”

    [JR: Doubtful at $30. Everybody has a dream, though.]

  26. question says:

    A bit late, but what the heck:

    New Year’s resolutions:

    #1 Switch to a renewable sourced provider of electricity [done]

    #2 Insulate house [in process]

    #3 Push “green team” at work towards making Carbon footprint the number one issue [in progress]

    #4 Write at least 12 “letters to the editor” to newspapers and magazines each year concerning climate change

    #5 Write at least 1 comment/response to newspaper/website articles dealing with climate change each week (to counter the usual rabid climate cranks) [in process]

    #6 Research more efficient furnace options for eventual (~2-3 years) replacement when budget allows.

    #7 Offset personal air travel

    total costs: <$800 and zero effect on my "lifestyle"
    future benefits: priceless

  27. Colorado Bob says:

    Over the past two decades, an increasing number of settlers who have moved here to farm have impinged on bird habitats and reduced bird populations by cutting down forests and turning grasslands into fields. Now the early effects of global warming and other climate changes have helped send the populations of many local mountain species into a steep downward spiral, from which many experts say they will never recover.

    Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel.


  28. Colorado Bob says:

    Coffee, cotton and cocoa barreled toward highs, fueled by concerns of a shortfall in global supplies.


  29. Paulm says:

    29 question,

    How do u offset air travel?

  30. Michael T. says:

    Global Warming Denier Forecast feat. Sam Seder

  31. Michael T. says:

    The Climate Show 05: On a hot wet green roof

    The Climate Show returns with the first show of the new year, and it’s a cracker. Our guest is Dr Brad Bass, an expert in “green” roofing who joined Glenn in the Auckland studio to discuss the many advantages of growing things (even trees!) on our buildings. John Cook from Skeptical Science gives us an eye-witness account of the Queensland flooding, and explains the climate and weather background to the event. We also discuss last year’s record setting temperatures, the fakery of Don Easterbrook, and an interesting breakthrough in solar power technology.

  32. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    fj3 #24, I think climate change denialist is just fine. First, as you say, the self-description ‘sceptic’ is laughable, as these creatures have tiny, narrow, minds utterly immune to argument or reason, unlike true sceptics. Second, apparently being called a denialist really annoys them, which is fine by me. The link to Holocaust denialists ought to be emphasised, rather than give into their moral blackmail. What they are busy denying, against all the evidence, is a new Holocaust, but one only just beginning and whose coming victims might yet be saved, unlike the victims of Nazi crimes who are beyond help. The unfolding climate Holocaust, moreover, will quite possibly claim one or two orders of magnitude more victims than all those killed in WW2, not just the victims of Nazi genocide.
    paulm #28, I’m sure that this magic cyanobacterium reminds me of some science fiction story, or several, where a supposedly ‘miraculous’ micro-organism escapes into the environment, and, unlike its behaviour in the laboratory (or not, depending on how sinister the protagonists turn out to be)it begins doing something really untoward, like consuming all the planet’s oxygen, or disrupting plant photosynthesis or excreting huge amounts of methane or some toxic gas.

  33. Paulm says:


    The Arctic freeze leaves behind TWO MILLION potholes… one for every 180 yards of road in the country

    The weather conditions have led to a damaging freeze-thaw effect on road surfaces, meaning a 40 per cent surge in potholes is expected.

  34. Edward says:

    36 Mulga Mumblebrain: The climate Holocaust will kill 3 orders of magnitude more victims than all those killed in WW2, if allowed to continue. The climate Holocaust has already killed people, it is just that it is difficult to sort them out from deaths that would have happened anyway.

  35. question says:

    #32 paulm

    Well it isn’t perfect, but I’ll buy carbon offsets from one of the usual providers. The cost is a couple percent of the air fare. Not a great solution, but better than nothing and it at least provides investment into green energy or amelioration efforts.

    Right now I can’t not travel (most of it is due to work), but I can try to do what I can to reduce the effects.
    If everyone in the US offset just their air travel it would pump about $3 billion/yr into efforts to lower our carbon footprint.

    Offsets can be controversial, but they are at least a step in the right direction we fight to get a carbon tax or other serious attempt at cutting CO2 emissions.

  36. Charlie Gosh says:

    State governments regulate electric utility companies. With a near-monopoly customer base, this prevents them from gouging those customers.

    State regulators could direct each electric utility to provide loans to building owners to install superior insulation and similar energy-saving retrofits. Customers would then pay their same old monthly bill while using less energy, and the difference would make the loan payments.

    Bottom line? Utility customers keep paying their same monthly bill until the loan is paid off, then their bill drops permanently. Electric utilities end up with less electric output and smaller cash flow, but state price-regulation keeps them profitable. All American homes and businesses become more energy-efficient while spending no extra money.

    Next, the utility provides a similar loan to put windmills and/or solar cells on each building. As the utility company dwindles in size, ex-employees are trained to install and service this equipment.

    Better yet, just stop giving taxpayer money to oil companies (who pay no taxes in the US). It’s not like they need it (c’mon, $14 billion in *profit* in three months for Exxon?). Since oil is a global commodity, all we’re doing is subsidizing American producers, raising their profits. It’s sad they’re too incompetent to compete with foreign producers on a level playing field.