August 8 News: Supercomputers Refine Climate Change Predictions; Solar PV to Double in 2011

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"August 8 News: Supercomputers Refine Climate Change Predictions; Solar PV to Double in 2011"


A round-up of climate and energy news. Please post other stories below.

Climate forecasts near an upgrade

Even a century ago, scientists working out equations on paper understood that gases in the atmosphere absorbed and emitted energy, keeping Earth from being a ball of ice. Today they use supercomputers to make increasingly refined predictions about how the Earth’s climate will change.

The new efforts take the question from global to local scale. Nations, states and communities have lots of climate-related questions: Should they divert water from one area to another? Build higher sea walls? Store and manage water the way Israel does today? Plan for many more 100-degree days in future summers?

“We can’t answer those questions with the capabilities we have today. That’s why we’re using supercomputers to push the limits of what we understand and how well we can predict,” said James Kinter, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia and director of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies.

US Solar PV to Double in 2011; Grow 47% a year to 2015

The US solar photovoltaic (PV) market will double in 2011, this despite current economic weakness, according to research from Solarbuzz. With a current project pipeline of more than 17 gigawatts (GW), the Port Washington, NY-based research firm foresees the US solar PV market growing to reach 6.4 GW by 2015, a constant annual growth rate of 47%.

Solarbuzz forecasts the US will account for 12% of the global solar PV market by 2015, up from 5%. This would make the US the third-largest solar PV market worldwide, ranking behind Germany and Italy.

2010 growth rates will vary regionally and by market segment with shifts in policy and incentives at the federal, state and local levels of government, but the sharp drop in solar PV prices will underpin growth, according to Solarbuzz’s “United States 2011 PV Market” report.

EPA head: Wetlands to be focus of gulf restoration

Addressing wetlands loss will be a major component of an upcoming report on Gulf Coast oil spill recovery, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.

Administrator Lisa Jackson is chairing the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, which she said is taking a broader view of restoration. The panel is putting emphasis on longer-term issues that include wetlands loss, “one of the most urgent ecosystem challenges we are facing,” she said.

Ninety percent of wetlands losses in the continental U.S. are in the Gulf, Jackson said, adding that the task force has not written its report yet. Wetlands loss will be a major component of the report and dealing with it will reach beyond the coast.

“That means addressing the Mississippi River, its management as well as addressing opportunities for projects that would help us to work with nature instead of against it, but also allow us to do some commonsense things when we do have to dredge,” Jackson said at the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration.

Fake Twitter accounts used to promote tar sands pipeline

Someone in the oil industry appears to be resorting to astroturfing to bolster support for the controversial proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Alberta down to Texas if approved by the Obama administration. The Rainforest Action Network thinks the American Petroleum Institute and its oil lobby allies are behind a slew of fake Twitter accounts designed to prop up public opinion about the pipeline.

The final decision on the project lies with the State Department and is expected before the end of the year. The proposal has raised concerns among environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, and landowners in the region, however. Many tweeps following the debate have been using the hash tag “#tarsands” to discuss the pipeline. On Wednesday morning, RAN noticed a group of Twitter handles posting the same tweet, “#tarsands the truth is out!” followed by a link to the API webpage about the tar sands. Then those accounts sent out another link, this time to the Nebraska Energy Forum, a state-based group sponsored by API that has also been heavily involved in promoting tar sands development. I sent a request to API for comment about whether they are, in fact, behind the handles, but I have not yet received a response.

After spill, Montana senators float pipeline safety proposal

Montana Sens. Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D) floated legislation this week aimed at preventing another pipeline accident like the one that spewed thousands of gallons of oil into a river in the state last month.

It’s the latest effort by lawmakers to ratchet up pipeline safety in the aftermath of a string of recent pipeline accidents.

The Baucus-Tester bill would require that federal pipeline regulators review safety rules for pipelines near rivers, boost leak detection standards and update oil spill response plans.

The bill is a response to a July Exxon Mobil pipeline spill that dumped an estimated 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana.

“Montanans have the right to all the information possible about pipelines and their safety,” Tester said in a statement.  “Since seeing the Yellowstone River spill, it’s clear we must have more transparency and accountability. This bill adds public input, improves safety procedures and gives our first responders the information they need to do their jobs.”

GM sells 173,398 vehicles in China during July

General Motors and its joint ventures sold 173,398 vehicles in China during the month of July, as Shanghai GM and GM’s Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands all set sales records for the month.

GM’s China sales in July were down 1.8% from the same month last year due to the drop in industry sales of commercial vehicles, which impacted its SAIC-GM-Wuling and FAW-GM joint ventures. However, domestic sales of passenger cars from Shanghai GM rose 14.4% on an annual basis to 91,818 units.

Buick sales were up 15.4% on an annual basis to 50,265 units, led by record July sales of the LaCrosse upper-medium sedan and Excelle XT and GT lower-medium passenger cars. In addition, sales of the GL8 family jumped 45.7% from July 2010, benefiting from the popularity of the new GL8 luxury MPV.

Domestic sales of Chevrolet products rose 17.1% year on year to 46,154 units, receiving a boost from Shanghai GM’s new Aveo small car, Cruze lower-medium sedan and Captiva SUV, and SAIC-GM-Wuling’s Le Chi mini-car.

Cadillac had another strong month in China, with sales rising 76.1% on an annual basis to 2,365 units. The SRX luxury SUV remained its best-selling model, accounting for about two-thirds of Cadillac sales in July.

Report: Volkswagen still trying to negotiate changes to CAFE standards

While the majority of automakers have officially chosen to back the proposed 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, Volkswagen blasted the requirements, alleging that rules are biased.

Since the proposed 2025 CAFE standards are, well, proposed, VW still hopes to negotiate some modifications before the fuel economy guidelines become official. Jonathan Browning, chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America, told Ward’s Auto (sub. req.) that, “We still have a dialogue going on with the administration in terms of how we think the policy needs to be adjusted.”

VW says the current proposed rules allow “special compliance flexibility for heavier light trucks” while placing too high a burden on passenger cars. More specifically, VW cries foul, stating, “The proposal encourages manufacturers and customers to shift toward larger, less-efficient vehicles, defeating the goal of reduced greenhouse-gas emissions.”

 

Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

As venture capitalists bow out, corporations step in.

But where venture capitalists are bowing out, big corporations are beginning to step in. At least that’s what New York-based investment bank Peachtree Capital Advisors has observed.

“Corporate investors, perhaps willing to overlook concerns about short-term profitability for long-term potential, were active in making both investments and acquisitions in the first half of 2011,” according to the firm.
…See More

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 1:38pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Halt Fracking! 68 Groups Say to Obama.

This morning, CEOs, founders, and other leaders of 68 organizations sent a letter to President Obama, urging that he do what he can to stop the dangerous extraction of shale gas that is occurring across the country without any federal public safeguards. Often called ‘fracking,’ communities from Pennsylvania to Texas to Minnesota are already suffering from the numerous environmental problems connected with this process to force “natural” gas from shale several thousand feet below ground.

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/campaign-blog/halt-fracking-68-groups-say-to-obama/blog/36272/#.Tj_6ae-b_Sg.facebook

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 3:28pm

Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

# Both Oklahoma and Texas had their warmest months on record, with monthly statewide average temperatures of 88.9 degrees F (31.6 degrees C) and 87.1 degrees F (30.6 degrees C), respectively. Oklahoma’s statewide average temperature was the warmest monthly statewide average temperature on record for any state during any month. The previous warmest monthly statewide average temperature was also in Oklahoma, during July 1954, at 88.1 degrees F (31.2 degrees C).
# Only seven of the lower 48 states — all west of the Rockies — experienced a July average temperature near or below the 20th century average. The other 41 had a above-normal, much-above-normal, or record warmest July.
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2011/7

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 3:26pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Duke Energy makes deal for long-planned Texas wind farm.
Duke EnergybizWatch plans to build a 200-megawatt wind farm in Willacy County, Texas, and sell the electricity it generates to San Antonio-based CPS EnergybizWatch , the nation’s largest municipally owned energy utility.
http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/power_city/2011/08/duke-energy-makes-deal-for.html

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 5:50pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Germany: BMW Betting on Electric Lounge Car With Hemp Floor to Hold Off VW’s Audi http://hemp.org/news/content/bmw-electric-car-hemp-floor.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 6:28pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Alex Steffen: The shareable future of cities http://www.ted.com/talks/alex_steffen.html.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 4:11pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Satellite Finds Evidence of Antimatter Belt Around Earth.

Data from the cosmic ray satellite PAMELA has added substantial weight to the theory that the Earth is encircled by a thin band of antimatter.

The satellite, named Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics, was launched in 2006 to study the nature of cosmic rays — high-energy particles from the Sun and beyond the solar system which barrel into Earth.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/08/earth-antimatter-belt/

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 1:54pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Arctic open for exploitation: Obama administration grants Shell approval to drill http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0808-hance_shell_arctic.html.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 2:24pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

World View – A weekly pictorial review of weather around the globe http://www.wunderground.com/worldview/?collection=88.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 1:55pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Now live stream #progressive style.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 1:58pm

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Some feedback from twitter

@ejldurand Enrique J.L. Durand
Disapointing Obama´s speech. Insists on tax and spend and a promise of some concrete plan sometime in the future. Lacks decisive leadership. https://twitter.com/#!/ejldurand/status/100629616108113920

…See More

Like · Reply · August 8 at 2:11pm

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

@thedailybeast The Daily Beast
Obama Talks Debt, Taxes: Calls for tax reform to improve debt outlook. http://thebea.st/pgNMQ5 #cheatsheet
https://twitter.com/#!/thedailybeast/status/100638177504657408

Like · Reply · August 8 at 2:45pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Evidence of ancient supercontinent found.

BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 8 (UPI) — U.S. and international geologists say they’ve discovered a billion-year-old piece of North America they can trace back to Antarctica.

Researchers say it’s the strongest evidence yet found suggesting North America and Antarctica were connected 1.1 billion years ago, long before the supercontinent Pangaea formed, a Geological Society of America release reported Monday.
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Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 9:14pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Uhhh Astroturfs

Fake Twitter accounts used to promote tar sands pipeline…

based on a State Department cable released by WikiLeaks, Neela Banerjee of the Los Angeles Times reported that, in 2009, the State Department’s “energy envoy” was already instructing Alberta’s fossil-fuel barons in how to improve their “oil sands messaging,” including “increasing visibility and accessibility of more positive news stories.” This is the government version of Murdoch-style enviro-hacking, and it leads many to think that the new pipeline is already a done deal.

Still, the president can say no. http://www.grist.org/fossil-fuels/2011-07-14-will-north-america-be-the-new-middle-east

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 1:51pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Concern Trolls..

Andy @Revkin, fiddling while the Arctic burns. http://thkpr.gs/oiS54E #climate http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/on-arctic-sea-ice-and-warmth-past-and-future/.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 6:29pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Japan Tsunami Breaks Off Antarctica Iceberg the Size of Manhattan.
International Business Times – 10 minutes ago.

http://tv.ibtimes.com/japan-tsunami-breaks-off-antarctica-iceberg-the-size-of-manhattan/1555.html

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 9:13pm

Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

Cut and paste this far and wide.
“Senator Inhfoe’s Igloo Village” -
Oklahoma’s statewide average temperature was the warmest monthly statewide average temperature on record for any state during any month. The previous warmest monthly statewide average temperature was also in Oklahoma, during July 1954, at 88.1 degrees F (31.2 degrees C).

This is called rewriting the record books. sport.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 11:06pm

Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

88.9 degrees F (31.6 degrees C) during July 2011 in “Senator Inhfoe’s Igloo Village” -
Beat 1954′s by .8th of a degree , that is the cross town bus, moving very fast when one speaks of monthly records, and all time highs in all of the lower 48.

This is called rewriting the record books. sport.

Like · Reply · August 8 at 11:19pm

Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

Someone needs to ask the Senator about all this. .

Like · Reply · August 8 at 11:21pm

Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

The “Hoax” has Oklahoma by the Throat “.

Like · Reply · August 8 at 11:37pm

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Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

The new normal: billion-dollar disasters.
http://www.grist.org/climate-change/2011-08-03-the-new-normal-billion-dollar-disasters

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 3:31pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Howto prepare for Climate Disruption?

http://www.youtube.com/user/ActontheActor#p/u/19/_Cg8BiIN08A

Notice that guy is a bit crazy… but how crazy is it actually to prepare for emergency situations, which become more common with climate disruption?

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 7:53pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

@Gus_802 Gus
The avg US temp in June was 70.7F (21.5C) – 1.4F (0.8C) above long-term (1901-2000) avg http://t.co/YZfNjJ4 #tcot #tlot #p2 #LGF #agw.
https://twitter.com/#!/Gus_802/status/98592144708739072

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 3:30pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

#LondonRiots #Ealing: about 15 teenagers took over a bus, forced the driver out and crashed it.The bus driver’s in shock http://yfrog.com/kfk1yehj.

Mindless actions…

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 10:03pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

Human swarm behavior is not very intelligent, there are many videos with mob mentality coming in, and i think all these gives clues how people will behave when confronted with serious climate disruption.

Also this offers clues about how past civilizations collapsed.

This is not an isolated event for the UK any longer, London literally burns tonight, Bermingham and Liverpool too have reports of violence. And this is not only the UK, there have been the Toronto riots 2 month ago and then we have the so called Arab spring and China too has many reports of riots.
…See More

Like · Reply · August 8 at 10:12pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

London tonight

http://yfrog.com/0wtduz

Now add in climate disruption…

Like · Reply · Subscribe · August 8 at 7:03pm

Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

London riots: the third night – live coverage http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2011/aug/08/london-riots-third-night-live#block-56

Like · Reply · August 8 at 7:09pm

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