Others stories below: For Solar Power, Some Breaks in the Clouds (Wall Street Journal!); Scientists confirm Himalayan glacial melting
Source: Global Carbon Project
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery.
Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.
The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.
Climate Progress reported on a similar analysis last month (see “Biggest Jump Ever in Global Warming Pollution in 2010, Chinese CO2 Emissions Now Exceed U.S.’s By 50%“). Here’s more on the new study:
The researchers said the high growth rate reflected a bounce-back from the 1.4 percent drop in emissions in 2009, the year the recession had its biggest impact.
They do not expect the extraordinary growth to persist, but do expect emissions to return to something closer to the 3 percent yearly growth of the last decade, still a worrisome figure that signifies little progress in limiting greenhouse gases. The growth rate in the 1990s was closer to 1 percent yearly.
The combustion of coal represented more than half of the growth in emissions, the report found.
In the United States, emissions dropped by a remarkable 7 percent in the recession year of 2009, but rose by just over 4 percent last year, the new analysis shows. This country is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, pumping 1.5 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere last year.
The United States was surpassed several years ago by China, where emissions grew 10.4 percent in 2010, with that country injecting 2.2 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions are usually measured by the weight of carbon they contain.
For Solar Power, Some Breaks in the Clouds (Wall Street Journal)
The collapse of Solyndra LLC in September sent shock waves throughout the solar industry, but the company’s spectacular flameout hasn’t completely scared investors away from the sector.
Thin-film solar panel maker HelioVolt Corp., a Solyndra competitor before the latter shut down, has collected a $50 million investment from South Korean conglomerate SK Group. The Asian connection could prove noteworthy—one of the reasons Solyndra and other solar manufacturers have caved is pressure from Chinese competitors that have benefited from lower production costs there.
Meanwhile, semiconductor-industry veteran Ashok Sinha’s solar manufacturing start-up, Sunpreme Ltd., recently raised $50 million in new funding. One lesson Mr. Sinha drew from Solyndra’s failure is not to take too much money too early. “We have to moderate our growth,” he says. “This is not the time to ask the investors, even if they were willing, for $500 million to set up a huge factory. We want to go a couple of steps and prove that we have a truly decisive cost advantage.”
In other recent solar funding,Firsthand Technology Value Fund has backed Skyline Solar Inc., a maker of solar systems. “It takes a little bit of faith, belief, courage, delusion—something like that—to invest in solar these days,” says Kevin Landis, portfolio manager at Firsthand. He says he believes that even as more bankruptcies will come in the solar industry, some companies will thrive….
Overall, clean-technology investments in the U.S. surged 73% in the most recent quarter from the third quarter of last year, to $1.1 billion, according to an Ernst & Young LLP analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. The number of deals increased 36% from a year earlier, to 76.
KATHMANDU — Glaciers in the Himalayas have shrunk by as much as a fifth in just 30 years, scientists have claimed in the first authoritative confirmation of the effects of climate change on the region.
The findings, published in three reports by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), show Nepal’s glaciers have shrunk by 21 percent and Bhutan’s by 22 percent over 30 years.
The reports, launched on Sunday at the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, form the most comprehensive ever assessment of the extent of Himalayan ice melting.
They follow a discredited announcement by scientists in 2007 that the region’s glaciers would be gone by 2035.
A three-year Sweden-funded research project led by ICIMOD showed 10 glaciers surveyed in the region all are shrinking, with a marked acceleration in loss of ice between 2002 and 2005.
Another study found a significant reduction in snow cover across the region in the last decade.
“These reports provide a new baseline and location-specific information for understanding climate change in one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said.
“They substantially deepen our understanding of this region… while also pointing to the knowledge gaps yet to be filled and actions that must be taken to deal with the challenge of climate change.”
Scientists say the effects of climate change could be devastating, as the region provides food and energy for 1.3 billion people living in downstream river basins.