Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Youths file federal climate change lawsuit

Federal Courthouse Eugene, Oregon
A group of 21 youths — several of them from Eugene — today filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that it is violating their constitutional rights by promoting the development and use of fossil fuels.
The plaintiffs are seeking a court order requiring President Obama to immediately implement a national plan to decrease atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to a safe level.
The suit was filed with support of two Eugene groups, Our Children’s Trust and Wild Earth Advocates. A case summary issued by Our Children’s Trust states that the lawsuit “will put indisputable science about climate change squarely in front of the federal judiciary.”
Read more at The Register Guard

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bernie Sanders wants to break our dependence on fossil fuel

"One of my top priorities as US president will be to work with India, other countries, in breaking our dependence on fossil fuel," Bernie Sanders said. 
"I think the evidence is also out there that not only is climate change already causing devastating problems to this planet in terms of drought and flooding and extreme weather disturbances, if we do not transform our energy system, the situation will only become much worse, and obviously, it will impact human health," Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate said. 

"So one of my top priorities as president of the United States will be to have this country lead the world, work with China or India or Russia, other countries, in breaking our dependence on fossil fuel and moving to energy efficiency and wind, solar, geothermal and other," Sanders said during a conference call. 

Read more at:

Monday, August 10, 2015

The costs of climate change.

Plant Scherer, a coal-burning generator in Juliette, Ga., is ranked as the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation. (AP)

Writing in Sunday’s AJC, Dan Chapman and Greg Bluestein take a look at the climate-induced changes already underway along the Georgia coast and at the continuing sense of denial by the state’s political leadership:
“Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal, wouldn’t answer questions about the governor’s views on climate change. U.S. Sen. David Perdue, a Republican who lives on Sea Island, a barrier island threatened by rising seas, said “the scientific community is not in total agreement about whether mankind has been a contributing factor.”
As they report, a tidal gauge off Fort Pulaski near Tybee Island documents a sea-level rise of 11 inches over the past 80 years, with the pace accelerating since the 1990s. Should that trend continue, as scientists warn it will without effective action, most of the state’s barrier islands will disappear in the next century, as will much of the sea marsh that makes our coastal region so beautiful and so ecologically diverse and productive.
It’s true that, as Perdue puts it, “the scientific community is not in total agreement” about mankind’s role in those changes. However, “total agreement” strikes me as a peculiar standard for taking action. In most other policy areas, the overwhelming consensus of the acknowledged experts, augmented by the fact that since the 1980s that expert opinion has been validated by visible changes in the field, would be enough to push policymakers to take action, particularly when the potential consequences of doing nothing are so profound.
That’s certainly been the approach taken by the Obama administration. Under its new climate-change plan released earlier this month, Georgia will be required to take action by reducing carbon emissions from power plants by 25 percent over the next 15 years.
Read more at Jay Bookman's Blog

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here

Walruses, like these in Alaska, are being forced ashore in record numbers. Corey Accardo/NOAA/AP

Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El NiƱo forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.
On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public's attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted.

The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren't cut, "We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."

Read more:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SeaGas project - To Turn Seaweed Into Sustainable Energy.

Saccharina Latissima seaweed that is likely to be used as part of the SeaGas project

A North East organisation is spearheading a £2.78m research collaboration designed to strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in industrial biotechnology.
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in Redcar, Teesside, is at the helm of a consortium including Newcastle University experts, which will look at turning seaweed into sustainable energy, producing bio-methane from the organic matter through anaerobic digestion.
The ‘SeaGas’ study launched earlier this month and involves partners The Crown Estate, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Queen’s University Belfast and Newcastle University.
Together the partners aim to investigate how farmed seaweed could be used as an alternative to feed anaerobic digestion.
Traditionally, anaerobic digestion processes use food crops such as maize and beet, but the project aims to develop the alternative in order to limit the need to use prime food-growing agricultural land.
SeaGas will build a storage system to support a year-long anaerobic digestion operation which must allow for different types of seaweed and their availability.
Chapman Brown PhotographyEquipment from CPI anaerobic digestion facility at Wilton
Equipment from CPI anaerobic digestion facility at Wilton
It is hoped a supply chain can be developed after the technology is proven and experts working on the project will look at seaweed farming and biogas injection into the national grid.
Funding has come from the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst, which itself is funded by Innovate UK, the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Its remit is to support UK researchers and companies in working together to bring biotechnology innovations to market.
Steve Broome, head of business and projects – anaerobic digestion at CPI, said: ‘’This project brings together a powerful consortium that, for the first time ever, joins up the expertise and facilities needed to develop a methodology and commercial rationale for exploiting the UK’s seabed as a source of sustainable biomass and renewable energy.
“The idea could have remained stuck on paper – but support from the Catalyst has made this innovative and risky project possible.”
Merlin Goldman, lead technologist in high value manufacturing at Innovate UK, said: “The UK’s strength in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy is confirmed by this latest round of funded projects through the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst.”
Professor Mike Cowling, chief scientist at The Crown Estate, which funded the initial pilot study that led to the SeaGas project, added: “Innovate UK’s support for the SeaGas project is a significant vote of confidence in the planned research programme and the strength of the project consortium, led by CPI.
“It is particularly gratifying to see that the results of the initial pilot study have led to this exciting next stage investigation of the commercial viability of the production of bio-methane from seaweeds.”
Original story at ChronicalLive

Monday, August 3, 2015

Renewable Energy. Hillary Clinton and the 'New' New Deal.

Hillary Clinton

While I doubt that I will vote for her, Clinton does bring a very important issue to the table.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rolled out anambitious climate and energy proposal Sunday evening. She said, if elected president on day one she’d set two national goals—every American home will be powered by renewable energy by 2027 and more than half a billion solar panels will be installed across the country before the end of her first term.
“It’s hard to believe there are people running for president who still refuse to accept the settled science of climate change—who would rather remind us that they’re not scientists than listen to those that are,” Clinton said in a three-minute video posted to her website previewing the plan. She lists quotes from top GOP presidential candidates who refuse to listen to the 97 percent of climate scientists who say climate change is real and attributed to human activity.

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Original article at EcoWatch.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Germany is Number One in Renewable Energy

Germany’s transition from coal- and oil-fired power to carbon-free electricity hit a new milestone on July 25 when solarwind, and other sources of renewable energy met 78 percent of the day’s energy demand.
Germany gets much of its renewable energy from wind farms, including this one in a farmers’ field. Photo credit: Shutterstock

That beat the old record of 74 percent, made in May 2014, according to Craig Morris, a journalist who has covered Germany’s energy scene for more than a decade.
Helping set the record was an unusual weather pattern that brought heavy winds where most of the nation’s wind turbines are located. As the turbines generated more power, utilities ramped down coal- and gas-fired power plants.
But Morris found the power mix a few days earlier even more encouraging. During the night of July 22, even with darkness reducing solar output to zero and no big winds in the forecast, renewables—wind, biomass, and hydropower—generated nearly 25 percent of Germany’s electricity.
Morris found the energy data for both dates using an online tool sponsored by the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.
Germany’s experience shows that solar and wind can keep the lights on in a highly industrialized nation, said Osha Gray Davidson, author of Clean Break, a book about Germany’s transition to carbon-free energy. “The key indicator is percentage of electricity produced by different sources—28 percent of Germany’s electricity comes from renewables annually, which is pretty amazing for large industrialized country,” Davidson said.
Germany is a model for the U.S., he said, “because manufacturing accounts for much more of the German economy than the American economy and they have 80 million people—much larger than a country like Denmark, which gets more of its power from renewables but has a much smaller industrial base and has a population of five and a half million people.”
The U.S. currently gets around 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.