Daily Archives: February 26, 2013

City of Angels Will Dump Coal by 2025

Last February 17th, there was a big rally at the Los Angeles City Hall where people demanded action on climate change and an end to our reliance on fossil fuel. The city of Los Angeles gets 39% of its electricity from coal fired plants, so that would be hard.

But today, we’ve learned that “…Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be “signing papers” in the coming weeks that will wean L.A. from coal-fired power within 12 years.”

Apparently, the mayor made this announcement at a UCLA event discussing related issues, and it was a real jaw dropper, truly unexpected. This will require shutting down two coal plants.

Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Compfight cc

How the US Navy is Leading the Charge on Clean Energy and Climate Change

There will be a discussion on Climate Desk Live about this topic tomorrow, Feb 27th. Details and access to the event are HERE.

Increasingly, the US Navy is leading the charge towards clean energy, which can in turn impact national security an even climate change. Through investments in biofuels, construction of a more energy-efficient fleet, forward thinking about issues like rising sea levels and a melting Arctic, and commitments to reduce consumption and reliance on foreign oil, the Navy is leading the charge of a vast energy reform effort to “change the way the US military sails, flies, marches, and thinks.”

And here’s a fun, related video:


The Bloggies

Why does the science community shun the Bloggies?

I was shocked to discover that @bloggies is unaware of the reason that science blogs no longer participate in the contest. @bloggies noted: Prominent climate skeptic blogs tend to campaign for nominations, while other science blogs don’t seem to mention the Bloggies.

Storified by Greg Laden· Tue, Feb 26 2013 10:47:37

@gregladen I don’t know what the reason is myself.The Weblog Awards
.@Bloggies Maybe I’ll write a blog post about it and send you the link if you really don’t know. But really, you must know.Greg Laden
@gregladen Do you mean the reason that climate skeptics are attracted to the Bloggies, or the reason that other science blogs aren’t?The Weblog Awards
@Bloggies Both It isn’t just a matter of attraction or interest, but purpose and intent. Also, "other" is not the right word there.Greg Laden
@gregladen Prior winner history is the only reason I know. I don’t know why no sci bloggers mentioned the category when it was made in 2011.The Weblog Awards
.@Bloggies The science blogging community is fully aware of the situation and there has been commentary on it.Greg Laden
@Bloggies "Another year, another weblog contest duped" http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/02/18/207555/bizarro-world-bloggies-finalist-for-best-science-blog-is-anti-science-website-wattsupwiththat/Greg Laden
. @Bloggies "..the death of Science in America..the five candidates on the shortlist.. one rabid anti-science blog http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2012/02/another-sign-of-the-death-of-science-in-america/Greg Laden
.@Bloggies "Bizarro world ‘Bloggies’ finalist for Best Science Blog is … anti-science website" http://sierraactivist.org/2011/02/18/bizarro-world-%E2%80%98bloggies%E2%80%99-finalist-for-best-science-blog-is-%E2%80%A6-anti-science-website-wattsupwiththat/Greg Laden
.@Bloggies "Those that rouse or manufacture enough support, can engineer a win in the submitted category… 1/2Greg Laden
..resulting in awards for a blog that routinely misinforms on scientific subjects and even slanders scientists.” 2/2
.@Bloggies last two tweets from this source: http://climatecrocks.com/2012/01/25/climate-denial-and-manufacturing-legitimacy/Greg Laden
.@Bloggies "… I’d say this has gotten political." http://whateveresque.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=484Greg Laden
.@Bloggies You run a blog award w/a science category. Anti science activists took it over. No legit science bloggers want any part of it.Greg Laden
The Bloggies no longer serves the science blogging community.  If there intent was to do so, they need to change how they do things.  I would like to suggest the addition of a new category: Climate Skepticism. Put the climate science denialist blogs in that category and only valid science blogs in the science category.  That is the only way to regain interest from the science community short of simply banning the fake science blogs. 


Graphene: Big promise for new solar technologies

A big step in improving the efficiency of photovoltaic cells in on the horizon. A paper published over the weekend in Nature Physics describes the ability of a substance called Graphene to convert a high percentage of the energy from sunlight into electricity. Graphene uses more of each photon’s energy, and a wider range of photons of different energy levels (using a broad spectrum of the Sun’s energy), compared to existing solar cells. From the abstract of the paper:

The conversion of light into free electron–hole pairs constitutes the key process in the fields of photodetection and photovoltaics. The efficiency of this process depends on the competition of different relaxation pathways and can be greatly enhanced when photoexcited carriers do not lose energy as heat, but instead transfer their excess energy into the production of additional electron–hole pairs through carrier–carrier scattering processes. Here we use optical pump–terahertz probe measurements to probe different pathways contributing to the ultrafast energy relaxation of photoexcited carriers. Our results indicate that carrier–carrier scattering is highly efficient, prevailing over optical-phonon emission in a wide range of photon wavelengths and leading to the production of secondary hot electrons originating from the conduction band. As hot electrons in graphene can drive currents, multiple hot-carrier generation makes graphene a promising material for highly efficient broadband extraction of light energy into electronic degrees of freedom, enabling high-efficiency optoelectronic applications.

Peter Sinclair has summarized the info on Graphene and has links to various sources here.

K. J. Tielrooij,J. C. W. Song, S. A. Jensen, A. Centeno, A. Pesquera, A. Zurutuza Elorza, M. Bonn, L. S. Levitov & F. H. L. Koppens. Photoexcitation cascade and multiple hot-carrier generation in graphene. Nature Physics (2013) doi:10.1038/nphys2564. Source

Photo of solar cells credit: bkusler via Compfight cc

CO2 is plant food, right?

See Peter’s original post here, which also covers the recent alarming finding by NASA regarding Eastern US forests. EG, ” The warming climate this century has caused new stresses on trees, such as insect pest outbreaks and the introduction of new pathogens. Scientists consider both climate change and disease to be dominant driving forces in the health of forests in this region.”