Peter Sinclair has a post at Climate Denial Crock of the Week on Rick Perry’s apparent shift towards thinking climate change is for real. We recently saw a vote in the Senate that has most Senators admitting it is real, though very few Republicans admitted it is human caused. But a few did. One of the most conservative and traditional entities on the planet, The Vatican, is now telling us that not addressing climate change is immoral. Expect at least some US priests and bishops refusing communion to climate change deniers! (Maybe.) The National Hockey League recognizes global warming as a threat to their sport. Pipelines to transport fossil Carbon-based fuels are seen as less and less viable every day. Even utility bosses now routinely see renewable, clean, energy sources as a big part of the future, and the American Petroleum Institute sees anthropogenic global warming as a major threat to our future, which they acknowledge must be addressed by shifting away from … petroleum!
But I saw two other things: 1) A person who should be running for office just because of her ability to stay on message; and 2) a person who should be mayor or governor or something because she seems quite willing to push back against the constant, incremental, creep towards a police state every time some thing or another happens.
The Mojave Solar Project has been online and fully operational since December, but today, a grand opening ceremony celebrates this massive achievement. The plant uses advanced parabolic trough technology that has made the 280 MegaWatt plant one of the most innovative projects in the country and the second-largest plant of its kind in the world. Abengoa, owner of the Mojave Solar Project, is hosting a celebration
Car makers and dealers have to get with the program.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — The Missouri Automobile Dealers Association is suing the state revenue department for allowing electric car maker Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers rather than using a dealership as a middleman.
The car dealers, including Reuther Ford Inc. and Osage Industries Inc., filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court claiming the department violated state law by licensing the California-based manufacturer as a franchise.
Department of Revenue spokeswoman Michelle Gleba said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Car manufacturers typically provide cars to a franchised dealership to sell, but the department in 2013 licensed Tesla to sell its vehicles in a University City facility.
The lawsuit filed this week claims the department “created a non-level playing field where one entity — Tesla — is subject to preferential treatment and all bona fide dealers are discriminated against.”
Two interesting stories about racism in North America:
Ten former McDonald’s workers have sued it in the Virginia federal court for racial and sexual discrimination.
The suit alleges that some employees were fired from one franchise because there were “too many black people”.
It is being backed by a group campaigning for better wages for fast-food workers and the local Virginia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The mayor of Winnipeg was surrounded by indigenous people as he spoke to the press Thursday – the same day his city was declared the most racist in Canada.
“Ignorance, hatred, intolerance, racism exist everywhere,” Mayor Brian Bowman said, fighting back tears.
“Winnipeg has a responsibility right now to turn this ship around and change the way we all relate – aboriginal and non-aboriginal, Canadians alike from coast to coast to coast. … To do so, we have to shine a light on the problem we do have in Winnipeg, and the problem we share with communities across this nation, because without the light, we can’t see what we’re fighting.”
Since his inauguration in November 2014, Mayor Brian Bowman has been seen as a bridge builder.
He is Winnipeg’s first indigenous mayor, and is the first mayor to acknowledge in a speech (at his swearing-in ceremony and on Thursday) that Winnipeg was built on the traditional homeland of the Metis nation, who are descendents of indigenous people and European settlers.
This is crazy. I live, apparently, near one of these zones, and for several years lived right in the middle of one. No one ever told me to not “go”!!! Shouldn’t there be signs or something?
Anyway, now Paris may sue FOX over this:
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has said she plans to sue Fox News for a broadcast that described parts of the French capital as “no-go zones” for non-Muslims. But is it possible for a city to take out a libel action against a TV channel, asks Thomas Dahlhaus?
John Abraham recently quipped that we were going to run out of room on the y-Axis for displaying measurement of Ocean Heat Content. Aaron Huertas over at Union for Concerned Scientist quipped that it was like “Jaws” … “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” So I figured we should really have a bigger meme:
And, for completeness:
…he surge in domestic energy production — both fossil fuels and renewable electricity — is something nearly everyone can celebrate.
In terms of new investment activity and job creation, the solar industry has posted some of the best numbers in recent years. In 2014, new domestic solar jobs were added at a pace twenty times faster than the broader economy, bringing total jobs to 173,807. And a new solar installation is now being completed every two and a half minutes in the U.S., up from one every two hours a decade before.
Kansas City Power & Light Co. announced plans Tuesday to stop burning coal at three of its plants. The utility explained the move as one that reflects a commitment to sustainable energy and cost management.
The electric utility, a unit of Kansas City-based Great Plains Energy Inc. (NYSE: GXP), said it will stop burning coal in one unit at its Lake Road Station plant in St. Joseph, Mo., and at one unit at its Montrose Station plant in Clinton, Mo., by the end of 2016. It will stop using coal as a fuel at two units of its Sibley Station plant in Sibley, Mo., by the end of 2019 and at two units of the Montrose plant by the end of 2021.
Amazon Web Services to Use Wind Farm Power to Supply its Datacenters with Approximately 500,000 MWh of Power Annually
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 20, 2015– (NASDAQ:AMZN) — Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company, today announced that it has teamed with Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) to support the construction and operation of a 150 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Benton County, Indiana, called the Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge). This new wind farm is expected to start generating approximately 500,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind power annually as early as January 2016 – or the equivalent of that used by approximately 46,000 US homes1 in a year. The energy generated by Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will be used to help power both current and future AWS Cloud datacenters. For more information go to http://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/sustainable-energy/.
In November 2014, AWS shared its long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint. The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for AWS’s new Wind Farm is an important step toward that goal. AWS introduced its first carbon-neutral region – US West (Oregon) – in 2011. Today, AWS offers customers three AWS Regions that are carbon-neutral – US West (Oregon), EU (Frankfurt), and AWS GovCloud (US).
“Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will bring a new source of clean energy to the electric grid where we currently operate a large number of datacenters and have ongoing expansion plans to support our growing customer base,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services. “This PPA helps to increase the renewable energy used to power our infrastructure in the US and is one of many sustainability activities and renewable energy projects for powering our datacenters that we currently have in the works.”
Pattern Development is a leader in developing renewable energy and transmission assets with a long history in wind energy. Pattern Development’s CEO, Mike Garland said, “We are excited to be working with Amazon Web Services and we commend the Company for its commitment to sustainability and its continued pioneering and leadership in cloud computing. We look forward to working with AWS as it progresses towards its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy.”
Justin Gillis at the New York Times has this story:
Two charitable groups will spend $48 million over the next three years to help states figure out how to reduce emissions from electricity production, an effort to seize the possibilities that are opening up as the cost of clean power falls.
… Half the money will come from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization set up by Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, and half will come from Mark Heising and Elizabeth Simons, a California couple who have taken a strong interest in reducing the risks of climate change.
Climate Scientist Michael Mann, author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, gave a talk at Trinity College a couple of days ago on climate change and ethics. Just so you know, the Hockey Stick is a graph Mann and colleagues produced during the late 20th century showing how rapid recent global warming stands in stark contrast to previous centuries of climate change. The research itself has been repeatedly reconfirmed, refined, replicated, and verified, so it is for real. See, for example, this post by Stefan Rahmstorf.
Anyway, here’s the interview: Continue reading
A poll commissioned by the Center for American Progress on US citizen’s thought about energy has been released. The key findings are:
- Promoting the development of renewable energy sources is a leading item
on the public’s energy agenda, and five in nine voters want the federal
government to do more than it currently is to promote sources such as wind
and solar power.
- While voters support increased reliance on natural gas in the coming years, by a two-to-one margin they put a higher priority on protecting public lands
and natural places from overdevelopment than on opportunities for oil and
natural gas drilling on public lands.
- Two frames for setting energy policy have strong resonance with the public:
- A BALANCED energy policy that addresses energy independence while
better protecting public health, public lands, and clean drinking water;
- A CLEAN energy policy that promotes innovation and manufacturing
jobs while spending the transition to cleaner renewable forms of energy.
Both of these frames have stronger appeal than an “ALL OF THE ABOVE”
- Strengthening protections against pollution of drinking water and clean
- Permanently protecting special public lands for future generations.
leadership in Congress is expected to push that would weaken protection for drinking water and clean air, sell off some national forests or other public
lands, and allow drilling on highly valued recreation lands.
taxpayer subsidies of fossil fuel industries is a compelling frame against an
anti-environment, fossil fuels agenda in Congress.
Voters want the federal government to do more to promote both energy independence and renewable energy (keep in mind that for the most part, renewable energy leads to more independence): Continue reading
Brazil already has an iffy electrical grid, apparently, but very hot conditions are pushing it over the edge. Also, they had a small problem related to a nuclear plant (nothing nuclear, don’t worry). From Reuters:
ONS said it orchestrated 2,200 megawatts of controlled outages in eight states as the hottest day of the year in Sao Paulo, where the temperature hit 36.5 Celsius (97.7 Fahrenheit), and other southeastern cities led to surging demand from air conditioners and other power-hungry appliances.
Eletronuclear, a unit of state-run power company Eletrobras , said nuclear reactor Angra I powered down automatically at 2:49 p.m. local time (1649 GMT) due to a drop in frequency on the national grid. The company said there were no risks to workers or the environment due to the stoppage.
For the first time, ambient temperature in this part of Australia has been measured at just below 50 degrees above zero C. That is 122 degrees F. Hot.
This is near Shark Bay, which is already hot. So hot, normally, that the bay has a very high evaporation rate, causing the water to be very saline, too saline for snails to live, and thus, this is one of the only places in the world where you can find stromalites. This is also where the dolphins showed up one day to play with the humans, and continued to do this regularly. It became an important dolphin study site for that. Oh, and there are sharks. But I digress. The climate news from the area:
“It looks like we might get some 49s but with the observational network pretty sparse out there, it’s probably unlikely that we’ll actually observe a 50,” Mr Hicks said
Current modelling suggests the heat will linger in the region, extending the area of potential 50-degree condition to the Pilbara by Friday.
“The longer the air sits over the land, the more it heats up,” Mr Hicks said. “It just sits there and just bakes … Those poor buggers living out there tend to swelter for quite a few days in a row.”
Australia has recorded just three days of 50-degree heat since instruments were standardised nationally with the bureau’s formation in 1910. The most recent was on February 20, 1998, when the mercury hit 50.5 degrees in the Pilbara town of Mardie.
The bureau sparked international interest two years ago when it updated its weather charts to add temperature coding for both 50-52 degrees and 52-54 degrees.
Heat records are expected to continue to tumble as global warming pushes up background conditions, climate experts say.
But there is some good news.
A possible category-one cyclone forming off the Kimberley coast will help break up that region’s extreme heat if it pushes moisture and clouds into the Pilbara, Mr Duke said.
Here are a couple of helpful graphics looking at global warming in relation to ENSO events. During La Nina years, we expect the earth to cool(ish). During El Nino years we expect the earth to warm(ish). This pattern sort of cycles over several years, with neutral years in between (it isn’t a very regular cycle). The influences of the tropical Pacific, manifest as La Nina and El Nino periods is then, of course, superimposed over the longer term warming trend caused by increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Technically, 2014, which was the warmest year during the instrumental record beginning in the 19th century, was a neutral year, though there were some El Nino tendencies.
This graph, from Climate Central, helps show this relationship:
Dana Nuccitelli is the master of animated climate change graphs. He has produced a graph that shows the surface temperature record for only La Nina years, only El Nino years, and all the years together, in a way that makes the point. The original graphic can be found here, and further discussion of it can be found here. Here is the moving GIF … but if it doesn’t move for you go to one of the provided links and get to the original version.
NextGen Climate is putting an ad up, in at least some markets, during the State of the Union Address. Not sure how that works exactly. During halftime? Anyway, here it is:
A report in Science Nordic on artifacts melting out of ancient ice:
Mittens, shoes, weapons, walking sticks – lost in the high mountains of Norway thousands of years ago – are now emerging from melting ice.
…Among these were a horse skull and hiking staffs from the Viking Age. An arrow shaft found by the archaeologists is from the Stone Age.
An ancient route over the mountains once passed by the glacier where Lars Pilø and his colleagues conducted field work. People crossed the mountains with livestock, and went back and forth to their high summer farms – or simply travelled from one place to another. They have left a wide array of artefacts in their wake over the centuries, to the delight of 21st century archaeologists.
“We often find things associated with hunting. There are also ordinary objects such as mittens and shoes and the skeletons of horses that died on the trek across the mountains. This makes it a real thrill,” says Pilø.
Propellers are good for moving a boat through water, but they’re noisy and stress out marine animals, making them a suboptimal solution for a vessel trying to film a natural ecosystem. To solve the problem, scientists have built a four-finned robot that mimics the graceful swimming of a cuttlefish (seen above). New Scientist reports that the robot (named Sepios) is nearly silent and that its fins don’t get tangled in aquatic plants.
It is nice to know that the 97% consensus on climate change science is assumed to be a real thing by the leaders. This is John Kerry talking about climate change, in Peru.
He notes that scientists were telling us that climate change is real and already happening in 1988, and he notes that in Rio 1992, the UN Secretary General delcared that he was persuaded that we are on the road to tragedy. He mentioned the superstorm happening now on the West coast and says, “It’s become common place now to hear of record breaking weather events.”
Chris Mooney writing for the Washington Post has an article on “The 7 psychological reasons that are stopping us from acting on climate change”
When a gigantic threat is staring you in the face, and you can’t act upon it, it’s safe to assume there’s some sort of mental blockage happening. So what’s the hangup? That’s what a new report from ecoAmerica and the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute — entitled Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Change Communication — seeks to help us better understand.
The report is framed around communicating about climate change effectively — but read more closely and you’ll quickly see that the reason we need help here to begin with is that humans have some pesky attributes, ones that render us pretty poor at grappling with slow-moving, long-range, collective problems like climate change. So which traits are we talking about?
Ten Years of RealClimate
In the spring of 2004, when we (individually) first started talking to people about starting a blog on climate science, almost everyone thought it was a great idea, but very few thought it was something they should get involved in. Today, scientists communicating on social media is far more commonplace. On the occasion of our 10 year anniversary today it is worth reflecting on the impact of those changes, what we’ve learned and where we go next.
Why we started and why we continue
RealClimate is one of the more important climate science blogs out there. If you don’t know about it, you should!