Welcome to the Renewable Energy Renaissance — Fight to End Fossil Fuel Burning is Now On

Beneath the dark and growing cloud of human fossil fuel emissions there are a few carbon-free lights being kindled among all the black, coal-ash soot.

They’re the lights of a new renaissance. An unprecedented period of change for governments, the energy markets, and for individuals themselves. For we are all, whether we realize it or not, now embroiled in a struggle that will determine our own fates as well as that of our children and of all the generations to follow. For this renaissance is as much about liberation — the provision of clean energy choice as means to free ourselves from a wretched captivity to fossil fuel consumption — as it is about fighting to leave those very hothouse mass extinction fuels in the ground.

It’s a new kind of vital social unrest. A global struggle for justice on a scale not seen since at least the downfall of the slave trade. The battle lines have been drawn — in courtrooms, at ports, along pipelines, and on the train tracks, in the legislative offices of cities, states and in the halls of the federal government itself. We, as a civilization, are being divided into pro-renewable energy, pro-response to climate change, pro saving life on this Earth, and anti-renewable energy, anti-response, climate change denial factions. It is a disruptive, highly dangerous period of history. One we must successfully navigate if we are to survive as a modern civilization and, perhaps, as a species living on this Earth.

volcano-eruption

(The human carbon emission is now 150 times that of current volcanic activity. To achieve the same rate of emission from volcanoes, you would need a Siberian Flood Basalt equal to that which set off the Permian Mass Extinction — the worst hothouse extinction in Earth’s history — active on every continent on the face of the Earth. Image source: Human Activities Produce More Carbon Emissions Than Volcanoes.)

Given the crucial nature of what has now become an essential conflict over the fate of the Earth herself, it’s worth asking yourself the question — which side are you on? The darkness of climate change is upon us and the need to make such a choice could not be more clear or resonant.

Nevada Monopoly Fossil Fuels vs Solar Fight Goes National

An example of this struggle in microcosm took place during December through January of 2015 in Nevada. Emboldened by similar decisions in Arizona, monopoly utilities moved to protect their carbon-polluting infrastructures by pushing the state government (made up of a majority of republicans to include the governor — Sandoval) to impose restrictive fees on solar energy use throughout the state. Targeting rooftop solar energy systems, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUCN — also made up entirely of republicans) voted to, across the board, increase costs for rooftop solar users by both slashing incentives and imposing draconian fees. The decision negatively impacted 12,000 current solar customers using rooftop power to include families, schools and even public libraries.

Solar City, a leading solar energy provider in Nevada has since decided to completely remove its industry from the state. The decision came after this statement:

“[The PUC] has effectively shut down the rooftop-solar industry and taken the extraordinary step to punish over 12,000 existing solar customers, including schools, with exorbitant fees in what appears to be an attempt to protect the profits of the state’s largest utility. All three members of the PUC, who voted unanimously to change the rules, were appointed by Governor Sandoval.”

“Most disturbing is the PUC’s decision to retroactively sabotage existing solar customers’ investments by changing the rules on them. The Nevada government encouraged these people to go solar with financial incentives and pro-solar policies, and now the same government is punishing them for their decision with new costs they couldn’t have foreseen. These actions are certainly unethical, unprecedented, and possibly unlawful. While the rest of the country embraces a clean energy future, Nevada is moving backwards.”

Nevada Pro Solar Protesters

(Solar energy supporters protest Nevada’s draconian solar fees in a January 13 action outside the PUC headquarters. Under the initial ruling even existing solar users would have been penalized. Now a new ‘compromise’ offered by PUC will ‘only’ provide a severe disincentive for pretty much every other Nevada resident to adopt solar energy for their home or business. Image source: Ecowatch.)

Nevada’s PUC decision smacks of a monopoly power generation protection scheme. One that has made it impossible for solar installers to operate in the state. As result, Nevada’s two other top solar installers (Vivint and Sunrun) have now followed Solar City’s example and decided to halt operations in Nevada. The jobs impact from just these three solar providers closing shop is a net loss of 6,000. But with hundreds of small solar installers active in Nevada before the ruling, the economic and environmental damage is likely to be ongoing and long-term.

As Vox noted on January 20th:

For the state’s monopoly utility, it’s a successful attempt to avoid competition. For the well-funded conservative groups fighting the spread of solar around the country, it’s the first decisive victory. For most Nevadans, however, it represents an own goal, a senseless act of self-sabotage.

But what happens in Nevada, apparently, doesn’t really end up staying in Nevada. After Harry Reid, a Nevada Senator, questioned the decision’s legality, national voices began to take up the cause as well. Hillary Clinton spoke out against the decision. Bernie Sanders — running a strong challenge to Hillary in this year’s democratic nomination campaign — noted that the PUC board’s decision was “the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” Martin O’Malley, also a democratic presidential candidate, implied that the decision was an intentional ‘sabotage’ of the solar energy industry.

PUCN has since offered to ‘grandfather’ in existing solar users. But the war to stop rooftop solar growth by this fossil fuel powered utility appears to have jumped back into Arizona where another large utility is seeking to impose similar exorbitant fees.

26 Red States Appeal Supreme Court to Rule on Clean Power Plan

As if Nevada’s war against rooftop solar industry within its own state wasn’t bad enough, a group of 26 states currently governed by fossil fuel industry funded republicans are now submitting a Supreme Court challenge to Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The group has re-stated the now typical and jaded republican claim that the EPA doesn’t retain the legal authority to regulate carbon emissions. The new claim is predicated on the statement that EPA will force fossil fuels out of business, stating that the federal government does not retain the authority to effectively ban the use of a particular set of fuels.

It’s a convoluted appeal that smacks of past states rights arguments regarding every kind of dangerous, toxic or nefarious trade from slavery, to firearms, to tobacco. The appeal letter demands an ‘immediate stay’ on the Clean Power Plan (a cessation of implementation). It seeks to sanctify as ‘legal right’ the ability of coal plants to remain open and to continue pollution. It attacks federal government decisions that would support renewable energy as a solution to climate change (without using the words climate change once in the document, which itself required a supreme manipulation of legalese to achieve). And it uses language that implies state policy directives and goals supersede those of the federal government.

UCS-Clean-Power-Plan-costs-and-benefits

(According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the benefits of the Clean Power Plan far outweigh the costs. The fossil fuel industry and their political allies don’t want you to know this basic fact. Image source: The Union of Concerned Scientists.)

The appeal holds up as evidence the fact that numerous coal plants will be forced to close during 2016 as states attempt to come into compliance with the Clean Power Plan. Plants the republicans are seeking to keep open for their industry sponsors. Plants whose emissions republicans continue to fight to lock in.

The statement is, in essence, an attempt to make an end run around the typical court appeals process which will take months. Such a delay would force states, by law, to move to comply with the EPA standard before any Supreme Court ruling. An action that smacks of desperation on the part of the fossil fuel industry and its backers.

We should be very clear — any effective action on climate change will require that fossil fuel generating power plants be closed down early. That they will not be permitted to emit their toxic, hothouse extinction forcing, gasses into the atmosphere on and on into the coming decades. This is a moral decision that is as necessary for the survival of human civilizations as it for many of the innocent creatures now living on our planet. The authors of the above letter know this, which is why the language is crafted in such a way as to attack the very rational underpinnings of that understanding.

New Study Says US Can Go 100 Percent Renewables Without Nuclear

As the fossil fuel industry fights through all its various political agents to retain dominance and not lose ground against a burgeoning renewable energy sector and an environmental movement morally compelled to reduce harm by preventing the worst impacts of human-caused climate change from being realized, a new study released today provides still more hope for a rapid transition away from a horribly damaging dumping of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that existing technologies including upgraded powerlines connected to wind and solar energy power stations across the US could provide 80 percent of the electricity for the United States by 2030. The upgraded power lines would link the various regional power sectors in the US. In turn, these sectors would share renewable energy across the entire grid structure of the United States. Such sharing would vastly reduce the intermittency of renewable energy without the need for large-scale energy storage systems. A windstorm in Kansas could thus provide electricity to Gulf Coast residents sitting in still air. Sunlight falling at dawn in DC could, in a similar way, power street lamps during the dark of still night in LA.

The study authors note:

Carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation are a major cause of anthropogenic climate change. The deployment of wind and solar power reduces these emissions, but is subject to the variability of the weather. In the present study, we calculate the … configuration of variable electrical power generators using weather data with high spatial … resolution over the contiguous US. Our results show that when using future anticipated costs for wind and solar, carbon dioxide emissions from the US electricity sector can be reduced by up to 80% relative to 1990 levels, without an increase in the levelized cost of electricity. The reductions are possible with current technologies and without electrical storage. Wind and solar power increase their share of electricity production as the system grows to encompass large-scale weather patterns. This reduction in carbon emissions is achieved by moving away from a regionally divided electricity sector to a national system enabled by high-voltage direct-current transmission (emphasis added).

The reason why large grid structures able to efficiently transport  renewable energy from individually modular and intermittent systems works is due to the fact that there’s always wind blowing or sun shining somewhere on the Earth. The more inter-connected and efficient the grid, the more it is enabled to tap and move this energy from place to place and greatly, overall, reduce the intermittency of wind and solar for the entire structure.

It’s worth noting that such a system would radically alter current power generating and distribution structures. US utilities would tend to shift more from power providers to grid operators — electrical power middle-men that move energy from distributed power sources to far-flung customers.

Renewable Energy Projected to Dominate Electricity Markets by 2030

But not only is renewable energy advancing as a result of scientific viability studies, these sources of non-carbon-based power, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), are poised to leap into positions of market dominance over the next 25 years. The report, cited by Joe Romm today and published by IEA in November, indicates that renewables will produce more than 50 percent of the world’s electricity by 2030 and will have leapt into a position of significant dominance by 2040.

IEA Power by Source 2030

(Renewables shown as dominating the electrical power market by 2040 in this IEA graph.)

Disturbingly, IEA also notes a continued growth in the consumption of coal and gas. So if the IEA report is correct, carbon emissions for the power sector would continue to increase through 2040, which would be a bad outcome for the world’s climate and for life on Earth. Specifically, it would put us on a path toward around 2.7 C warming this Century and about 5-6 C warming long term — which would be about enough to push CO2 levels above 550 ppm and melt most or all of the ice on planet Earth should such high greenhouse gas concentrations be maintained.

However, Joe Romm finds some cause for optimism. Joe notes that China’s coal emissions may have peaked in 2013 and that China is rapidly adding renewable energy capacity. According to Climate Progress:

… this projection is not what would happen if the nations of world pursued the kind of aggressive policies they unanimously agreed to in Paris to avoid very dangerous warming and stay below total warming of 2°C. That would effectively end fossil fuel emissions by 2100. Indeed, the IEA forecast does not fully take into account what now appears to be an unexpectedly rapid shift away from coal in China. As a result, in its chart, coal power generation increases substantially by 2040. …. Goldman Sachs, for one, believes global coal consumption for power generation peaked by in 2013.

The IEA itself notes that one of its key assumptions may be too conservative: “China is becoming the wild card of coal markets, with the risks to our projection of a plateau and then a slow decline in coal demand arguably weighted to the downside.” I think the plateau and slow decline scenario was plausible a year ago, but China’s coal consumption dropped nearly 3 percent in 2014, at least 5 percent in 2015, and one analyst in Beijing projected recently, “coal consumption will drop by between 2.5 percent and 3 percent in 2016.” Beijing keeps adding new policies to slash coal use, as detailed in a major analysis last month from the Center for American Progress, which concluded “Chinese coal consumption enters downward spiral.”

If Joe’s correct, then it appears that the entire fossil fuel based electricity industry is now in a fight for its life. One it must inevitably lose for so many of the rest of us and of much of life here on Earth to survive. So when you hear talk coming from state regulators about coal industry losses, preserving rates and markets, or preventing coal and gas plants from being shut down, you should remember — there’s a critical choice being made here. One to cut off the short term prosperity of the fossil fuel special interests to prevent centuries upon centuries of devastation, death and pain here on Earth for future generations and for the entirety of the natural world. And it’s for this reason that we must make the entirely moral choice to send coal, gas and oil on its way. To leave these fuels from hell where they belong — in the ground.

We certainly do not need these toxic hothouse fuels and we can most certainly survive without them. In fact, our future survival and opportunities for future prosperity absolutely depend on the cessation of their burning, and soon.

Links:

Solar City Stopping Sales, Installations After PUC Ruling

Nevada’s Strange Decision to Throttle its Own Solar Industry

26 Republican Led States Challenge Clean Power Plan

Support 350.org

Future Cost-Competitive Energy Systems and Their Impact on CO2 Emissions

Better Power Lines Would Help the US Supercharge Renewable Energy

World Energy Outlook 2015

By 2030, Renewables Will be the World’s Primary Energy Source

Hat tip to Scott

 

 

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112 Comments

    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 28, 2016

      todaysguestis

      I found a post on this site that i added last thread. This thing is really rather good.
      Thanks for this.

      Reply
  1. Doing what’s right, without expectations regarding outcomes is the highest form of action.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  2. PlazaRed

     /  January 27, 2016

    Thank you Robert for this highly complex and informative blog heading, info of what can be done.
    I am cheered to hear over the last week of changes in lifestyles throughout the American north west including the abandonment of cars transport and the use of public transport among many of the young people of the area.
    Hopefully, we, or in my case the big “I” will be among the last to have indulged in fossil driven transport.
    Meanwhile I an working on a 3rd property project of solar power systems to get yet another property off the power grid. Soon I hope to have all the properties in my control 100% solar powered and fossil use free.
    I see the big challenge now in the established 1st world markets who have to yet learn that the changes in climate will affect them as well as everybody else on the planet.
    The environmental education of these people will be one of the greatest challenges of our coming decades.

    A foreseeable possibly short term problem with fossil fuel use, is the noticeable massive increase of private car use in my area, brought upon by the huge reduction in the price of gasoline and diesel due to world oil markets. This is a major concern now as prices of fuels are dropping!

    Reply
  3. I recently found your blog and am finding it most educational, thank you! I was only wondering the other day how CO2 emissions from volcanos compare versus human based emissions, so that clears that one up. Also wondering what the impact will be of greenhouse gas emissions from Arctic permafrost melting, releasing more CO2 and methane; will this further increase the pace of climate change, sea level rises etc? Pondering how long we really have left before we see even more significant changes, and whether it’s too late to avert these, in the short term at least, because we’ve crossed a tipping point. I think you’re right, the battle lines between greed and selfishness, versus survival, have been drawn. Read a blog the other day which used the phrase ‘challenge our sense of entitlement’; think the human race needs to pause, take a deep breath, think a bit, and do this. Thanks again.

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  January 27, 2016

    My Head is Spinning

    Indeed, my head is spinning. The big blizzard, the temperature in 2015, and another really warm air outbreak in the North Pole. Not to mention, that I got a couple of very interesting emails at what I planned for the end of my ExxonMobil blogs, so I seem to have another one of those fomenting. It’s all the warmy-coldy, floody-droughty, carbon-dioxide denying, solar flary, lead tastes sweet, apocalypty, head-spinning blues.

    This is perhaps my way of saying; I don’t have much going on this week.

    Dr. Ricky Rood

    Reply
  5. redskylite

     /  January 28, 2016

    Thanks for that detailed narrative on the renaissance, a glimmer of hope that more and more people are realizing the havoc that burning fossils has created, and we desperately need a new model for energy.

    There are stories of renewable innovations and developments daily, and that gives me hope that we can pull ourselves clear of the dangers lurking, in time.

    It cheers me that things are moving along in parts of the world and COP21 has made a mark . . .

    The Guardian . .

    One month after the Paris climate agreement, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, told business leaders they needed to act decisively to hasten the transition away from the fossil fuel economy – or they would put the historic accord in jeopardy.

    “I call on the investor community to build on the strong momentum from Paris and seize the opportunities for clean energy growth,” Ban told a UN investors’ meeting in prepared remarks. “I challenge investors to double – at a minimum – their clean energy investments by 2020.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/27/un-urges-business-leaders-to-double-investment-in-green-energy-by-2020

    Reply
  6. redskylite

     /  January 28, 2016

    A big bank in the U.A.E heeding the call and investing money across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. (albeit largly gained from fossil fuel exploitation – that’s poetic justice).

    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/01/27/uae-to-open-10bn-green-credit-line-in-gulf-first/

    Reply
  7. Cate

     /  January 28, 2016

    I look at flightradar24 and I wonder what is going to fuel all those planes. My brother, an air traffic controller at Gander, Newfoundland, which looks after all North Atlantic traffic, remarked that they have seen air travel has grow exponentially in the past 10 years. He said, “The whole world is on the move.” People now see the world as their playground and tick off their bucket lists of exotic destinations. How is all this travel to become sustainable?.

    Reply
    • So let’s put this bit into context. Air travel currently represents about 3 percent of global carbon emissions. But its growth is certainly a matter of concern. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce net carbon emissions from air travel including biofuels, hydrogen powered aircraft, lightweight batteries, and electric engines. Lighter than air airframes are also a potential solution. Though innovations for switching air travel to zero carbon solutions are among the least available currently, we can certainly provide incentive structures that push air travel in that direction.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  January 28, 2016

        Ah, thank you for the context. 3 percent seems low—I thought flight emissions would amount to more than that. Good if it’s only that much, though.🙂

        Reply
        • Actually, it’s around 750 million tons of CO2 each year, which is closer to 2 percent. For reference total global CO2 emissions were 36 billion tons in 2013. Please see: http://www.atag.org/facts-and-figures.html

          It’s a problem. But the center of gravity is in power plant and ground transportation emissions. The growth rate is troubling. But we do have alternatives including advanced biofuels and the other options listed above.

      • – When speaking of ‘air’ travel and FF etc. one should also factor in the amount of collateral emissions etc in the vicinity of any major airport (truck traffic, vendors for the food courts etc.– and the static traffic jams that are the parking lots are places no human respiratory system should suffer.

        Remember too the acres of heat absorbing (urban heat islands) from the black asphalt.
        All for ‘air’ travel.

        At base, these aircraft generally are dependent upon carrying their own fuel, combustion sparks etc. and oxygen just make the stuff burn on command. Something like that.

        – Sidenote: ‘civil’ aviation (small planes, helicopters etc) are the major source of airborne and deposited lead which severely impacts the local community.

        Heathrow UK: (I believe.)
        – dailymail.co.uk

        Reply
      • (trying this again, because I’m not sure if my previous attempt went through…)

        I love the idea of lighter than air flight, especially the hybrid airships that are now being developed. Lockheed Martin has one coming out, hybridairvehicles does too, and there’s solarship for solar powered air flight for really remote places. I keep putting them in my paintings (eg. http://www.marcelguldemond.com/Artwork/DetailsSeries/904/coastal ) because I think if we ever get to large scale deployment of them and replacement of jet travel, it’ll mean that we’re more likely to survive climate change.

        The hybrid ones have a lot of advantages. They might not go as fast as a jet, but they can go anywhere, use much less fuel, or even be electric propelled, and are much more maneuverable then traditional blimps, so they can land much more easily and safely.

        Reply
      • Joni Grady

         /  January 28, 2016

        But jet travel puts its emissions into the stratosphere and is therefore more damaging, right? I remember hearing Trenberth say he’d quit flying for that reason.

        Reply
      • Griffin

         /  January 28, 2016

        Great discussion here. I would like to toss in a bit of good news regarding aviation and emissions reduction. At least Sea-Tac is on the right path!
        http://boeing.mediaroom.com/Port-of-Seattle-Partners-with-Alaska-Airlines-and-Boeing-on-Plan-to-Supply-Sustainable-Aviation-Biofuel-at-Sea-Tac-Airport

        Reply
      • I’ve always had this fanciful notion of lighter than air craft that use high strength sails to ply the upper level winds.

        Reply
        • Well your problem with that is that it’s the interaction between the two fluids that keeps a sail boat moving – you couldn’t sail a lighter than air craft on that basis. The keel in the water resists lateral motion, ensuring the sail boat moves forwards even when the lift force from the sail is mostly pulling in quite a different direction (which of course is why you heel over most when close hauled, and move fastest when reaching with the wind off to the side).

          However, I think lighter than air has potential in terms of picking your routes vs prevailing winds, and one suspects solar cell technology would get to the point of being viable here (just needs to be cheap and light/thin enough to paint onto the craft, plenty of surface area).

          My point really was that while it’s nice to be able to flit around the planet, it’s a relatively recent thing in human history for it so be so easy – and sailing (or other slower modes of transport) keep a lot more adventure in the journey (sure, I’m biased a bit).

          Not that I’m averse to a little fanciful speculation, and besides, if we were an intelligent species at the same time as solving our long range transport desires we’d consider the rise of AI and robotics and decreasing need for human labour and rework our society to grant us better lives in the process (ie why hurry if one needn’t work so much?).

          I’d like to think even if we fail this time around, all these questions and problems can be solved the next pass. We have all the technology we need right now – and a lot of the stuff we merely want…

    • redskylite

       /  January 28, 2016

      I know NASA are working on it and there are advanced and tested biofuels. Personally I would guess that hydrogen may have a big part to play, but that is just speculation on my part. We are a long way off from eliminating carbon in air travel. But it needs addressing as it does with ocean bound transport too. So much to change and do, fossil fuel is ingrained in our ways of thinking. Pity we didn’t start of few decades earlier.

      Researchers Advance Propulsion Toward Low-Carbon Aircraft (Jan-6-2016)

      https://www.nasa.gov/feature/researchers-advance-propulsion-toward-low-carbon-aircraft

      Reply
  8. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    The Zika virus was first detected in Brazil last April. It’s transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito, which also carries dengue, chikungunya and the West Nile virus.

    This puts 200 million Americans at risk, and with climate change , that number is sure to grow.
    More standing water, longer breeding seasons. more optimal breeding temperatures, less cold to kill off over wintering populations.
    And I can’t help but to think that viruses are going to change as well, finding new vectors, responding to these new opportunities.

    It’s the very small things that are making the jump to a new warmer world.

    This is like watching a pop corn machine. At first it’s one or three , after that we’re off to the races. It’s like watching the crash of the moose populations as the ticks gained the upper hand. And bled them dry in winter. Except this round we’re the moose, and it’s babies being born with heads that look papayas.

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 28, 2016

      Must be very frightening for women who are pregnant and vulnerable, I’m amazed at the growing countries to avoid list.

      Countries with a travel warning:

      Barbados
      Bolivia
      Brazil
      Cape Verde
      Colombia
      Ecuador
      El Salvador
      French Guiana
      Guadeloupe
      Guatemala
      Guyana
      Haiti
      Honduras
      Martinique
      Mexico
      Panama
      Paraguay
      Puerto Rico
      Saint Martin
      Samoa
      Suriname
      Venezuela

      Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/zika-virus-prompts-travel-warning-for-kiwis-2016012416#ixzz3yUnOeK8M

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 28, 2016

        This is a very very big deal. Because the images of those children in Brazil are not a pretty picture. People will recoil at the sight of them. The Olympics, Caribbean vacations, every trip to the hot zone is under review.

        This a real spanner in that “free trade utopia” , we built in the 1990’s.

        And unlike the Ebola , the vector is an insect, and we don’t get to control them . They do what they please.

        It’s the tiny things.

        Reply
    • Caroline

       /  January 28, 2016

      Great post C.B.! It IS similar to watching a popcorn machine . . . . and the moose/ticks (which is another heartbreaker)
      This is all over the news but of course few bring in the link of AGW to an increase in vector borne diseases.
      From http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/01/27/usa-needs-prepare-zika-virus/79398622/:
      “The Olympics will be a perfect dissemination vehicle for Zika, as people from all over the world will converge in Brazil and then return to their home countries, which might also harbor Aedes mosquitoes,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the Center for Health Security at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.”

      I fear the spread will be rapid and intense prior even without the acceleration from the Olympics. Lot of talk about use of genetically modified mosquitoes and massive fumigation. More extreme alteration of ecosystems by humans . . . .

      Reply
    • Almost all people underestimate the degree of change coming in the future for sure. Almost all also pitch their efforts lower than even their own understanding of what is needed.

      In the long run though, with a crash in human population, I think most of these things will be little more than blips. The ecosystem – humans included – will adjust and settle to equilibrium (whatever is left, even if it’s only “disaster taxa” by then).

      Reply
      • – Heat (anthropogenic) and water vapor produce a warm moist medium where growth is dominant. A global petri’ dish.
        More will come with latitudinal warming.
        Thanks, Bob for the added perspectives.

        Reply
        • I don’t agree. The future of our planet is ultimately mostly desert on the current trajectory. Barren lands and oceans, save for habitable refuges in certain areas. Just because the atmosphere can hold more water vapour doesn’t automatically make the land on average wetter (even though precipitation extremes are increasing).

          To get there, however, we’re going to go through a transitional period where all bets are off – and chaos and the unexpected is the only norm, I daresay. With these changes in motion not only do the human drivers need removed (likely by mass mortality) but natural feedbacks also need to complete and the system reach equilibrium – we’re likely looking at centuries for that at the least.

          Part of the problem is – people tend to project climate change onto the world that they know – but past a point – it’s literally a whole new world we should expect (and largely, I note, a rather hostile one).

        • Overall, rates of precipitation increase through about 7 to 8 C concordant with evaporation. So you get more drought and more flood together. After that, evaporation starts to win out. That’s when you really get into mass desertification.

          It’s worth noting that the desertification pressure starts to heavily take hold in the tropics and at the center of continents first. Rainfall increases toward the poles. Eventually, you get this belt of expanding deserts around the Equator in the Continental regions. Huge storms roaring through the tropics punctuates this a bit.

        • One problem being that more flood will tend to mean more water running off the land straight to the sea again (with a raft of attendant issues) – so will the total water availability necessarily increase?

          I’d also argue precipitation of that nature isn’t incompatible with desert (or something pretty similar biodiversity wise), if it rains torrentially infrequently and is baked dry the rest of the time. It strikes me the amount of land surface that will remain within familiar norms (for most of us) will substantially diminish, however you look at it.

          Speculatively, I’d wonder what happens if the existing three cell mode of atmospheric circulation breaks down, as that to me would imply tremendous change in the existing distribution of rainfall too.

          Granted, I’m looking a long way ahead, and assuming natural feedbacks ultimately carry us much further than the greenhouse gases we’ve emitted thus far imply.

  9. We just used the last of the credits we generated since the installation in June. The snow melted off yesterday and we’re generating now but we’re watching to see when we’ll be producing more than we use again. We don’t think the rooftop revolution will change the course of events but it makes us feel less helpless, less culpable.

    http://ontwoacresintown.blogspot.com/2015/06/no-going-back.html

    Reply
    • climatehawk1

       /  January 28, 2016

      Nice work! At some point, a price for carbon will kick in and you will be happy to avoid it, but until society gets off its butt, important to do whatever you can, right down to the clotheslines and drying racks we use.

      Reply
  10. Andy in SD

     /  January 28, 2016
    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    Reply
  12. It’s not just “Nevada moving backwards” – it’s the entire Republican party. Their blind hatred for a habitable world for ALL living things is evident in everything that they do. It’s not just their asinine attacks upon science and scientists, it’s their complete lack of common sense and acceptance of reality that really pisses me off. Most of this hatred stems from their wholesale embrace of superstitions and fears and the near-total lack of understanding of how the real world works (imo). They dangerously stupid. They need to be removed from any of the levers of power, large and small before they absolutely wreck the planet and any chance of human survival. It may already be too late.

    Reply
    • John McCormick

       /  January 28, 2016

      J.R., the crossroads we, in America, face is less about a renewable energy renaissance and more about how we are going to be governed through this tragedy on the horizon. Americans millennials number about 80 million. That is the voting block that has the means to elect only legislators committed to protecting them.

      VOTENVIRON should become a national crusade leading up to the November elections. I see no other way to win back our nation from the sociopaths.

      Reply
    • Caroline

       /  January 28, 2016

      http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/noam_chomsky_calls_gop_a_danger_to_human_survival_gives_20160126

      Good piece but I have a bone to pick with the last words of this sentence at end of article:

      “Chomsky called Bernie Sanders a “New Dealer” who supports the best policies of the Democratic presidential candidates but said that Sanders could not win, as U.S. elections are “mainly bought.” Chomsky is convinced B.Sanders cannot win”

      I believe he can win. But as Sanders says repeatedly, it’s not about him “winning”—–it is about a movement.

      There is a movement underway unlike anything I’ve ever seen before (and I’ve been very cynical over the past few decades) . . . . this is NOT the “hope/change” Obama touted. It is not about Sanders as savior, it is about massive participation with Sanders as catalyst and/or a conduit for the people. My teen daughter will be voting for the first time—–it’s amazing what is underway with the young (and old!)

      Reply
  13. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    ” The world cracked , and fell on me “

    A 15 year-old boy in Nepal last spring .

    Himalayan Megaquake

    Reply
  14. wili

     /  January 28, 2016

    And yet in the land of the infathomably idiotic: http://overpassesforamerica.com/?p=8637
    “IN 50-49 VOTE SENATE, DECLARES CLIMATE CHANGE NOT CAUSED BY HUMANS”

    (No, not new, but still incomprehensibly idiotic. The rest of the world must just sit back in awe at our utter benightedness.)

    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    ” The world cracked , and fell on me “

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    The Rolling Stones To Reactivate Next Week.

    England’s Newest Hit Makers.

    Not Fade Away

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 28, 2016

      My father saw the slip cover of this 45. He said –

      “I bet they to have to swat to pee”.

      Now they go on tour? It’s 52 years later.

      Anything is possible. .

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 28, 2016

      Amazing, I first saw them in 1965 (51 years ago) at Leicester’s Trocadero Theatre, with Goldie and the Gingerbreads and Dave Berry and the Cruisers, they were great then and still going strong today. Unfortunately the theatre burnt down two years later, also a spectacle, that attracted as many as the show itself.

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  January 28, 2016

        I’ve just seen that Dave Berry is still performing concerts too . . must be something in the water..

        Reply
      • redskylite

         /  January 28, 2016

        Dave Berry – This Strange Effect

        Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    Blind Faith Can’t find My Way Home

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    I don’t give rat’s ass tonight.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  January 28, 2016

      Maurice Ravel BOLERO – Wiener Philharmonic

      Reply
    • 🙂 “… rat’s ass ”

      Years ago I formed a band (very short lived) called Major Kong (a’ la ‘Dr. Strangelove’).
      The first album (never made) was to be titled ‘Rat Sass’ — you know, a rebellious lippy rodent.
      Really…🙂

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  January 28, 2016

        If you had just gone with ” A Rat’s Fuzzy Butt:”, you’d be a big star now.

        Reply
    • Wharf Rat

       /  January 28, 2016

      Rat’s ass ain’t yours to give.
      Rat

      Reply
  19. Jeremy

     /  January 28, 2016

    “But that capital is starting to flow, with Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reporting earlier this year that clean energy investment hit a record high in 2015—despite “influences that might have been expected to restrain it,” such as the plunge in fossil fuel commodity prices.

    And a report released Wednesday by Ceres and BNEF, timed to coincide with the investor summit, suggests that renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are “poised for a take-off due to declining costs that often make them fully competitive with fossil fuels, even without subsidies.”

    http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/01/27/writing-wall-fossil-fuels-renewables-poised-take

    Reply
  20. – Trump underwater:

    Maps show how sea-level rise will swallow Trump’s properties

    Oh, the irony. Observe the following GIF, which illustrates how one of Donald “Donnie Boy” Trump’s properties will be affected by rising sea levels in South Florida. The map is part of a great series BuzzFeed created with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [Best to link to article w/ gif rather than clutter RS uncontrollable gif.]
    https://grist.org/climate-energy/maps-show-how-sea-level-rise-will-swallow-trumps-properties/

    Reply
  21. Mayo Clinic (2 min.)
    Published on Jan 27, 2016
    Pritish Tosh, M.D., Infectious Diseases, discusses the Zika virus.

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  January 29, 2016

      Thanks for sharing, shared on my FB page, people must be alerted

      Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  January 28, 2016

    They’ve called each other names. They’ve mocked, belittled, skewered and slimed.

    And now that oddest of couples — Donald Trump and Fox News — is engaged in a tit-for-tat feud like none seen in the annals of modern American politics.

    But Hillary better look out.

    Reply
  23. – The thoroughness and the quickness of the devastation is beyond words.
    – The Guardian Via a climatehawk1 tweet:

    World heritage forests burn as global tragedy unfolds in Tasmania

    ‘Devastating’ long-term prognosis for ancient Gondwana ecosystem as bushfires turn trees more than 1,000 years old to tinder

    A global tragedy is unfolding in Tasmania. World heritage forests are burning; 1,000-year-old trees and the hoary peat beneath are reduced to char.

    Fires have already taken stands of king billy and pencil pine – the last remaining fragments of an ecosystem that once spread across the supercontinent of Gondwana. Pockets of Australia’s only winter deciduous tree, the beloved nothofagus – whose direct kin shade the sides of the South American Andes – are now just a wind change away from eternity.

    Unlike Australia’s eucalyptus forests, which use fire to regenerate, these plants have not evolved to live within the natural cycle of conflagration and renewal. If burned, they die.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/27/world-heritage-forests-burn-as-global-tragedy-unfolds-in-tasmania

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  January 28, 2016

      This is a microcosm of our situation in general. We are burning our world down, and taking priceless, ancient and wondrous miracles of the nature with us.

      Reply
  24. – Air pollution and the heart;
    – Utah, also where Dr. Brian Moench is located.
    – (Oh, and Bobby Redford’s ‘Sundance Film Festival’ is situated just above the area smog belt.)

    Worst Kind of Heart Attack Linked to Air Pollution, Experts Say

    MURRAY, Utah (GOOD 4 Utah)- Medical experts from Intermountain Medical Center met Wednesday morning to discuss recent findings linking increased short term air pollution in the Beehive state to serious health problems.

    “It primarily effects the worst kind of heart attack, which is STEMI heart attack, where there is a very severe affect on specific vessels of the heart that can cause the major pumping chamber to stop,” said Dr. Benjamin Horne, Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

    Dr. Horne and a team of medical experts have been studying air pollution and health along the Wasatch Front for over a decade.
    http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/worst-kind-of-heart-attack-linked-to-air-pollution-experts-say

    Reply
    • Short‐Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution Is Preferentially Associated With the Risk of ST‐Segment Elevation Acute Coronary Events

      Abstract

      Background Air pollution is associated with greater cardiovascular event risk, but the types of events and specific persons at risk remain unknown. This analysis evaluates effects of short‐term exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution with risk of acute coronary syndrome events, including ST‐segment elevation myocardial infarction, non–ST‐segment elevation myocardial infarction, unstable angina, and non–ST‐segment elevation acute coronary.
      http://m.jaha.ahajournals.org/content/4/12/e002506.short

      Reply
    • Caroline

       /  January 28, 2016

      Hi Dt,
      Any questions for Dr. Moench? He will be discussing vector borne diseases/climate change and more on our community radio station tomorrow morning ( ET 1/29 @8:30)? Did you mention on a previous thread that you know him?
      Caroline

      Reply
  25. – N
    – With USA being a big driver for China’s N via FF exports and as a driver of China’s consumption.

    International trade triggering nitrogen pollution: Study

    EHRADUN: In the first ever global Nitrogen footprint study, China (20%) has been identified as world’s top nitrogen emitting country followed by India (11%). Both the nations have been tagged as Net Exporters which means that the total nitrogen emissions are higher for their exports than their imports.

    Due to high emission, China and India both bear higher environmental and health costs of nitrogen pollution. As per the study, surprisingly, world’s almost half (46%) nitrogen pollution happens due these two nations along with the US (10%), Brazil (6%).

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/pollution/International-trade-triggering-nitrogen-pollution-Study/articleshow/50744945.cms

    Reply
    • “Nitrogen emissions have a number of impacts on the climate, environment and human health. Some of the impacts include air pollution, acid rain, eutrophication and climate change. Nitrogen pollution can be controlled by taking consumers on board and product labelling can be one of the ways to tackle it. Essentially, Policies addressing nitrogen pollution must be aimed at both producers and consumers – it has to be a joint effort to reduce emissions.”

      Reply
  26. – The Zika virus alarm:

    Global health body under pressure to stop Zika virus

    The World Health Organization will hold a special session on Thursday on the Zika virus as the U.N. agency comes under pressure for quick action against the infection linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil that is spreading through Latin America and the Caribbean.

    WHO Director-General Margaret Chan was set to address the agency’s executive board in Geneva as countries took new steps on Wednesday to try to stop the mosquito-transmitted virus linked to the dangerous birth defect called microcephaly.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/health-zika-global-pressure-idUSKCN0V6070

    Reply
    • Joni Grady

       /  January 28, 2016

      It looks like a great film especially for those facing direct threats, I.e. in our area a gas pipeline through karst topography and a Nat Forest. People of all sorts will fight in their own interests, what’s hard is getting them to see threatened interests that are more distant in time or place. Or fighting on moral grounds .

      Reply
  27. Gbalanverse

     /  January 28, 2016

    Awesome post, Robert! You’re getting better and better these days, even picked up by Bill McKibben. Just stay clear of AMEGs misleading data and keep you respectability – and avoid exaggeration and too colorful language like the plague. Perhaps you’ll even give Jeff Masters a run for his money.🙂 Thank you!

    In solidarity,

    Greg Brooks-English

    (Sent from my iPhone…)

    >

    Reply
  28. Ryan in New England

     /  January 28, 2016

    Great post, Robert. The battle lines have been drawn indeed. Even with all the hits the fossil fuel industry has taken recently, they still have enough strength to overpower cheaper, cleaner energy as they did in Nevada. We have so much positive news with renewables lately, but we still have a long way to go and are repeatedly dealt punishing blows, as is exampled by Nevada. So many homeowners going in the right direction, investing in the future and trying to make a difference, and they are punished for it. I’ve been angry over this for about a week.

    It makes me feel like if someone discovered a method of obtaining free energy from a clean, renewable source the power that be would just make it illegal.

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  January 28, 2016

      How can you be sure that such knowledge has not been suppressed

      Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  January 28, 2016

        The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  January 29, 2016

        The universe largely consists of dark energy and matter and we have not even the beginnings of the concepts of the laws involved. That energy appears to fit the aether or Chi or Prahna. I once started studying Chi and travelled to China meeting (through interpreters ) with Grand Masters including Physicists who explained some of their scientific research and that was mind blowing .
        Such as one master in Shenzhen would speak and enlighten, but no recording was permitted, for professionals such as reporters their equipment fused, students the batteries immediately drained and any recording was wiped, even when the equipment was concealed. I quit as there was a connection which the party had great difficulty with, in that with the power to use CHI came personal responsibility and real personal consequences. Ethics and morality played a key role supporting the religious teachings of the religions such as Taoism and Buddhism.

        The initial impetus was seeking help for my beloveds physical health issues, the physicist Master told her he would work on her from a distance about 8pm and to ensue she was not wearing any jewellery, she forgot about her watch and when the “electrical” jolts occurred at that time they cleared her pain and symptoms. Then we found her new expensive watch had stopped. Had it in for repair once home. destroyed, the electronics were fused.

        There is far more to reality than we concieve, but as with Chi work which ahas limitations which is why acupuncture and herbal medicines. So too does that science have limitations in repairing the damage we are doing to our planet by releasing the stored CO2.

        Interestingly that stored CO2 is actually a key element in our biosphere, contributing via slow leakage to enriching the soil via organism’s in the soil and also providing a base to our Greenhouse Blanket for millenia.
        In a way it is Earths life Blood for the biosphere whilst the water is the lymphatic fluid

        For an interesting look at current publicised science courtesy NASA

        http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/impossible-propellantless-engine-appears-to-work-despite-breaking-laws-of-physics-20150728-gimlhr.html

        Reply
  29. Ryan in New England

     /  January 28, 2016

    (The human carbon emission is now 150 times that of current volcanic activity. To achieve the same rate of emission from volcanoes, you would need a Siberian Flood Basalt equal to that which set off the Permian Mass Extinction — the worst hothouse extinction in Earth’s history — active on every continent on the face of the Earth.

    That is so crazy, I can barely get my head around it. Not only are we a geological force of nature, but we are far beyond what the worst extinction events have been.

    Reply
  30. Cate

     /  January 28, 2016

    Canada has a long, long way to go before accepting renewables. It’s instructive to follow the brouhaha about east-west pipelines in this country. The discussion is surreal, in the context of Paris—and makes it clear that for some powers-that-be (eg, Big Oil and its lackey the Canadian government) Paris changed exactly nothing. Well, maybe except for the realisation that a little more window dressing is in order, in the form of public “consultations” and other little tinkerings round the edges of the Canadian fossil fuel industry.

    Even with Harper gone at last, I am still ashamed of Canada. I am ashamed that with all our huge resources and significant advantages, we still cave to Big Oil. We still fail to aspire to lead the world in renewable energies for the northern environment.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environmental-regulations-pipelines-1.3422129

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/david-suzuki/paris-changed-everything-so-why-are-we-still-talking-pipelines/10153916968616591

    Reply
  31. New Report Issues Dire Carbon Warning: Keep It in the Ground—or Else

    The report, compiled by Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and 350.org, examines the carbon risk of deposits throughout the globe that, if developed, would push the world past the agreed-upon 2°C climate threshold.

    http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/01/25/new-report-issues-dire-carbon-warning-keep-it-ground-or-else

    Reply
  32. World heritage forests burn as global tragedy unfolds in Tasmania

    “It’s a bit like knowing someone you love’s got cancer,” he says. “You have to get your mind around the inevitability, I suppose. You grieve. It’s a sadness. It’s going to be pretty hard for this stuff to survive, certainly in the 100-year time frame. It stretches my mind to believe that there’ll be much of this stuff left in 50 years.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/27/world-heritage-forests-burn-as-global-tragedy-unfolds-in-tasmania?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  January 28, 2016

      Add this to the 1:1000 list just started ““It’s killing trees that are over 1,000 years old; it’s burning up soil that takes over 1,000 years to accumulate,” he says.

      If this truly were a once-in-1,000-year event, says Bowman, then to be alive when it occurs is like “winning TattsLotto” for a fire scientist. But we no longer live in the same world.

      Reply
      • Over the past few weeks, nearly 100 bushfires have sparked in Northern Tasmania due to lightening strikes.

        NOAA Satellites ‏@NOAASatellites 43m43 minutes ago

        Fires threaten to destroy trees more than 1,000 yrs old in Tasmania.

        Reply
  33. Cate

     /  January 28, 2016

    And Canada continues to bicker about east-west pipelines. Paris? What Paris? What’s Paris got to do with anything? I am so ashamed that my country continues to cave in to Big Oil and still does not aspire to be the world’s leader in renewables for northern environments.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environmental-regulations-pipelines-1.3422129

    Reply
  34. Caroline

     /  January 28, 2016

    “The recent outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in South America serves as a stark reminder of the health risks linked to a warming world, health experts say.”
    Thank you Lucy Cormack environment report from Sydney Herald for this:
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change-could-worsen-diseases-like-zika-virus-experts-say-20160128-gmfrcj.html

    Reply
    • – About a week (3 weeks into winter) I noticed a live mosquito here in PDX. The cold of winter usually stops them. The same with ‘house’ flies – last year, and this.

      Reply
  35. Kevin Jones

     /  January 28, 2016

    January 1, 2016 was the 22nd anniversary of Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague: Newly Emergent Diseases in a World Out of Balance. Twenty-two years of wondering….Ebola, Dengue, etc:….is this the Big One? Now Zika. Given our pathetic response to reality, to all the interwoven real issues since, it is almost as if humanity is asking for it.

    Reply
  36. Greg

     /  January 28, 2016

    A professionally done video promoting electric cars and renewable energy by a Tesla supporter. Nicola Tesla narration nice touch:

    Reply
  37. – Coal

    Peabody Energy Is The Next Coal Company To Go Bankrupt

    Summary

    The unsecured bonds are trading at around 8.6 cents on the dollar.
    The gross profit figure is barely sufficient to cover the interest expenses.
    The firm is burning cash quarter over quarter.

    Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) is the world’s largest private coal company.

    Over the last few years, 26 coal companies have gone bankrupt. Walter Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, Patriot Coal and Arch Coal are probably the best-known victims of the prolonged downturn. Consequently, 264 mines have closed according to the magazine OnEarth.
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/3841246-peabody-energy-next-coal-company-go-bankrupt

    Reply
    • Russia says Saudis proposing global oil production cut

      Russia said on Thursday that OPEC’s largest producer Saudi Arabia, had proposed oil production cuts of up to 5 percent in what would be the first global deal in over a decade to help clear a glut of crude and prop up sinking prices.

      Benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 jumped as much as 8 percent on Thursday to nearly $36 a barrel on news of the potential deal, which if implemented would immediately reduce surplus global output exceeding demand by 1 million barrels per day (bpd). Brent was trading at $34 a barrel at 1540 GMT.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-oil-cuts-proposals-idUSKCN0V61WS

      Reply
      • Vic

         /  January 28, 2016

        That’s what they’d do if they’d decided to sell off Saudi Aramco.

        Reply
  38. Reply
  39. Warming Waters Linked to Northeast Seagrass Die-offs

    … new analysis found that algae populations continued to grow in some embayments even as nitrogen levels stopped increasing. That suggests something else has been fueling algae’s continued buildup.

    “We don’t really have enough information in the dataset to say this is causing this absolutely, but the patterns are indicative that this regional warming is likely a part of what might be causing the change in water quality,” …
    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/warming-waters-linked-to-seagrass-die-offs-19963

    Reply
  40. Greg

     /  January 28, 2016

    Looking at Denmark, the leader in wind, one is struck by the figure of 42% grid energy now coming from wind, which makes the U.S. 4.5% look paltry in comparison, but scale is everything. That 42% appears to come from about 5 gigawatts. The U.S. installed 5 gigawatts of wind in the last quarter of 2015 alone.
    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/U.S.-Wind-Industry-Sees-Its-Second-Best-Quarter-Ever

    Reply
    • Right. Denmark just has a 100% better energy policy, which arises from heavy dependence on imported oil at the time of the 1973 oil embargo. Its wind resource, by the way, is not that great, which makes its achievement all the more impressive. U.S. could easily be double or triple where we are now, if not for pernicious influence on the political system of massive conventional energy industries.

      Reply
  41. Greg

     /  January 28, 2016

    Did someone already cover this here, or is this new, but 2015 saw actual congressional approval of a climate change initiative (outside the extension of tax credits for renewable energy) with the update in U.S. flood management seen in executive order 13690 which mandates that all federally funded projects located in a floodplain be built higher and stronger than previously required. It is the first update to the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard since the policy was created 38 years ago under Jimmy Carter.
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/11012016/congress-climate-change-omnibus-budget-bill-flood-standard-obama

    Reply
  42. Cate

     /  January 29, 2016

    Lots of numbers crunched here, but do they add up? Would love to heat others’ takes on this. (Guy gave it a LIKE.)

    Reply
    • Utter and complete nonsense.

      I’m sorry, but if your source is Guy McPherson, then you are going to be misinformed. Taking this link down.

      There are no hard forum rules here. But if the post contains misinformation, anti-renewable energy propaganda (informed concerns about viability are welcome so long as the sources aren’t funded by the fossil fuel industry or do not repeat the same misinformation!!), climate change denial, nonsense conspiracy theories with zero basis in fact, and unfounded claims that humans will be extinct in 30 years, or other poorly researched or misleading nonsense, then the post will be taken down.

      Tom’s 911 conspiracy theory post was taken down (as are numerous misinformed posts on renewable energy), Jonzo has been banned for actively spreading misinformation about Zika, Collapse of Industrial Civilization’s post was taken down for spreading misinformation about Zika, and Jeremy has been banned again for posting unfounded and completely unconfirmed rumors that genetically modified mosquitoes spread the Zika virus.

      The net effect of all these kinds of posts is to dumb down both the reader and the poster. And such misinformed or poorly researched posts have no place here. This is not a purely open forum. It’s a forum of expert, informed, and interested commenters on the issue of climate change who have a focus on increasing awareness and disseminating vital, useful information. If posts directly detract from these goals then they will be taken down.

      Guy McPherson is not a valid source on the issue of climate impacts. He has taken scientific research, and much of which has been reanalyzed here, and turned it on its head by assuming that the worst possible impacts are all inevitable. His message of hopelessness is both counter-productive and amoral and I do not consider him to be an honest actor in this discussion. He attacks action and works to undermine renewables — thus serving the fossil fuel special interests by proxy.

      Water impacts will ramp up with climate change. But wind and solar are among the energy sources that require the least amount of water to actively operate even as their adoption greatly reduces the water impact of energy generation as a whole. Overall, these energy sources add resiliency to communities, cities, states and nations facing ramping climate impacts. Solar water condensers can also aid in developing climate resiliency options for marginal and desertified regions.

      This is not a debunking blog. I simply do not have the time to write about all the crack-pot, bad-think, half-baked nonsense serving every Tom, Dick, and Harry snake oil salesman out there. But you can be pretty well assured that any person out there saying ‘the government created Zika through GM mosquitoes,’ ‘911 was a government plot,’ ‘the government is using HARP to warm the atmosphere,’ ‘solar panels are a plot to increase carbon emissions,’ ‘the world is going to end in 2030 so everyone should give up the fight to prevent catastrophic climate change,’ and ‘we must use (harmful) geo-engineering now to save the world’ is either trying to sell something harmful but profitable, trying to reduce public support for group action (government) because group action would reduce a particular industry’s profits, or trying to blow smoke to protect some corporate special interest (oil).

      So reader beware. And if you get your post taken down, you need to seriously take a look at your own belief system and how it’s being exploited.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  January 29, 2016

        Thank you, Robert. I posted that link certainly not because I agree with it but precisely because I wanted to know where it stands in the climate-change-info spectrum—and now I know! Boy, do I know!😉 I am pretty new in reading up on all this and just getting up to speed with who can be trusted and who is crazy, so I beg your pardon if I get it wrong from time to time on my learning curve! There ARE certainly a lot of climate crackpots and doomsayers, and I appreciate your taking the time to delineate them, while at the same time I apologise for your having to take up too much of your time to do just that! Again, thank you for creating and maintaining this blog which to me feels like a breath of fresh air in all the hot air around climate change. .

        Reply
        • A good rule of thumb is to avoid absolutism. If someone says something big like — human mass extinction is inevitable by 2030, then they’re probably misinforming you. If studies do not reliably link scientific organizations like the national renewable energies lab, NASA, NOAA, the world meteorological organization, GFS model studies, the CDC, the world health organization, or reports that cite those or like organizations, then the information is more suspect.

          Because there are so many false attacks on renewable energy out there, most that has been written negatively or critically about them is immediately suspect. There are a few valid critics like Hansen, who believe that we can’t rapidly transition without some base load nuclear energy, and the current situation in France does lend some support to the viability of a rapid transition that includes nuclear and renewables. But overall, the real story is that renewables are now more economically accessible than they ever were and outcompete traditional plants on cost in many and in a growing number of regions. More importantly, pretty much all of the national level studies point toward renewable energy’s viability for transitioning to 100 percent renewable power generation using numerous methods.

          In addition, as noted above, the impact to resources — water, the atmosphere, toxic impacts to land — are far, far less with renewable energy from wind and solar than from any other established source of electricity generation. So studies that claim the opposite are highly suspect and likely intentional misinformation.

        • For reference, Stanford debunks a few bits of misinformation about renewable energy here:

          http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/MythsvsRealitiesWWS.pdf

          Also note that this Union of Concerned Scientists study finds that wind and solar require practically zero water input to run:

          http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/public-benefits-of-renewable.html#.VqvJM3A8KK0

          Both are worth reading simply based on the quality of the information provided.

  43. Cate

     /  January 30, 2016

    Thank you, good points, good links. Absolutism is a good rule of thumb.

    I like how France is just getting on with renewables, and while we lived in Scotland, it looked to me like they were doing so as well. Just doing it, converting everything over to solar, wind, and even wave as quickly as possible. You can see it when it happens—as a nation, a govt and corporations, you just stop putting money in oil and start putting it into renewables. You don’t immediately start setting up fake barriers full of loopholes, as seems to be happening in Canada with the pipelines issue.

    Reply
  44. Reblogged as part of a long article at Fin des Voies Rapides.

    Reply

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