EPA Proposes New Power Generation Emissions Rules http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4329 The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations with a goal of slashing carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal fired power plants by as much as 30 percent by 2030.
The USA’s power generation sector is the nation’s biggest source of carbon emissions; representing around 38 percent of the total load.
According to the EPA, the average age of the nation’s coal plants is 42 years. Under the EPA’s proposal, which was directed by President Barack Obama; emission targets for power plants could be met in a few different ways – through power plant upgrades, changing from using coal as a fuel to natural gas, enhancing energy efficiency or increasing uptake of renewable energy.
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said the announcement marked a defining moment in American history.
“As a nation, we’re poised to finally turn the page from sooty smokestacks to sunnier skies,” he said.
Mr. Resch says the nation’s solar industry is ready to help states meet the challenge.
“Simply put, solar can be a real game-changer for regulators looking to meet the changing needs of their state. Why? Because solar energy is reliable, cost competitive, environmentally friendly and easily scalable, fitting the needs of any state’s Section 111 (d) compliance plan.”
As we reported earlier, cumulative operating solar PV capacity reached 13,395 MW at the end of Q1 2014 in the USA and 74% of new electricity generation capacity in the USA added during the period was solar.
“Solar is now the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, employing 143,000 Americans and accounting for nearly 30 percent of all new electric generation capacity installed in 2013 – second only to natural gas. All totalled, solar is generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to power 3 million homes,” said Mr. Resch.
The EPA says the proposed regulations will result in the avoidance of up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days – and this will provide up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits. It also states the efforts will reduce electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.
With the renewable energy revolution gaining pace and spurred on by initiatives such as the EPA proposes, it seems investing in coal is becoming an increasingly risky affair.
• Proposed regulations could cut carbon pollution by up to 25%
• President still faces potential opposition from Republicans
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent theguardian.com, Friday 30 May 2014 President Barack Obama will unveil a plan on Monday that will cut carbon pollution from power plants and promote cap-and-trade, undertaking the most significant action on climate change in American history.
The proposed regulations Obama will launch at the White House on Monday could cut carbon pollution by as much as 25% from about 1,600 power plants in operation today, according to those claiming familiarity with the plan.
Power plants are the country’s single biggest source of carbon pollution – responsible for up to 40% of the country’s emissions.
The rules, which were drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and are under review by the White House, are expected to do more than Obama, or any other president, has done so far to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for climate change.
They will put America on course to meet its international climate goal, and put US diplomats in a better position to leverage climate commitments from big polluters such as China and India, Obama said in a speech to West Point graduates this week.
“I intend to make sure America is out front in a global framework to preserve our planet,” he said. “American influence is always stronger when we lead by example. We can not exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else.”
It won’t be without a fight. Obama went on in his remarks at West Point to take a shot at Republicans who deny climate change is occurring, and the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, on Thursday accused critics of making “doomsday claims” about the costs of cutting carbon…….
Obama had originally hoped to cut carbon pollution by moving a bill through Congress. Four years after that effort fell apart, campaigners say the EPA rules could deliver significant emissions cuts – near the 17% Obama proposed at the Copenhagen climate summit – and the cap-and-trade programmes that were so reviled by Republicans.
The EPA, using its authority under the Clean Air Act, proposed the first rule phase, covering future power plants, last September.
In this the more politically contentious phase of the plan, it is widely believed the EPA will depart from the “inside the fence-line” convention of earlier environmental regulations for mercury and other pollutants, which focused on emissions-scrubbing on specific power plants.
The EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, is seeking steep reductions – as much as 25% – but she has hinted repeatedly that she will allow states latitude in how they reach those targets.
The plan would allow electricity companies to reduce pollution by shutting down the oldest and most polluting coal plants. They can install carbon-sucking retrofits. They can expand wind and solar energy, upgrade the electrical grid, encourage customers to update to more efficient heating and cooling systems, or more efficient appliances and lightbulbs.
“They have recognised huge emissions reductions opportunities are often cheaper than trying to do it all inside the plant,” said David Doniger, who heads the climate programme at the NRDC. “If you want to get substantial reductions and you want to get it economically, you have to take into account a system-wide approach.”…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/29/obama-unveil-historic-climate-plan-carbon-pollution
Warm Pacific may cause US winter freeze, study finds SMH, 24 May 14 Unusually warm western Pacific waters linked to global warming may be the paradoxical cause of a bone-chilling winter in parts of the United States this year, a scientific study said on Thursday.
The theory contrasts with other experts’ views, including that the freeze was simply a freak natural event or that it was linked to a thawing of the Arctic in recent years that sent a blast of cold air south.
“People’s reaction when they sit under 10 feet of snow is to say ‘this cannot be man-made climate change’,” said Professor Tim Palmer of Oxford University, who published his research in the journal Science. “But there is a plausible link,” he told Reuters.
He said a strengthening of trade winds had led to a build-up of warm water in the western tropical Pacific, aggravated in recent years by global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.
Thunderstorms linked to the warmth in turn disrupted the jetstream, high altitude winds which flow in vast meandering loops around the northern hemisphere, and sucked cold air from the Arctic. Detroit, for instance, suffered record snows and the coldest January since 1977.
Pinpointing the causes of the US chill, when climate change should make cold winters less likely, would help companies, farmers, city planners or even home owners wondering if they should invest in extra roof insulation.
Two other experts were unconvinced by Palmer’s study………
So far there is limited understanding of how weather in one part of the world can affect another.
Weather experts agree, however, that the El Nino weather phenomenon that mainly cools the eastern Pacific Ocean every few years can cause droughts or downpours on other continents.
Palmer told Reuters that his theory, building on a 1980s study he wrote suggesting a link between a chill 1976-77 US winter and a warm Pacific, could be tested because there are signs that an El Nino will form later this year.
An El Nino would also cool the western Pacific and that meant a cold US winter was less likely in 2014-15, he said.
A U.N. panel of climate scientists says it is at least 95 per cent probable that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, are the main cause of warming since the 1950s, and will cause more heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/warm-pacific-may-cause-us-winter-freeze-study-finds-20140523-zrlnj.html#ixzz32fmyw5TO
Evangelical Group: Climate Change Is A ‘Pro-Life’ Issue CLIMATE PROGRESS, BY KATIE VALENTINE MAY 20, 2014 A GROUP OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS ARE CALLING ON FLORIDA GOV. RICK SCOTT TO CREATE A PLAN TO MITIGATE AND ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE, HOPING THAT THEIR MESSAGE WILL RESONATE WITH SCOTT’S STAUNCH CHRISTIAN VALUES.
Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), is leading the group’s campaign for Scott to recognize climate change as a major threat in Florida. EEN is collecting signatures for a petition asking Gov. Scott to create a plan for climate change, one which so far has garnered about 12,000 signatures. Hescox told ThinkProgress that EEN chose to focus on Florida because of its vulnerability to climate change — Floridians, especially in the Southeast region of the state, are already struggling to adapt to rising seas that lead to sunny-day flooding and stronger storm surges.
“We wanted to help the evangelical church understand in Florida that climate change is not a liberal issue or any issue other than a people issue,” he said.
Gov. Scott, however, has expressed doubt before that climate change is occurring — in 2010, he told reporters he hadn’t “been convinced” that the problem existed, and last week, he avoided a question on whether his 2010 beliefs are the same today by responding, “I’m not a scientist.”……..
The group emphasizes creation care, the idea that humans have a duty to take care of the Earth, because the Earth and its creatures are the creation of God and to love God’s creation is to love God. The group also notes that the poor are often those who are affected most by pollution, and many Christians believe they have a duty to help the poor.
“The first real handbook of sustainability is the Biblical book of Leviticus. It talks about crop rotation, about how to care about animals,” Hescox said. “That’s why it’s a matter of life for us — everything we do, as human beings, to mess up God’s creation impacts human life.”
Hescox pointed to the suffering climate change has caused around the world as reason why climate change is something Christians should care about. Air pollution is linked to asthma, kidney disease and heart problems, and climate change is expected to cause a rise in vectorborne illnesses like malaria and West Nile. These are some of the most compelling reasons to act on climate change, Hescox said.
“For us, it’s a pro-life issue,” he said. “We are pro-life from conception to natural death, and we believe anything that affects the quality of life is something that’s a pro-life value.”………http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/20/3439695/evangelical-environmental-network-rick-scott-petition/
How Rising Seas Could Sink Nuclear Plants On The East Coast Shane Shifflett Kate Sheppard, HUFFINGTON POST, 19 May 14 In 2011, a tsunami sent waves as high as 49 feet crashing over the seawalls surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, causing meltdowns at three of the plant’s reactors. After that incident, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ordered nuclear facilities in the U.S. to review and update their plans for addressing extreme seismic activity and potential flooding from other events, such as sea level rise and storm surges. Those plans aren’t due until March 2015, which means that many plants have yet to even lay out their their potential vulnerabilities, let alone address them.
During the 1970s and 1980s, when many nuclear reactors were first built, most operators estimated that seas would rise at a slow, constant rate. That is, if the oceans rose a fraction of an inch one year, they could be expected to rise by the same amount the next year and every year in the future.
But the seas are now rising much faster than they did in the past, largely due to climate change, which accelerates thermal expansion and melts glaciers and ice caps. Sea levels rose an average of 8 inches between 1880 and 2009, or about 0.06 inches per year. But in the last 20 years, sea levels have risen an average of 0.13 inches per year – about twice as fast.
And it’s only getting worse. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has laid out four different projections for estimated sea level rise by 2100. Even the agency’s best-case scenario assumes that sea levels will rise at least 8.4 inches by the end of this century. NOAA’s worst-case scenario, meanwhile, predicts that the oceans will rise nearly 7 feet in the next 86 years.
But most nuclear power facilities were built well before scientists understood just how high sea levels might rise in the future. And for power plants, the most serious threat is likely to come from surges during storms. Higher sea levels mean that flooding will travel farther inland, creating potential hazards in areas that may have previously been considered safe. During Superstorm Sandy, for example, flooding threatened the water intake systems at the Oyster Creek and Salem nuclear power plants in New Jersey. As a safety precaution, both plants were powered down. But even when a plant is not operating, the spent fuel stored on-site, typically uranium, will continue to emit heat and must be cooled using equipment that relies on the plant’s own power. Flooding can cause a loss of power, and in serious conditions it can damage backup generators. Without a cooling system, reactors can overheat and damage the facility to the point of releasing radioactive material.
Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations Operated by PSEG Nuclear, LLC.……..
Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station Operated by Florida Power & Light Co……..
You Know the Ocean’s in Trouble When Your Shell Starts Melting http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/47393 Things are getting really dicey for a little ocean creature called a pteropod. Better known as the “sea butterfly,” this delicate little sea snail is serving as an unfortunate bellwether of the deteriorating state of our oceans. Why? Conditions in the Antarctic ocean and along the West Coast of the U.S. have become so unnaturally acidic that the shells of sea butterflies are literally dissolving away.
“We did not expect to see pteropods being affected to this extent in our coastal region for several decades,” said Dr. William Peterson, an oceanographer at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, in a NOAA press release.
Damage that’s “several decades” early is a big alarm bell. We’d better pay close attention before it’s too late.
The chemistry of the world’s oceans is changing, thanks to the carbon dioxide humans continue to spew into our atmosphere. Oceans absorb between one quarter to one third of that carbon dioxide. Over time, it has turned the ocean from a slightly alkaline state to a bit more acidic.
According to some estimates, the ocean’s pH level 150 years ago was about 8.2. It’s now about 8.1. It may seem to be an infinitesimal shift, but it’s worse than it sounds. The more acidic the ocean gets, the harder it is for marine life like oysters, clams and corals to form calcium carbonite skeletons and shells.
In the case of pteropods, the increased acidity of the ocean is actually eating away at their shells.
“The first thing that happens is the dissolution of their shell,” NOAA’s Dr. Nina Bednarsek told PBS. “Dissolution can be mild, [to] very severe. Once you have it dissolving on the outside, you have to put so much more energy into the shell in order to maintain it. The energy that you would otherwise use for other important physiological maintenance you are putting in the shell maintenance.”
Researchers working off the coast of Oregon, Washington and California in 2011 discovered that over half of the sea butterflies they found onshore were victims of “severe dissolution damage.” Offshore, about 24 percent were damaged.
If we don’t change our ways, by 2050, researchers estimate that coastal waters will be 70 percent more acidic than they were in the pre-industrial era.
Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Care2.
Nigel Lawson’s climate sceptic thinktank to launch campaigning arm http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/09/nigel-lawson-climate-sceptic-thinktank Global Warming Policy Forum will escape scrutiny for accuracy of information by becoming a non-charitable company Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent theguardian.com, Saturday 10 May 2014 The climate sceptic organisation founded by former chancellor Nigel Lawson is to set up a new campaigning arm, which would be free from charity regulations.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is classified as an educational charity and thus covered by strict Charity Commission rules that restrict its ability to conduct political campaigns, said that the new non-charitable company would undertake “activities which do not fall squarely within the educational remit of the charity”.Similar structures are also used by some other non-profit organisations, because it gives them greater freedom in lobbying and in some commercial activities.
The new arm, to be called the Global Warming Policy Forum, will share the same website and initials and publish reports and research papers, as well as organising lectures and debates on science and policy. In particular, it will put out news articles and opinion columns through a section of its website.
If the Charity Commission agrees with the restructuring, the new organisation will start operating by the end of July.
Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, last yearcomplained to the Charity Commission, over what he saw as the dissemination by the GWPF of “misleading and inaccurate” information. Charity Commission rules require organisations granted charitable status – which allows them, and their donors, to benefit from favourable tax treatment – to ensure that any information they put out is fair and as accurate as possible.
Ward said: “I think it is apparent that this move is designed to get around Charity Commission rules that specify that it must not disseminate inaccurate information. It is a deeply cynical move by the Foundation to avoid any formal requirement that they should stop misleading the public with inaccurate information. However, I hope now that it will be more obvious that when Lord Lawson speaks about climate change, it is as a campaigner rather than as an expert. And at least its secret donors will no longer be able to claim tax relief on funding the Foundation’s political propaganda.”
Greenpeace, which was named by the GWPF as an organisation that operates a campaigning arm as well as its core charity, told the Guardian: “They do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But he said that if Lord Lawson really wants to emulate Greenpeace’s structure he should be open about where his funding comes from and “root his political campaign in the reality of climate science.”
The GWPF does not disclose the names of organisations or individuals who provide its funding, but says that fossil fuel companies are not among them. It did not respond to requests for comment.
Nuclear Is NOT a Low-Carbon Source of Energy April 14, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog Why Do People Claim that Nuclear Power is a Low-Carbon Source of Energy?…. some scientists are under the mistaken impression that nuclear power is virtually carbon-free, and thus must be pushed to prevent runaway global warming. …But this is a myth.
Amory Lovins …… Nuclear plants are so slow and costly to build that they reduce and retard climate protection.
Here’s how. Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world’s 2009 electricity, nuclear 13%, reversing their 2000 shares–and made over 90% of the world’s additional electricity in 2008.
Those smarter choices are sweeping the global energy market. Half the world’s new generating capacity in 2008 and 2009 was renewable. In 2010, renewables except big hydro dams won $151 billion of private investment and added over 50 billion watts (70% the total capacity of all 23 Fukushima-style U.S. reactors) while nuclear got zero private investment and kept losing capacity. Supposedly unreliable windpower made 43-52% of four German states’ total 2010 electricity. Non-nuclear Denmark, 21% wind-powered, plans to get entirely off fossil fuels. Hawai’i plans 70% renewables by 2025.
In contrast, of the 66 nuclear units worldwide officially listed as “under construction” at the end of 2010, 12 had been so listed for over 20 years, 45 had no official startup date, half were late, all 66 were in centrally planned power systems–50 of those in just four (China, India, Russia, South Korea)–and zero were free-market purchases. Since 2007,nuclear growth has added less annual output than just the costliest renewable–solar power –and will probably never catch up. While inherently safe renewable competitors are walloping both nuclear and coal plants in the marketplace and keep getting dramatically cheaper, nuclear costs keep soaring, and with greater safety precautions would go even higher. Tokyo Electric Co., just recovering from $10-20 billion in 2007 earthquake costs at its other big nuclear complex, now faces an even more ruinous Fukushima bill………
An International Forum on Globalization report – written by environmental luminaries Ernest Callenback, Gar Smith and Jerry Mander – have slammed nuclear power as catastrophic for the environment:
Nuclear energy is not the “clean” energy its backers proclaim. For more than 50 years, nuclear energy has been quietly polluting our air, land, water and bodies—while alsocontributing to Global Warming through the CO2 emissions from its construction, mining, and manufacturing operations. Every aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle—mining, milling, shipping, processing, power generation, waste disposal and storage—releases greenhouse gases, radioactive particles and toxic materials that poison the air, water and land. Nuclear power plants routinely expel low-level radionuclides into the air in the course of daily operations. While exposure to high levels of radiation can kill within a matter of days or weeks, exposure to low levels on a prolonged basis can damage bones and tissue and result in genetic damage, crippling long-term injuries, disease and death.
See this excellent photographic depiction of the huge amounts of fossil fuel which goes into building and operating a nuclear power plant……….
The bottom line – as discussed above – is that scientists pushing nuclear to combat global warming are misinformed. (True, nuclear industry lobbyists may be largely responsible for the claim that nuclear fights climate change. Indeed, Dick Cheney – whose Halliburton company builds nuclear power plants, and which sold nuclear secrets to Iran – falsely claimed that nuclear power is carbon-free in a 2004 appearance on C-Span. But there are also sincere environmental scientists who are pushing nuclear because they have only studied a small part of the picture, and don’t understand that there are better alternatives. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/nuclear-is-not-a-low-carbon-source-of-energy.html
Climate change is clear and present danger, says landmark US report National Climate Assessment, to be launched at White House on Tuesday, says effects of climate change are now being felt Suzanne Goldenberg US environment correspondent theguardian.com , Monday 5 May 2014 On Sunday the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, said the world needed to try harder to combat climate change. At a meeting of UN member states in Abu Dhabi before a climate change summit in New York on 23 September, Ban said: “I am asking them to announce bold commitments and actions that will catalyse the transformative change we need. If we do not take urgent action, all our plans for increased global prosperity and security will be undone.”
- Gary Yohe, an economist at Wesleyan University and vice-chair of the NCA advisory committee, said the US report would be unequivocal that the effects of climate change were occurring in real-time and were evident in every region of the country.
- “One major take-home message is that just about every place in the country has observed that the climate has changed,” he told the Guardian. “It is here and happening, and we are not cherrypicking or fearmongering.”
- The draft report notes that average temperature in the US has increased by about 1.5F (0.8C) since 1895, with more than 80% of that rise since 1980. The last decade was the hottest on record in the US.
- Temperatures are projected to rise another 2F over the next few decades, the report says. In northern latitudes such as Alaska, temperatures are rising even faster.
- “There is no question our climate is changing,” said Don Wuebbles, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois and a lead author of the assessment. “It is changing at a factor of 10 times more than naturally.”
- Record-breaking heat – even at night – is expected to produce more drought and fuel larger and more frequent wildfires in the south-west, the report says. The north-east, midwest and Great Plains states will see an increase in heavy downpours and a greater risk of flooding.
- “Parts of the country are getting wetter, parts are getting drier. All areas are getting hotter,” said Virginia Burkett, chief scientist for global change at the US Geological Survey. “The changes are not the same everywhere.”……..
The assessments are the American equivalent of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. This year’s report for the first time looks at what America has done to fight climate change or protect people from its consequences in the future.
Under an act of Congress the reports were supposed to be produced every four years, but no report was produced during George W Bush’s presidency.http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/04/climate-change-present-us-national-assessment
Science Editor: Fox News Told Me Not To Talk About Climate Change The Huffington Post | by Dominique Mosbergen 04/30/2014 This week, a science writer was asked to appear on Fox News to discuss the future of science and technology. However, he says there was one caveat: The issue of climate change would be off-limits.
On Wednesday, Michael Moyer, an editor at Scientific American, described his experience with the news outlet this way:
In a blog post on Scientific American, Moyer explained that he had offered to discuss what he foresees as the “trends for the future” on “Fox & Friends.” In a blog post on Scientific American, Moyer explained that he had offered to discuss what he foresees as the “trends for the future” on “Fox & Friends.”
“About the only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen in the next 50 years is that climate change is going to get worse, and that we’re going to have to deal with the impacts. So I put that as one of my talking points,” he wrote.
But Moyer says a producer of the show soon reached out to him to tell him explicitly to not discuss climate change during the segment. Not wanting to back out of an opportunity to “share cool science with whomever will listen,” Moyer agreed to still appear on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday.
That, however, will likely be the last time Moyer will appear on the show.
“I found the tone and topics of coverage while I was sitting in the green room this morning to be not something that I wanted to be a part of in the future,” he told Talking Points Memo of his “Fox & Friends” experience. “I didn’t realize that the drumbeat of conservative propaganda was so ubiquitous on the show.”……
Moyer, however, insists that the Fox producer wrote this in an email: “[C]an we replace the climate change with something else?”
This wouldn’t be the first time that Fox News’ coverage of climate change has beencalled into question. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found the conservative news outlet covers climate change inaccurately 72 percent of the time.
“There are some things that in science and scientific discourse are not controversial at all,” Moyer told Talking Points Memo in light of his Fox News experience. “I hope that we can all as a society agree to at least discuss them and come up with good solutions. Just because you don’t want something to be true doesn’t make it not true.”
According to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, about four in 10 Americans said “they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases,” per the AP. That’s in stark contrast to the97 percent of climate scientists who say global warming in the last 100 years has very likely been caused by human activity. http://linkis.com/zite.to/eoXrO
Maurice Newman Rejects Climate Change, Because God. In Other Words, by Tom Cummings, 24 April 14 “…….Newman rejects the findings of thousands of scientists from hundreds of organisations scattered across 195 countries, because of the analysis of one man: Roy Spencer.
at left, Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.
UV-radiation data to help ecological research, Eureka Alert 22April 14 Many research projects study the effects of temperature and precipitation on the global distribution of plant and animal species. However, an important component of climate research, the UV-B radiation, is often neglected. The landscape ecologists from UFZ in collaboration with their colleagues from the Universities in Olomouc (Czechia), Halle and Lüneburg have processed UV-B data from the U.S. NASA space agency in such a way that they can be used to study the influence of UV-B radiation on organisms. Continue reading
This Huge Nuclear Waste Dump Will Be Washed Away By Rising Sea Levels http://gizmodo.com/uk-nuclear-waste-dump-will-be-washed-away-by-rising-sea-1565513267 21 April 14, Geoff Manaugh A dumping ground for nuclear waste located near the British coast is “virtually certain” to be washed away by rising sea levels, a new report warns. The UK Environment Agency has admitted that constructing the Drigg Low-Level Waste Repository so near the coast was a mistake, and that one million cubic meters of nuclear waste will begin leaking into the ocean “a few hundred to a few thousand years from now.”
Sounds bad? Pay no attention, then, to current plans to increase the site’s capacity by another 800,000 cubic meters over the next century, adding new waste that will include “radioactive debris from Britain’s nuclear power stations, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons, hospitals and universities,” the Guardian reports.
It’s interesting to note that, while the site officially contains only low-level waste, there is suspicion that higher-level wastes with correspondingly higher levels of radioactivity could have been dumped there in the past. Recall the incredible tale of Sellafield nuclear power station—the site from which much of the waste now stored at Drigg originates—where records of previous dumping had been thrown away or lost. This led to the terrifying need to advertise in the local newspaper, saying: “We need your help.” Why? Because they had no idea what was buried there.
“Did you work at Sellafield in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s?” the ad asked with false calm. “Were you by chance in the job of disposing of radioactive material? If so, the owners of Britain’s nuclear waste dump would very much like to hear from you: they want you to tell them what you dumped—and where you put it.”
In any case, the coastal tomb at Drigg is all but guaranteed to break apart in the waves and wash its mysterious and harmful contents into the sea. “A few hundred to a few thousand years from now” sounds like a long time, of course, but think of that as potentially little more than the time between us and Shakespeare (400 years), and the terrifying urgency of this becomes more clear. [Guardian]
Connecticut’s nuclear plant can use warmer water WSJ, 21 Apr 14 HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s nuclear power plant won permission to use warmer water from Long Island Sound for cooling at one of its two units in Waterford, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Monday.
The Millstone 2 plant may use water as warm as 80 degrees Fahrenheit, up from 75 degrees, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is considering a similar request for Millstone 3.
Millstone 2 shut down for nearly two weeks in August 2012 because the water was warmer than the 75-degree limit. It was the first shutdown of a nuclear power plant on an open body of water. Water is used to cool key components of the plant and is discharged back into the Sound……http://online.wsj.com/article/AP66936a3af568444f9afefe577df90c23.html
Rising tides threaten communities on the beach — and far from it, too USA Today, Matt Alderton, Green Living April 19, 2014 The mud in Folsom Lake, near Sacramento, Calif., is dry and chapped, like cracked heels. The bottom of the reservoir, once under water, now is largely barren, save for its shallow center and a smattering of stray puddles.
That’s because California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in state history. Conditions are so bad that
Gov. Jerry Browndeclared a state emergency in January. He urged state residents to voluntarily reduce personal water consumption by 20 percent.
In the context of having so little water, it might seem strange to worry about having too much. And yet, that’s exactly the dilemma facing California today. Even as it reels from drought, it must begin planning for floods. And make no mistake: Floods are coming. Not only to California, but to coastal cities across the country and around the world, which face a certain influx of water as oceans rise under the specter of climate change.
“We analyzed 55 different water level stations throughout the United States and found that for about two-thirds of them, sea level rise from climate change has already more than doubled the risk of extreme flooding,” says Dr. Ben Strauss, director of the Program on Sea Level Rise at Climate Central, a nonprofit organization dedicated to communicating the science and effects of climate change.
Based on the analysis, Climate Central developed Surging Seas, an interactive website (sealevel.climatecentral.org) that maps the flood threats from sea level rise and storm surges. The map shows how more than 3,000 coastal communities in the contiguous United States would be affected if sea levels were to rise from 1 to 10 feet.
“Sea level rise is already happening, and its continuation is inevitable,” Strauss says. “At some point it will be obvious to every family living in a coastal area, and every community will be looking to protect itself.”
A scary proposition
Multiple forces are colluding to make the oceans swell.
One is warming oceans. “Because of that, you have an expansion of ocean waters, and the only place they can go is up,” says Rachel Cleetus, a senior economist in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an alliance of citizens and scientists who collaborate on solutions to global problems.
Another is melting land-based ice forms such as glaciers and ice sheets. “You’re adding volume to the world’s oceans, and that’s causing them to rise,” Cleetus says.
Because the rate of ice loss is accelerating, oceans are rising faster than ever before. Cleetus says sea level could rise anywhere from 8 inches to 6.5 feet by the end of the century. Some scientists put estimates as high as 10 or 15 feet. That’s on top of approximately 8 inches of sea level rise already logged in the last century.
“Those 8 inches of sea level rise from climate change are already making every single coastal flood bigger, deeper and more damaging,” Strauss says.
Although scientists typically project sea level rise through the year 2100, communities likely will be impacted much sooner than that. The culprit? Incremental storm surges……….
Ultimately, then, the best solution might be the hardest to swallow: retreat.
“We need to pull back, in essence, from the shore,” says environmental and land-use planning consultant Barry Chalofsky. “If you live (in a coastal floodplain) and you’re counting on your house to be your nest egg when you retire, or you want to pass it on to your children, I would strongly think about elevating your property, then selling it over the next five to 10 years.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2014/04/19/green-living-coastal-communities/7871349/
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- rare earths
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual