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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

UN’s latest report – global warming might now be irreversible

climate-changeGlobal warming is already here and could be irreversible, UN panel sayshttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/26/global-warming-irreversible-un-panel-report A 127-page draft report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change describes what can be done about it

Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous – and it’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the Nobel Prize-winning group. There is little in the report that wasn’t in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.

The 127-page draft, obtained by The Associated Press, paints a harsh warning of what’s causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment. It also describes what can be done about it.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,” the report says. The final report will be issued after governments and scientists go over the draft line by line in an October conference in Copenhagen.

Depending on circumstances and values, “currently observed impacts might already be considered dangerous,” the report says. It mentions extreme weather and rising sea levels, such as heat waves, flooding and droughts. It even raises, as an earlier report did, the idea that climate change will worsen violent conflicts and refugee problems and could hinder efforts to grow more food. And ocean acidification, which comes from the added carbon absorbed by oceans, will harm marine life, it says.

Without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, “climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century,” the report says.

In 2009, countries across the globe set a goal of limiting global warming to about another 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-16.67C) above current levels. But the report says that it is looking more likely that the world will shoot past that point. Limiting warming to that much is possible but would require dramatic and immediate cuts in carbon dioxide pollution.

The report says if the world continues to spew greenhouse gases at its accelerating rate, it’s likely that by mid-century temperatures will increase by about another 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) compared to temperatures from 1986 to 2005. And by the end of the century, that scenario will bring temperatures that are about 6.7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer (3.7 degrees Celsius).

August 27, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Looks like global warming is stopping nuclear power, rather than the other way round

flag-S-KoreaHeavy Rain in South Korea Kills Five, Shuts Nuclear Plant   Officials Say Five People Still Missing WSJ,  By
JEYUP S. KWAAK  25 Aug 14, 
SEOUL-Heavy rainfall on Monday killed at least five people and shut down a nuclear reactor in South Korea, pushing the country’s populous southeast region to a near-standstill. …… A 650-megawatt nuclear reactor in Busan, about 330 kilometers (204 miles) southeast of Seoul, was also suspended on Monday after rising water flowed into the facilities, the national nuclear-power-plant operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd said. The reactor remained shut down as of Tuesday morning…….http://online.wsj.com/articles/heavy-rain-in-south-korea-kills-five-shuts-nuclear-plant-1409023982

August 27, 2014 Posted by | climate change, South Korea | Leave a comment

Nuclear power would come in far too late to affect global warming

NuClear News August 14 “……..Tackling Climate Change Quickly
When it comes to tackling climate change, early reductions in carbon emissions are much more
beneficial than reductions just prior to 2050 because this will mean a much more dramatic cut
in cumulative emissions by 2050. Unlike nuclear power most renewables can be installed in a
very short period of time.
For instance, while Hinkley Point C won’t be able to contribute to energy security and reducing
dependence on fossil fuels for another ten years, the solar industry could deliver the same
amount of electricity every year as is expected to be produced Hinkley Point C within 24 months
and at a comparable cost, according to Mark Turner, a director of Lightsource Renewable
Energy. Solar could provide energy security quickly, reduce electricity bills and protect the
environment at the same time. Turner says that while solar power will not be the entire solution
it could provide quite a large percentage of the energy mix completely free from the vagaries of
the global fossil fuel markets. (15)
global-warming-nuke2
Nuclear supporters tend to argue that without an energy storage breakthrough renewables
cannot provide the same level of base load power as nuclear. (16) The argument that renewable
energy isn’t up to the task because “the sun doesn’t shine at night and the wind doesn’t blow all
the time” is overly simplistic. There are a number of renewable energy technologies which can
supply baseload power. The intermittency of other sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic
can be addressed by interconnecting power plants which are widely geographically distributed,
and by coupling them with peak-load plants such as gas turbines fuelled by biofuels or natural
gas which can quickly be switched on to fill in gaps of low wind or solar production. Numerous
regional and global case studies – some incorporating modelling to demonstrate their feasibility
– have provided plausible plans to meet 100% of energy demand with renewable sources. (17…….) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo65.pdf

August 7, 2014 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Ten top PR firms refuse to work with climate chnage deniers

climate-denialistsWorld’s top PR companies rule out working with climate deniers
Ten firms say they will not represent clients that deny man-made climate change or seek to block emisson-reducing regulations
  and   theguardian.com, Monday 4 August 2014 Some of the world’s top PR companies have for the first time publicly ruled out working with climate change deniers, marking a fundamental shift in the multi-billion dollar industry that has grown up around the issue of global warming.

Public relations firms have played a critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solutions – as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives.

Now a number of the top 25 global PR firms have told the Guardian they will not represent clients who deny man-made climate change, or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution. Companies include WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100, and Finn Partners.

“We would not knowingly partner with a client who denies the existence of climate change,” said Rhian Rotz, spokesman for WE.

Weber Shandwick would also not take any campaign to block regulations cutting carbon emissions or promoting renewable energy. “We would not support a campaign that denies the existence and the threat posed by climate change, or efforts to obstruct regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions and/or renewable energy standards,” spokeswoman Michelle Selesky said…… http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/04/worlds-top-pr-companies-rule-out-working-with-climate-deniers

August 7, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

For mitigation of climate change, wind power leaves nuclear and carbon capture way behind

Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation Clean Technica July 29th, 2014 by   There’s an enduring myth related to wind energy and nuclear energy that needs to be put to bed. That myth is that only nuclear can be scaled to sufficient capacity to reduce the impacts of global warming, and that wind energy is much less scalable so it should be ignored.

Most recently, this appeared as a broad generalization without any supporting evidence in a pro-carbon capture series by a CCS researcher on the Siemens-sponsored Energy Collective, which features this particular myth regularly, being a bit of an echo chamber for it.  Of course the nuclear industry’s PR professionals love this line as well.

And there’s another myth related to carbon capture and sequestration being more significant than renewables that has to be assessed as well.

China is the true test bed for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore lack of social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear which sensibly exists elsewhere given concerns about economic fallout of Fukushima-scale disasters, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. And in four years it has built significantly less nuclear generation capacity than it built of wind generation capacity in 2013 alone…….

Where does this leave the claims about nuclear and CCS?

Nuclear isn’t more scalable than wind or other renewables, in fact it’s going in reverse while renewables are being expanded rapidly. And CCS won’t dodge more climate change than renewables because wind and solar are being built in production rapidly and CCS isn’t and won’t be in comparable scales because the economics don’t support it. Both are busted myths.

Wind energy isn’t the only answer. It is likely to reach a maximum of 30% to 40% of supply in a century worldwide. That’s impressive and amazing, but far from the only tool necessary to deal with climate change. Solar will be in the same range. Storage will likely be necessary somewhere from 15% to 20% and grid interconnections will improve substantially. Biomass and geothermal will add their bits, as will tidal possibly. And demand for electricity will go up a lot as countries become richer and transportation and other forms of energy usage become electrified. It’s a complex space, and CCS has an important if smaller and only bridging role to play in it. Nuclear is useful as well, although diminishing as a percentage of total worldwide generation.

But the heavy lifting will be done by displacing fossil fuel generation with renewables, not trying to mitigate the extraordinary problems with burning fossil fuels or building nuclear generation. That’s what the empirical data tells us………. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/29/wind-energy-beats-nuclear-carbon-capture-global-warming-mitigation/

July 30, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | Leave a comment

Hot weather forcing Sweden to cut nuclear reactors’ output

nuke-hotflag-SwedenSweden’s nuclear plants forced to cut output due to warm weather Planet Ark,  24-Jul-14  Balazs Koranyi Sweden’s top nuclear power generators have been forced to cut output because of exceptionally warm weather in Scandinavia, and their output could be reduced for over a week, their operators said on Wednesday.

Oskarshamn, part of Germany’s E.ON and Forsmark, operated by Swedish utility Vattenfall have both cut output because warm sea water temperatures are limiting their ability to cool down.

“For each degree above 23 decrees Celsius in the cooling water, each unit has to decrease power by 3 percent,” Forsmark said in a market message. “It is uncertain how long this will last, but according to meteorologists, the warm weather will last for at least 11 more days.”

Temperatures exceeded 30 degrees in the southern part of Scandinavia this week, hitting their highest level in years…….http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/71927

July 26, 2014 Posted by | climate change, Sweden | Leave a comment

Shut down Indian point nuclear plant for summer – say environmental regulators

nuke-hotFlag-USANew York environment regulators seek summer shutdown at Indian Point Planet Ark, : 22-Jul-14 Scott DiSavino  New York state environmental regulators are proposing shutting the giant Indian Point nuclear power plant to protect fish in the Hudson River during summer months, when demand for electricity for air-conditioning is greatest…………The DEC said in an email that the proposal, which will be discussed in a public meeting on Tuesday, is similar to what Consolidated Edison Inc did when it owned the reactors and is consistent with the practice of other facilities on the Hudson……

The DEC proposal is the latest salvo in a lengthy battle between Entergy Corp, which owns Indian Point and wants to keep the plant operating for another 20 years, and state environmental regulators, who are seeking to protect fish and other aquatic life.

Indian Point withdraws up to 2.5 billion gallons of water per day from the Hudson to cool equipment, and then discharges that water back into the river  warmer than before.

Environmental groups and the DEC have long argued that Indian Point’s water intake system kills about a billion fish, fish eggs and larvae each year, and the plant should install cooling towers to reduce the use of river water by recycling it…….Before the NRC can grant new licenses, the state must approve water permits. http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/71913

July 26, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power bad for climate: Climate Change bad for nuclear power

globalnukeHow Nuclear Worsens Climate Change, Sierra Club,    May 28, 2014 The nuclear industry has been selling the world a story that nuclear power is a solution to climate change because it does not generate carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas. While this is true of the nuclear chain reaction itself, the front and back ends of nuclear power generate a large volume of CO2 and leave a trail of endlessly dangerous radioactivity along the way.

 ☢ Nuclear power has a big carbon footprint. At the front end of nuclear power, carbon energy is used for uranium mining, milling, processing, conversion, and enrichment, as well as for transportation, formulation of rods and construction of nuclear reactors (power plants). At the back end, there is the task of isolation of highly radioactive nuclear waste for millennia—a task which science has so far not been able to address. Large amounts of water are also used, first in mining and then in cooling the reactors.
All along the nuclear fuel chain, radioactive contamination of air, land and water occurs. Uranium mine and mill cleanup demands large amounts of fossil fuel. Each year 2,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste and twelve million cubic-feet of low-level radioactive waste are generated in the U.S. alone. None of this will magically disappear. Vast amounts of energy will be needed to isolate these dangerous wastes for generations to come.
☢ Nuclear power takes too long to deploy. Construction of the 1500 new reactors that the nuclear industry claims are needed to address global warming would mean opening a new reactor once every 2 weeks for the next 60 years. Reactors can take 10-15 years to build with an estimated cost of $12-15 billion each. In the past, cost and time needed for construction have each more than doubled from original estimates. We need to supply low-carbon energy sources NOW.
☢ Nuclear power is not suited for warming climates. Nuclear reactors need  enormous amounts of cool water to continually remove heat from their cores. Reactors  have been forced to close during heat waves due to warmth of sea, lake or river water — just when electricity is being used most. Low water levels during heat and drought have also forced reactors to shut down. In addition, cooling causes serious damage to aquatic life, killing millions of fish and untold numbers of macroinvertebrates, aquatic eggs and larvae.

☢ Six times as much carbon can be saved with efficiency or wind. Benjamin Sovacool from the Institute for Energy and Environment at Vermont Law School averaged the high and low estimates of carbon pollution from nuclear power. His study revealed that nuclear power’s carbon emissions are well below scrubbed coal-fired plants, natural gas-fired plants and oil. However, nuclear emits twice as much carbon as solar photovoltaic and six times as much as onshore wind farms. Energy efficiency and some of the other renewables also beat nuclear by sixfold or more.
☢ Nuclear power is not flexible. Nuclear is all-or-nothing power. A reactor can’t be geared to produce less power when electricity from renewables (like wind and solar) increases on the grid. This can make it challenging to increase renewables past a certain point. (continued on page 2)
When a reactor shuts down due to accident, planned upgrade or permanent closure, a large amount of power has to be found elsewhere. And nuclear plants are being closed, not opened — some because they no longer are making a profit. It’s important to develop renewablesNOW to be able to replace the electricity when utilities announce plans to close reactors.
☢ Nuclear subsidies rob research on renewables. Nuclear power has been subsidized throughout most of its fuel chain. In 2011 the Union of Concerned Scientists published Nuclear Power, Still Not Viable without Subsidies. This report shows that in some cases subsidies were greater than the value of the electricity produced. Subsidies are supposed to be for new innovations — not for propping up outdated technologies like fossil fuels and nuclear. Nuclear is also a dirty extractive industry – and like coal, oil and gas, nuclear depends on a limited supply of natural resources (uranium) in the ground.
☢ Cost of nuclear is going up, while cost of renewables is going down.Estimates for new reactors are, on average, four times higher than estimates from just eight years ago. Estimates for new reactors are invariably far less than the final cost, with the final cost often doubling. Sometimes, as in the cases of the Columbia Generating Station, Cherokee, and Perry, billions were spent while the reactors were never finished. Costs of renewables continue going down while their efficiency increases. ……. http://content.sierraclub.org/grassrootsnetwork/sites/content.sierraclub.org.activistnetwork/files/teams/documents/SierraNuclearClimate%20%284%29.pdf

July 23, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

A global record – hot temperatures in June this year

climate-changeJune a global scorcher as records melt, The Age July 22, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Last month was a scorcher for global temperatures with warmth over land and sea breaking records for June while sea-surface temperatures posted their largest departure from long-term averages for any month.

Combined average temperatures over land and sea were 0.72 degrees above the 20th century average of 15.5 degrees, making it the hottest June and adding to the record May and equal record April, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

More striking for climatologists, though, were the sea-surface temperatures. These came in 0.64 degrees above the 20th century average of 16.4 degrees – the first time any month had exceeded the long-run norm by more than 0.6 degrees.

Parts of all major ocean basins notched their warmest June, with almost all the Indian Ocean and regions off south-eastern Australia the hottest on record.

An El Nino event remains about a 70 per cent chance of forming during the northern summer, which could see more records tumble. The weather pattern sees the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean becoming relatively warm compared with western regions, and typically brings hotter, drier than usual conditions to south-east Asia and Australia.

Australia posted its hottest 12 months on record in the year to June, while 2013 was the hottest calendar year in more than a century of records, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

While June was another month of above-average temperatures, Western Australia and the Northern Territory were cooler than normal – breaking a sequence begun in February in which every state or territory had above-average warmth, NOAA noted.

June was the 352nd month when global temperatures were above the 20th century average – with the last below-average month in February 1985……….

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/june-a-global-scorcher-as-records-melt-20140722-zvhzq.html#ixzz38MCEc5oI

July 23, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate Change challenge to Koch brothers – and from other billionaires!

The Billionaire War Heats Up Slate.com 17 July 14 The richest people in America are turning on one another—over climate change.By  Move over, Al Gore. There’s a new wealthy environmentalist whom conservatives love to hate. If you haven’t heard of him yet, meet Tom Steyer…….In a biographical post on his super PAC’s website labeled “accountability,” Steyer says “climate change has not always been on my radar.” In 2012, after founding Farallon Capital Management and running it for more than 25 years (amassing a billion-dollar fortune in the process), he left his post to work on global warming full time.

As the Washington Post reported last year, to reduce his footprint (which is probably still pretty big), Steyer chooses to take the red eye. He doesn’t shy away from the occasional environmental campaign rally, but he’s not about to guilt trip you for not switching out your light bulbs, either. His target is much bigger: the American political process itself.

In response to his efforts to make global warming a major political issue in the runup to the 2014 midterm elections,
Koch-bros-textClimate change challenge tSteyer is fast drawing the ire of the political landscape’s resident oil-money billionaires, the Koch brothers. Their talking point is simple: Tom Steyer is one of us, so lefties should demonize him, too. As Slate’s David Weigel wrote, “Republicans are trying to Koch-ify Tom Steyer in just five or six months.”

Ever since February, when Steyer announced a $100 million campaign to fight climate change, critics have been eager to pick at anything that may tarnish his green label. Steyer’s campaign—$50 million of his own, and $50 million from his super PAC, NextGen Climate—is primarily meant to encourage action on global warming……….

teyer doesn’t dispute that he “was for coal before he was against it.” In an op-ed in Politico on Monday, Steyer explained his about-face from hedge fund capitalist to environmental crusader, in an attempt to set the record straight:

[I]t’s true—Farallon did make fossil fuel investments under my watch. But the more I learned about the energy and climate problems we currently face, the more I realized I had to change my life. I concluded that the best way to align my work with my beliefs was to make a real change—leaving my role managing a firm with investments across the industrial spectrum, and instead joining in the global effort to find a solution to climate change once and for all.

Steyer says that he’s completely divested his personal holdings from the fossil fuel industry as of June 30 though certainly that won’t stop the right from claiming that he’s being hypocritical. But that’s missing the point. It’s not Steyer’s dollars (or even the source of those dollars) that will make the biggest difference but his example of putting his money where his mouth is. In his Politico piece, he offers an incredibly personal description of his epiphany and his decision to dedicate himself to tackling global warming on behalf of his children’s generation. Steyer has done something that’s still far too unusual: He’s admitting he was wrong on climate change and that he wants to rectify it. It’s that kind of honesty that we’ll all need to embrace if we’re to face the steep climb of remaking the global economy into one that isn’t tied to carbon with a full head of steam (or, electrons, as the case may be).

Meanwhile, in a world where money defines political clout, most billionaires aren’t as eager to ruffle the status quo. The few who are stand out. Last month, Steyer joined billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and near-billionaire former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to release a high-profile report on the economic effects of climate change in the United States. That report called for the leaders of the business community to address the growing specter of climate change out of their own self-interest: to avoid economic risk. With their billions in annual revenue as part of the fossil fuel industry, the Koch brothers may want to take note……….http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/07/tom_steyer_koch_brothers_billionaires_are_battling_over_climate_change.html

 

July 21, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Climate consequences of nuclear war shown by computer models

globalnukeNOComputer Models Show What Exactly Would Happen To Earth After A Nuclear War Let’s take a detailed look at some of these super-fun conclusions, shall we? Francie Diep Australian Popular Science
 Jul 19 2014 You’ve seen what a nuclear winter looks like, as imagined by filmmakers and novelists. Now you can take a look at what scientists have to say. In a new study, a team of four U.S. atmospheric and environmental scientists modeled what would happen after a “limited, regional nuclear war.” To inexpert ears, the consequences sound pretty subtle—two or three degrees of global cooling, a nine percent reduction in yearly rainfall. Still, such changes could be enough to trigger crop failures and famines. After all, these would be cooler temperatures than the Earth has seen in 1,000 years.

First, what happened?

The team imagines 100 nuclear warheads, each about the size of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima, detonate over the Indian subcontinent. The team members are imagining an India-Pakistan nuclear war. It seems unfair to single out these nations, but I guess they’re the poster children because they have relatively small nuclear stockpiles compared to countries such as the U.S., Russia and China. The idea is, If these lightweights can do this to Earth, imagine what the bigwigs can do.

After the Indian-Pakistani nuclear exchange…

  • Five megatons of black carbon enter the atmosphere immediately. Black carbon comes from burned stuff and it absorbs heat from the sun before it can reach the Earth. Some black carbon does eventually falls back to Earth in rain…………..
This new paper combined a number of those state-of-the-art models. If you check out the paper, published in the journal Earth’s Future, you can see how these conclusions compare to previous climate-model-based calculations. Different modeling efforts have come up with slightly different years for when the Earth would be coldest after a nuclear war, for example, but they generally agree that the effects would be, well, severe and long-term……..http://www.popsci.com.au/tech/military/computer-models-show-what-exactly-would-happen-to-earth-after-a-nuclear-war,390091

July 21, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Global warming bringing extreme weather to Australia – droughts and floods

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmAustralia’s drought – yes, it’s climate change http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2483139/australias_drought_yes_its_climate_change.html Tim Radford 18th July 2014 Australia’s prime minister thinks climate change is ‘crap’ and has just abolished his country’s carbon-pricing system. But scientists say that it’s rising levels of CO2 that are leaving the south of the country parched and sweltering – and it’s only going to get worse.

American scientists have just confirmed that parts of Australia are being slowly parched because of greenhouse gas emissions.

A report in Nature Geoscience shows that the long-term decline in rainfall over south and south-west Australia is a consequence of fossil fuel burning and depletion of the ozone layer by human activity. Such a finding is significant for two reasons. One remains contentious: it is one thing to make generalised predictions about the consequences overall of greenhouse gas levels, but it is quite another to pin a measured regional climatic shift directly on human causes, rather than some possible as-yet-unidentified natural cycle of climatic change.

The other is contentiously political.

Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, has in the past dismissed climate science as “crap”, and more recently has cut back on Australian research spending.

Bush fires and catastrophic flooding

Australia has already experienced a pattern of heat waves and drought – punctuated by catastrophic flooding – and even now, in the Australian winter, New South Wales is being hit by bush fires.

Tom Delworth, a research scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reports in Nature Geoscience that he and a colleague conducted a series of long-term climate simulations to study changes in rainfall across the globe.

One striking pattern of change emerged in Australia, where winter and autumn rainfall patterns are increasingly a cause of distress for farmers and growers in two states.

The simulation showed that the decline in rainfall was primarily a response to man-made increases in greenhouse gases, as well as to a thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer in response to emissions of destructive gases by human sources.

The computer simulations tested a series of possible causes for this decline, such as volcanic eruptions and changes in solar radiation. But the only cause that made sense of the observed data was the greenhouse explanation.

It began in 1970, and it hasn’t stopped yet

South Australia has never been conspicuously lush and wet, but decline in precipitation set in around 1970, and this decline has increased in the last four decades.

The simulations predict that the decline will go on, and that average rainfall will drop by 40% over south-west Australia later this century.

Dr Delworth described his model as “a major step forward in our effort to improve the prediction of regional climate change”.

In May, scientists proposed that greenhouse gas emissions were responsible for a change in Southern Ocean wind patterns, which in turn resets the thermostat for the world’s largest island.

Australian scientists report in Geophysical Research Letters that they, too, have been using climate models to examine Antarctic wind patterns and their possible consequences for the rest of the planet.

Another consequence: accelerated ice sheet melt

“When we included projected Antarctic wind shifts in a detailed global ocean model, we found water up to 4°C warmer than current temperatures rose up to meet the base of the Antarctic ice shelves”, said Paul Spence, a researcher at Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. This temperature rise is twice previous estimates.

“This relatively warm water provides a huge reservoir of melt potential right near the grounding lines of ice shelves around Antarctica. It could lead to a massive increase in the rate of ice sheet melt, with direct consequences for global sea level rise.”

Since the West Antarctic ice sheet holds enough water to raise sea levels by 3.3 metres, the consequences would indeed be considerable.

“When we first saw the results it was quite a shock”, said Dr Spence. “It was one of the few cases where I hoped the science was wrong.”

July 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Anti science, climate denialism, championed by electing Australia’s Tony Abbott

History will condemn climate change denialists    theguardian.com, Wednesday 16 July 2014  Tony Abbott was elected by the right-wing of his party for a single purpose: to destroy any meaningful action in Australia against the threat of climate changeAbbott Koch policies

The argument for radical action on climate change– which Australia will soon at least temporarily reject with the shameful decision to repeal the carbon tax – is embarrassingly simple.

For the past 200 years, western culture has granted science pre-eminent cultural authority. A quarter century ago, a consensus formed among contemporary scientists specialising in the study of the climate. The consensus comprised one principal idea: the primary source of energy on which industrial civilisation relied – the burning of fossil fuels – was dangerously increasing the temperature of the earth.

Thousands upon thousands of scientific studies have been conducted estimating the impact of this warming. Hundreds of outstanding books have been published making the conclusions of the scientists available to the general public. To anyone willing to listen, these scientists have explained that unless human beings derive their energy from sources other than fossil fuels, the future that we face over the next decades and centuries involves the rendering of large parts of the earth uninhabitable to humans and other species – through the melting of the ice caps and glaciers and thus steadily rising sea levels, the acidification of the oceans, the destruction of forests and coral reefs, and the increase in the prevalence and intensity of famines, insect-borne diseases, droughts, bush fires, floods, hurricanes and heat-waves.

Climate scientists also explained that radical action on climate change could not be delayed. …….

As global emissions increased, something surpassingly strange occurred in the realm of politics in the US – something without parallel in the history of the post-Enlightenment west since the Darwinian controversy. The emergence of a broad-based movement of thought challenging the sovereignty of science in one specialised field.

Anti-science climate change denialism began with money cynically and strategically supplied by the massive American fossil fuel corporations. From there it spread to the powerful US network of neo-liberal “think-tanks” whose purpose was to produce the ideas helping to make the world safe for the wealthiest members of the society – the so-called 1%. And from the think-tanks climate change denialism steadily spread downwards to American society more generally, thanks to rabid right wing media like Fox News, until it was powerful enough to capture, almost in its entirety, one of America’s traditional political parties, the republicans.

As a consequence of the spread of climate change denialism, tens of millions of American citizens now base their opinions on the kind of pseudo-knowledge manufactured by the climate change denialist blogs and disseminated daily by the right-wing media. They have come to treat the questions of whether the earth is warming, and if so why, as political matters concerning which those without any genuine scientific understanding or training are as qualified to form an opinion as professors who have devoted their lives to one of the disciplines of climate science.

Climate change denialism soon spread beyond the US, especially to the countries of the English-speaking world. As Australia is a country extremely sensitive to the cultural winds blowing in from the US, reliant on the export and consumption of coal, and where the denialist Murdoch newspapers exercise enormous unhealthy influence, it is hardly surprising that over the past decade climate change denialism quickly sunk deep roots here.,,,,,

The right-wing denialists, now dominant within the Coalition, often call themselves conservatives. They are not. At the heart of true conservatism is the belief that each new generation forms the vital bridge between past and future, and is charged with the responsibility of passing the earth and its cultural treasures to their children and grandchildren in sound order. History will condemn the climate change denialists, here and elsewhere, for their contribution to the coming catastrophe that their cupidity, their arrogance, their myopia and their selfishness have bequeathed to the young and the generations still unborn. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/16/history-will-condemn-climate-change-denialists

July 17, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Global warming – grounds for judge to reject coal project!

highly-recommendedjusticeCoal Mine’s Rejection on Global-Warming Grounds Has Major Implications http://insideclimatenews.org/carbon-copy/20140701/coal-mines-rejection-global-warming-grounds-has-major-implications If the judge’s reasoning holds up in other cases it could undermine the rationales for much bigger projects, such as the Keystone XL pipeline.

By John H. Cushman Jr., InsideClimate News A federal judge has blocked a coal project in the wilds of Colorado because federal agencies failed to consider the future global-warming damages from burning fossil fuels.

U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Johnson’s decision halts exploration proposed by Arch Coal that would have bulldozed six miles of roads on 1,700 untrammeled acres of public land.

When the agencies touted the supposed economic benefits of expanded coal mining in the Sunset Roadless Area, Johnson ruled, they should also have considered any global-warming costs.

The decision was a significant judicial endorsement of a policy tool known as the “social cost of carbon,” which economists and climate scientist use to put a price in today’s dollars on the damages from drought, flood, storm, fire, disease and so forth caused by future global warming due to our emissions from burning fossil fuels.

“It is arbitrary to offer detailed projections of a project’s upside while omitting a feasible projection of the project’s costs,” Johnson decreed.

The Obama administration has increasingly used the social-cost figure to help decide whether restraints on carbon dioxide emissions are worthwhile. Industry groups and their allies in Congress have sought to limit its use. Environmentalists call it a useful device for making clear that there are high costs as well as benefits to burning fossil fuels.

“This decision means that these agencies can’t bury their heads in the sand when confronting the very real impacts of climate change,” said Ted Zukoski, an attorney with Earthjustice, which represented conservationists who sued to block the mining expansion. f the judge’s reasoning holds up in other challenges to agency decisions, it could undermine the rationales for much bigger projects, such as the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. In its environmental review of the KXL, the State Department ignored repeated requests by the Environmental Protection Agency to estimate the social cost of carbon from burning the unusually dirty fuel the pipeline would deliver from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

In the Colorado case, the judge wrote, “by deciding not to quantify the costs at all, the agencies effectively zeroed out the cost.”

That violated a key precept of the National Environmental Policy Act, the judge said, which requires a “hard look” at all the environmental costs of government decisions.

That this can be difficult or contentious does not allow agencies “completely to ignore a tool in which an interagency group of experts invested time and expertise,” he wrote. “Common sense tells me that quantifying the effect of greenhouse gases in dollar terms is difficult at best. The critical importance of the subject, however, tells me that a ‘hard look’ has to include a ‘hard look’ at whether this tool, however imprecise it might be, would contribute to a more informed assessment of the impacts than if it were simply ignored.”

July 2, 2014 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power cannot curb Climate Change – theme for July 2014

In recent themes I wrote about nuclear power being in fact a big contributor to global warming,  and about how climate change will in fact finish off the nuclear industry.

But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few yeas to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power”   projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.

When we talk about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – that 1500 reactors needed translates to millions, (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)

COSTS: historically and now, the costs of the nuclear industry are staggering. Cost estimates have increased in the past decade from $1,000 to $7,000 per kW installed. And that’s before additional costs – e.g new safety measures, decommissioning are added. U.S. Vogtle project  originally budgeted at $660 million, by 2013 cost $9 billion.   Rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly “credit positive”.

Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

climate-change-time

 

 

June 28, 2014 Posted by | Christina's themes, climate change | 1 Comment

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