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If Amazon forest catches fire, world climate will be in even bigger trouble

Why we should all worry about the Amazon catching on fire this year, WP, By Chris Mooney July 12 When you Google “Amazon fires,” the first thing you encounter is a tablet device. But in the coming months, if scientific forecasts prove correct, that may change.

Researchers are increasingly concerned that the Amazon rain forest — the world’s largest tropical forest, a huge repository of carbon and a vital cycler of water into rainfall across much of South America — will soon burn in a way that has not been seen in many years.

The reason is the lingering effect of the recent El Nino event. Forecasts from NASA and the University of California-Irvine, and from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society suggest that because of how El Nino reduced precipitation in the region earlier this year, the Amazon is far drier than usual, and primed to burn once the dry season reaches its height this summer (the fire season runs from June through November with a September peak).

According to the NASA/U.C. Irvine forecast, the Amazon is currently “far drier than 2005 and 2010 — the last years when the region experienced drought.” The years 2005 and 2010 also saw major blazes in the Amazon.

Indeed, the NASA/U.C. Irvine researchers shared data suggesting that the storage of water in the Amazon in March of 2016, as measured by NASA’s twin GRACE satellites (which detect gravitational anomalies at the Earth’s surface), is far lower now than it was in March during these prior years.

“We have the possibility of killing hundreds of thousands of trees in the Amazon in 2016, if you let these fires start,” says Paulo Brando, an Amazon fire expert at the Woods Hole Research Center and Ipam (the Amazon Environmental Research Institute).

If these forecasts are verified, there will be a great deal at stake. It isn’t just that huge, dangerous clouds of smoke could reach major urban areas ranging from Manaus to Rio. It’s that the fires risk helping to tip the Amazon into a new state that scientists fear — one in which it will be drier, store less carbon, cycle less water and generate less rainfall.

That would be disastrous for the Earth’s climate overall. The Amazon alone stores an enormous amount of carbon,  120 billion tons worth. Put that stuff in the atmosphere and the result would be justly termed catastrophic………

It is important to note that so far, what we are looking at are bad fire forecasts for this summer in the Amazon — but not a catastrophe at this point. The forecasts may not be realized. (That happens!) And the forecasts could also drive at least some action in Brazil and other Amazon countries to take steps to prevent people from starting fires, blunting the potential consequences of drought.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that scientists continue to talk about the Amazon in the same way they talk about, say, West Antarctica or the overturning circulation of the Atlantic Ocean — as a delicate system that we could tip, with enormous consequences. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/12/the-ultimate-forest-fire-whatll-happen-when-the-amazon-burns/

July 15, 2016 Posted by | Brazil, climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Democratic Senators naming and blaming the funders of climate science denial

Koch-climate-changeUS Senators detail a climate science “web of denial” but the impacts go well beyond their borders
Australians have been both helpers and victims of the fossil fuelled web of climate science denial being detailed in the U.S Senate, Guardian,  , 12 July 16, By the middle of this week, about 20 Democratic Senators in the US will have stood up before their congress to talk about the fossil fuelled machinery of climate science denial.

The Senators are naming the fossil fuel funders, describing the machinery and calling out the characters that make up a “web of denial”.

“The web is so big, because it has so much to protect,” said the Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who bookended the first evening of speeches.

The senate heard how fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy and the billionaire oil brothers Charles and David Koch had funnelled millions into groups that had spread doubt about the causes of climate change.

In a resolution also being tabled, the upper house will be asked to acknowledge that the fossil fuel industry had done just what the tobacco industry had done – “developed a sophisticated and deceitful campaign that funded think tanks and front groups, and paid public relations firms to deny, counter, and obfuscate peer-reviewed research” and “used that misinformation campaign to mislead the public and cast doubt in order to protect their financial interest.”

Groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Heartland Institute, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and many, many others are under scrutiny for the way they have attacked the science linking fossil fuel burning to climate change while accepting cash from fossil fuel interests.

Whitehouse also took time to describe the large body of work in peer-reviewed journals that have examined the funding, the networks and the tactics of organised climate science denial. Climate science denial is itself a live area of academic research.

But the impact of climate science denial – the decades of policy delays, the confusion among the general public and the deliberate politicization of the science – does not stop at the US border. Continue reading

July 13, 2016 Posted by | climate change, politics, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Record 9 hottest years in a row

global-warming1We just broke the record for hottest year, nine straight times http://www.skepticalscience.com/broke-hottest-year-record-9-straight-times.html  11 July 2016 by dana1981 

2014 and 2015 each set the record for hottest calendar year since we began measuringsurface temperatures over 150 years ago, and 2016 is almost certain to break the record once again. It will be without precedent: the first time that we’ve seen three consecutive record-breaking hot years.

But it’s just happenstance that the calendar year begins in January, and so it’s also informative to compare all yearlong periods. In doing so, it becomes clear that we’re living in astonishingly hot times.

June 2015 through May 2016 was the hottest 12-month period on record. That was also true of May 2015 through April 2016, and the 12 months ending in March 2016. In fact, it’s true for every 12 months going all the way back to the period ending in September 2015, according to global surface temperature data compiled by Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way. We just set the record for hottest year in each of the past 9 months.

These record temperatures have been assisted by a very strong El Niño event, which brought warm water to the ocean surface, temporarily warming global surface temperatures. But today’s temperatures are only record-setting because the El Niño was superimposed on top of human-caused global warming.

For comparison, 1997–1998 saw a very similar monster El Niño event. And similarly, the 12-month hottest temperature record was set in each month from October 1997 through August 1998. That was likewise a case of El Niño and global warming teaming up to shatter previous temperature records.

The difference is that while September 1997–August 1998 was the hottest 12-month period on record at the time; it’s now in 60th place. It’s been surpassed by yearlong periods in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Many of those years weren’t even aided by El Niño events; unassisted global warming made them hotter than 1998.

Global surface temperatures are now more than 0.3°C hotter than they were in 1997–1998. That’s a remarkable rise over just 18 years, in comparison to the 1°C the Earth’s average surface temperatures have risen since the Industrial Revolution began.

This has all happened during a time when ‘no significant warming in 18 years’ has been one of the rallying cries of climate denial. In reality, when we compare apples to apples – El Niño years to El Niño years – we’ve seen more than 0.3°C global surface warming over the past 18 years, which is in line with climate model predictions. ‘Climate models are wrong’ has been another now-debunked climate denial rallying cry.

Now that the past year’s El Niño event is over, the streak of record-breaking yearlong periods appears to have ended. Nevertheless, 2016 remains on track to break that record for the hottest calendar year, for an unprecedented third consecutive year, following record years in 2010 and 2005 as well.

With the Earth warming dangerously rapidly, at a rate 20–50 times faster than the fastest rate of natural global warming, one can’t help but wonder when the influence of the small minority of disproportionately powerful climate denial groups will wane.

195 countries pledged to curb their carbon pollution in the tremendously successful Parisclimate negotiations, but climate denial is still predominant in one of America’s two political parties, and may be gaining foothold in other regions of the Anglosphere like the UK and Australia. Fortunately, many other countries like ChinaIndia, and Canada seem to be moving in the right direction with their climate and energy policies.

Click here to read the rest

July 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Warning to Teresa May on climate threats to Brexit Britain

climate-changeflag-UKMay warned on climate threats to Brexit Britain Climate Home  12/07/2016, The incoming government must prepare for floods and heatwaves even as EU negotiations dominate politics, say advisers By Megan Darby

When Theresa May takes over as prime minister of Britain on Wednesday, climate change might not be top of her agenda.

The former home secretary has to renegotiate relations with the EU, the rest of the world and heal a divided country. But the impacts of global warming are not going away, a report by the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warns.

Heatwaves like the one that killed an estimated 2,000 British citizens in 2003 are projected to become the norm by the 2040s. To prevent more excess summer deaths, government needs to regulate for cooler buildings today, the CCC advises.

It is one of six priorities for action, in a review of evidence pulled together by 80 authors over three years.

Many of the issues are unchanged since the CCC last undertook a similar assessment five years ago.

Flooding remains at the top of the list, a status only reinforced by hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage wreaked by storms in Cumbria last December. “The risks don’t change because of Brexit,” said Lord Krebs, chair of the adaptation sub-committee. But he added: “Some of the legislation that might underpin our resilience and preparation for future climate changes is EU legislation and therefore there will be a need in due course to replace that with national legislation.”

Meanwhile, the uncertainty is denting confidence for investment in resilient infrastructure, said report co-author Swenja Surminski, from the London School of Economics………

While May has not been vocal on the issue, as a member of the National Security Council, she was involved in a 2015 review that outlined how global warming could trigger political instability, conflict and migration.

“Our long-term objective is to strengthen the resilience of poor and fragile countries to disasters, shocks and climate change,” it concluded. “This will save lives and reduce the risk of instability.” http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/07/12/may-warned-on-climate-threats-to-brexit-britain/

July 13, 2016 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Frivolous lawsuits aimed to attack climate scientists

climate-changeClimate scientists are under attack from frivolous lawsuits, Skeptical Science Lauren Kurtz 7 July 2016 Today’s climate scientists have a lot more to worry about than peer review. Organizations with perverse financial incentives harass scientists with lawsuit after lawsuit, obstructing research and seeking to embarrass them with disclosures of private information.

On June 14th, an Arizona court ruled that thousands of emails from two prominent climatescientists must be turned over to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a group that disputes the 97% expert consensus on human-caused climate change and argues against action to confront it. E&E and its attorneys are funded by Peabody CoalArch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, coal corporations with billions of dollars in revenue.

Formerly named the American Tradition Institute, E&E has been described as “filing nuisance suits to disrupt important academic research.”

E&E originally attacked Dr. Michael Mann, whose research shows a dramatic increase in recent temperatures in a graph popularly known as the “hockey stick.” In 2011, the group sued under Virginia open records laws to obtain six years of Dr. Mann’s emails from the University of Virginia—over 10,000 messages in total. The Virginia Supreme Court denied E&E’s claims and ruled that academic research correspondence should be protected because release would cause “harm to university-wide research efforts, damage to faculty recruitment and retention, undermining of faculty expectations of privacy and confidentiality, and impairment of free thought and expression.”

E&E did not relent. Despite losing in Virginia, the group brought another open records case in Arizona to demand the same six years of emails—this time from Dr. Mann’s coauthor, University of Arizona professor Dr. Malcolm Hughes. Additionally, E&E sued for thirteen years of emails from UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leadauthor Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, also at the University of Arizona.

In court filings, E&E acknowledges it seeks emails that, in its words, “embarrass both Professors Hughes and Overpeck and the University.” These smear tactics serve no role in scientific discourse, but are an attempt to distract, disrupt, and intimidate legitimate researchers.

n an ongoing federal case, the conservative group Judicial Watch—which claims climatescience is a “fraud science”—has sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for thousands of climate scientists’ emails related to a 2015 climate change study published in ScienceCongressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who accusedNOAA of having an “extreme climate change agenda,” unsuccessfully sought the same emails last year.

In addition to the Arizona case, E&E attorney Christopher Horner paired with another fossil fuel industry funded-group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to sue for the emails of climate communications professor Dr. Edward Maibach. While Dr. Maibach sought to intervene in the litigation, the judge ruled that he lacked jurisdiction. Thousands of pages of Dr. Maibach’s emails were released, and plaintiffs posted them to the internet with quotes pulled out of context and commentary calling him and other climateresearchers “frauds,” “snake oil salesman,” and worse.

Click here to read the rest      http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-scientists-under-attack-frivolous-lawsuits.html

July 8, 2016 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

USA media keeps the issue of climate change off the political agenda

USA election 2016climate-changeClimate change: the missing issue of the 2016 campaign, Guardian 5 July 16 
Guardian US survey reveals anger of voters as election year debate fails to deal with concerns over the gathering global disaster by Ed Pilkington and Mona Chalabi  
The race for the White House is failing to grapple with the key issues of the day, especially the urgent need to combat climate change before atmospheric changes become irreversible, a slice of the American electorate believes.

As the primary election season turns toward a head-to-head between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is increasing anger and frustration over the nature of the contest. A Guardian call-out to online readers in the US asking them to reflect on the race so far was met by a barrage of criticism on the tone and substance of the world’s most important election – with the two main parties, individual candidates and the media all coming under heavy fire.

The Guardian asked readers to identify the “one issue that affects your life you wish the presidential candidates were discussing more”. Resoundingly, the largest group of participants pointed to climate change………

The concerns of voters came to light as part of the Guardian’s Voices of America series which aims to highlight the way key issues have been ignored or under-played during a primary season when trivial personal attacks seemed to take precedence over substantial debate of issues that matter.

The Guardian call-out was not a poll, and as such was not a controlled survey of opinion. But it does illuminate a largely hidden depth of concern, particularly among liberal Americans, about a gathering global disaster that has tended to be discussed, if at all, at the fringes of the presidential debate…….

The climatologist Michael Mann, who is director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said he did believe that Clinton and Sanders had engaged in meaningful dialogue about climate change, and pointed the finger of blame at the media for failing fully to reflect that. He added that as the general election gets underway he hoped there would be more focus on “substantive and critical differences in the views of the candidates, and less focus on frivolous and prurient matters that serve as little more than distraction and misdirection”.

Mann said: “The American people could not have a starker choice before them between a presumptive candidate of one of the two parties who recognizes the risk posted by human-caused climate change and articulates solutions, and the presumptive candidate of the other party, who denies that climate change is even real.”……..https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/05/climate-change-voters-2016-election-issues?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco

July 6, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

New climate change strategy adopted by Small Pacific Island States

Small Island States adopt new climate change strategy http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/307877/small-island-states-adopt-new-climate-change-strategy The Forum Secretariat’s Alfred Schuster, 4 July 16 The Small Island States of the Pacific Islands Forum have adopted a new climate change strategy to ensure their vulnerabilities are addressed as part of the regional policy agenda.

The strategy was agreed to by leaders from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu at a meeting last week in Palau.

The Forum Secretariat’s Development Co-operation Advisor, Alfred Schuster, says addressing climate change is one of the top priorities of the strategy.

He says the Small Island States want to band together when applying for climate change mitigation funding from the United Nations.

“It’ll be a new approach, from what we understand a joint proposal of countries and governments hasn’t yet been brought to the attention of the Green Climate Fund. But we’d like to think it’s a much more strategic way in light of the administrative burden and administrative requirements of the Green Climate Fund to generate the sort of revenue that’s required by the SIS.”

July 4, 2016 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Pacific Island of Kiribati faces eventual inundation, as searises

A Remote Pacific Nation,Threatened by Rising Seas

Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of the people of tiny Kiribati, and even the island nation’s existence. The government is making plans for the island’s demise.
Kiribati 15
Text by MIKE IVES Photographs and video by JOSH HANERJULY 2, 2016“…..For years, scientists have been predicting that much of Kiribati may become uninhabitable within decades because of an onslaught of environmental problems linked to climate change. And for just as long, many here have paid little heed. But while scientists are reluctant to attribute any specific weather or tidal event to rising sea levels, the tidal surge last winter, known as a king tide, was a chilling wake-up call.

Pacific island nations are among the world’s most physically and economically vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events like floods, earthquakes and tropical cyclones, the World Bank said in a 2013 report. While world powers have summit meetings to negotiate treaties on how to reduce and mitigate carbon emissions, residents of tiny Kiribati, a former British colony with 110,000 people, are debating how to respond before it is too late.

Much of Kiribati, a collection of 33 coral atolls and reef islands scattered across a swath of the Pacific Ocean about twice the size of Alaska, lies no higher than six feet above sea level. The latest climate models predict that the world’s oceans could rise five to six feet by 2100. The prospects of rising seas and intensifying storms “threaten the very existence and livelihoods of large segments of the population,” the government told the United Nations in a report last year. Half of the 6,500-person village of Bikenibeu, for instance, could be inundated by 2050 by sea-level rises and storm surges,according to a World Bank study.

The study lays out Kiribati’s future in apocalyptic detail. ……

a 2011 government-commissioned report cast doubt on whether the World Bank project helped Kiribati prepare for climate change. And while the mangroves and water management plans have helped, a 2014 study said the first round of sea walls, made of sandbags, had proved counterproductive and caused more erosion.

“Adaptation is just this long, ugly, hard slog,” said the study’s lead author, Simon Donner, a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “The idea that an outside organization can just come in with money, expertise and ideas and implement something easily is naïve. What you need is consistent, long-term funding — the type of stuff that’s hard to pull off with development aid.”….

migration may become increasingly important. Mr. Tong said he hoped to prepare his people to move with job-training programs that would meet standards recognized in Australia and New Zealand. “The science of climate change is not 100 percent precise,” he said in the interview. “But we know without any argument that, in time, our people will have to relocate unless there are very, very significant resources committed to maintain the integrity of the land…..”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/world/asia/climate-NYT, change-kiribati.html?

July 4, 2016 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

World action effective against damage to ozone layer: our choices can help

The world decided to take an action on these chemicals, and the planet is responding as we expected. People can take heart by seeing that our choices can help the environment.”

Ozone depletion 15Hole in the ozone layer is finally ‘healing’ ABC Science  Dani Cooper 1 July 16 The ozone hole over Antarctica is finally “healing” almost 30 years after the world banned the chemicals responsible for its creation, researchers say.

Key points:

  • The ozone hole fluctuates from year to year due to natural factors
  • Last year volcanic eruptions increased the hole to its largest size ever
  • But now there is evidence it is finally on a downward trend
  • This is 30 years after the decision to ban the chemicals that created it

According to the latest measurements, the ozone hole above the Antarctic is now smaller than it was around the year 2000, by about 4 million square kilometres.

However, renowned ozone hole expert Professor Susan Solomon, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the hole still averages about 17 million square kilometres in size.

“It isn’t completely healed, but it’s better than the 21 million we had around 2000,” she said. The surprise finding comes just a year after scientists reported the ozone hole was the biggest it had ever been.

However, Professor Solomon and colleagues have pinpointed the growth in the hole in 2015 to the eruption of the Calbuco volcano in Chile, which increased particles in the Antarctic stratosphere.

“The reason we have an ozone hole is because Antarctica is so cold that clouds form in the Antarctic stratosphere, and chlorine can react on the surfaces of those cloud particles,” Professor Solomon said.

“Volcanic particles are one thing that can serve as the ‘seed corn’ for those clouds, so a volcanic eruption will increase the clouds, and slow down the healing.”

Legacy of past pollutionThe ozone layer plays a critical role in protecting life on Earth by absorbing ultra-violet radiation from the sun. UV radiation is linked to skin cancer, genetic damage and immune system suppression in living organisms.

It is also linked to reduced productivity in agricultural crops and the food chain.

In 1987 there was an international decision to phase out the use of chlorine-containing gases called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were identified as being the main cause of depletion of the ozone layer.

But Professor Solomon said the chemicals that had led to the ozone hole had a life span of between 50 to 100 years in the atmosphere.

“These molecules have long lifetimes in our atmosphere so even though we aren’t making them anymore there is still a lot in the atmosphere,” she said.

“It will be many years before the hole closes completely, but we can now see signs that it is not only not getting worse, but actually starting to get better.”

Professor Solomon said the discovery, published today in Science, lent hope for the fight against climate change.

“The ozone example shows that when people engage with environmental problems, policymakers have a basis for making choices,” she said.

“The world decided to take an action on these chemicals, and the planet is responding as we expected. People can take heart by seeing that our choices can help the environment.”………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-01/hole-in-the-ozone-layer-is-finally-healing/7556416

 

 

July 1, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Brexit and Climate Change – examples of inter-generational theft

The inter-generational theft of Brexit and climate change, Skeptical Science,  27 June 2016 by dana1981In last week’s Brexit vote results, there was a tremendous divide between age groups. 73% of voters under the age of 25 voted to remain in the EU, while about 58% over the age of 45 voted to leave.

This generational gap is among the many parallels between Brexit and climate change. A 2014 poll found that 74% of Americans under the age of 30 support government policies to cut carbon pollution, as compared to just 58% of respondents over the age of 40, and 52% over the age of 65.

Inter-generational theft

The problem is of course that younger generations will have to live with the consequences of the decisions we make today for much longer than older generations. Older generations in developed countries prospered as a result of the burning of fossil fuels for seemingly cheap energy.

However, we’ve already reached the point where even contrarian economists agree, any further global warming we experience will be detrimental for the global economy. For poorer countries, we passed that point decades ago. A new paper examining climatecosts and fossil fuel industry profits for the years 2008–2012 found:

For all companies and all years, the economic cost to society of their CO2emissions was greater than their after‐tax profit, with the single exception of Exxon Mobil in 2008

For much of the time during which developed nations experienced strong economic growth as a result of fossil fuel consumption, we were unaware of the associated climatecosts. We can no longer use ignorance as an excuse. And yet the older generations, who experienced the greatest net benefit from carbon pollution, are now the least supportive of taking responsibility to pay for it. The longer we delay, the more devastating the consequences will be for the younger generations.

Similarly, today’s youth who are early in their career paths will face the harshest consequences of the Brexit vote that was dominated by older voters. As Jack Lennard put it:

This is a final middle-fingered salute to the young from the baby boomer generation. Not content with racking up insurmountable debt, not content with destroying any hopes of sustainable property prices or stable career paths, not content with enjoying the benefits of free education and generous pension schemes before burning down the ladder they climbed up, the baby boomers have given one last turd on the doorstep of the younger generation.

And as political journalist Nicholas Barrett said in a comment that subsequently went viral:

the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.

Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy.

A dangerous strain of anti-intellectualism……http://www.skepticalscience.com/inter-generational-theft-brexit-climate-change.html

June 29, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Plan for closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant to save money and carbon

Diablo Nuclear Earthquake Hazard USGSClosing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Will Save Money And Carbon, Forbes, Amory B. Lovins, Cofounder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute,  ablovins@rmi.org,www.rmi.org

A widespread claim—that dozens of nuclear plants, too costly to run profitably, now merit new subsidies to protect the earth’s climate—just collided with market reality.

The CEO of one of America’s most prominent and technically capable utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric Company—previously chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute and the Edison Electric Institute—just announced its decision (subject to regulatory approvals) to close PG&E’s well-running twin nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon because they’re uneconomic and won’t be needed.

Unlike previous nuclear shutdowns, some of which were too abrupt for immediate replacement with carbon-free resources, PG&E’s nuclear output will be phased out over 8–9 years, replaced timely and cost-effectively by efficiency and renewables. That means no more fossil fuel burned nor carbon emitted, all at less cost to ratepayers. How much less? Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says at least $1 billion (net present value to 2044).

PG&E also agrees that removing the inflexible “must-run” nuclear output, which can’t easily and economically ramp down much, will help integrate more renewable power reliably into the grid. Midday solar, rather than being increasingly crowded out by continued nuclear overgeneration, will be able to supply more energy. As Germany found, integrating varying solar and windpower with steady “baseload” plants can present challenges for the the opposite of the reason originally supposed: not because wind and solar power vary (demand varies even less predictably), but because “baseload” plants are too inflexible.

The big economic lesson here is that nuclear power’s ability to displace fossil-fueled generation is not simply about tons of carbon dioxide saved. Nuclear power also incurs an operating cost that for many reactors, including Diablo Canyon, has become very high. Saving and reinvesting that avoidable cost can buy a larger quantity of cheaper carbon-displacing resources, saving even more carbon. Nearly all commentators, even Bloomberg’s astute editorial board(twice), have overlooked this advantageous swap.

As the Italian proverb says, arithmetic is not an opinion. So let’s do the math.

Renewables and efficiency cost less than operating many nuclear plants

Diablo Canyon’s forward operating cost, about $70/MWh (levelized 2014 $), is in the top quartile of the national nuclear fleet according to the industry’s latest published data. That quartile’s national average operating cost in 2010–12 averaged $62/MWh in 2013 $. (These operating costs include major repairs, called Net Capital Additions, that tend to rise in the aging fleet, but they exclude all charges for the original construction cost and its financing.)

But carbon-free replacements cost far less. In California, windpower and utility-scale photovoltaics cost around $30–50/MWh to build and run. U.S.-average renewables cost roughly $10/MWh less than in California. Here are their empirical market prices:……..

Saving carbon by closing uneconomic reactors…….

Propaganda meets reality 
PG&E’s historic proposal contradicts each key premise of the crusade for more subsidies to avert the shutdown of uncompetitive nuclear plants. Most prominently, PG&E’s resource plan is designed specifically to get carbon-free replacements online to displace nuclear output before it’s turned off—not to substitute fossil fuels, as critics are vehemently assuming (as if they hadn’t read the proposal)……… http://www.forbes.com/sites/amorylovins/2016/06/22/close-a-nuclear-plant-save-money-and-carbon-improve-the-grid-says-pge/:

June 27, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Island states most at risk of global warming impact – Maldives want action

climate-changeMaldives urges rich countries to rapidly ratify Paris climate agreement
Environment and energy minister of small island state, one of the countries most at risk of global warming impacts, says ‘no time to waste’ on Paris deal,
Guardian, , 21 June 16 Rich countries must ratify the climate change agreement reached in Paris last December, one of the world’s most at-risk nations has warned.

Thoriq Ibrahim, environment and energy minister of the Maldives, told the Guardian that there was “no time to waste”, in ratifying the agreement that was reached more than six months ago, and that it should be a matter of urgency for industrialised countries.

So far, almost the only countries to have passed the accord into law are the small islands most at risk from rising sea levels, and other smaller developing nations.

France became the first large industrialised nation to ratify the Paris agreementonly earlier this month, although a ceremony was held in New York in April at which countries were supposed to affirm their commitment to the international agreement…….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/21/maldives-urges-rich-countries-to-rapidly-ratify-paris-climate-agreement

June 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

World Nuclear Association admits that nuclear power cannot curb global warming

text irrelevantNuclear new-build not fast enough to curb global warming: report, Reuters, LONDON | BY NINA CHESTNEY , 21 June 16 
Nuclear reactors are not being built rapidly enough around the world to meet targets on curbing global warming, a report by the World Nuclear Association, an industry body, said on Tuesday.

The association, which represents the global nuclear industry, says 1,000 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity needs to be added by 2050 so nuclear can supply around 25 percent of global electricity…….

“The rate of (nuclear) new build is insufficient if the world is to meet the targets for reducing the impacts of global warming…,” the report said.

The global nuclear industry continues to face challenges.

There are issues around the public acceptance of nuclear energy in some European countries; tough economic conditions for operators in parts of the United States and Europe where power prices have fallen due to a growing share of renewable sources and Japan has permanently closed six reactors which had been offline since the Fukushima accident in 2011, the report said…….

At the end of 2015 there were 66 civil power reactors under construction around the world and another 158 planned. The average construction time of a new reactor in 2015 was 73 months…http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-nuclear-idUSKCN0Z7257

June 22, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

California to move on to nuclear free, really clean action on climate change

California’s Last Nuclear Power Plant, NRDC, June 21, 2016 Rhea Suh For years, some have claimed that we can’t fight climate change without nuclear power, because shutting down nuclear plants would mean burning more fossil fuels to generate replacement electricity.

That’s wrong, of course, and now we have the proof.

Today, California’s Pacific Gas and Electric became the first power company to announce plans to replace an aging nuclear reactor with sound investments that make us more energy efficient and help us get more clean power from the wind and sun. The announcement was part of a joint proposal negotiated with help from NRDC and Friends of the Earth, since joined and improved on by labor and other environmental groups.

poster renewables not nuclear

When PG&E retires its two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, in 2024 and 2025, the electricity they generate will be replaced with gains in energy efficiency, renewable power, and pollution-free energy technologies. Closing California’s last nuclear power plant will also make the state’s grid more flexible, so more renewable energy can power California’s businesses and homes. And all of this will cost less than keeping Diablo Canyon open for another 20 years after its current Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses expire, ultimately saving customers more than $1 billion………

  • Last year, 62 percent of all the new electric-generating capacity installed in our country was powered by solar or wind, and growth in electricity use has slowed dramatically since 2000, thanks largely to energy efficiency improvements.The joint proposal — subject to approval by state and federal regulators — shows how we can keep the momentum going, and that’s what it’s going to take to protect future generations from the growing dangers of climate change.
  • Last year was the hottest since global recordkeeping began in 1880. This year is on track to be hotter still, with the hottest first five months of the year on record. And 19 of the hottest years on record have all occurred in the past 20 years.We’ve got to cut carbon pollution today so our kids don’t inherit more climate chaos tomorrow. That’s why, last December in Paris, the United States led China, India, and more than 180 other nations to put real plans on the table for shifting away from the dirty fossil fuels driving climate change to cleaner, smarter ways to power our future.

    The plan to replace nuclear reactors with efficiency gains and renewable power puts PG&E at the forefront of that global transition. It proves we can cut our carbon footprint with energy efficiency and renewable power, even as our aging nuclear fleet nears retirement. And it strikes a blow against the central environmental challenge of our time, the climate change that threatens our very future. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/rhea-suh/californias-last-nuclear-power-plant

June 22, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Colonialism is targeted, as indigenous youth build a climate justice movement

indigenousIndigenous Youth Are Building a Climate Justice Movement by Targeting Colonialism, 20 June 2016 By Jaskiran DhillonTruthout | Report  “Climate change is the defining issue of our time.” These urgent words came from 16-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, a young Indigenous man raised in the Aztec tradition, at a United Nations General Assembly event on climate change held on June 29, 2015. Roske-Martinez is the youth director for Earth Guardians, a nonprofit organization centered on galvanizing global youth leadership to defend the planet for current and future generations. He is mobilizing youth through school-based presentations, legal challenges, eco hip-hop and public talks — elevating the voices of young people near and far and empowering them to become forces of change in their own right.

Upon learning the federal courts upheld the rights of youth on April 8, 2016, in a landmark constitutional climate change case brought forward by Our Children’s Trust (representing 21 youth plaintiffs) against the US federal government and fossil fuel industry, Roske-Martinez made the following public statement:

When those in power stand alongside the very industries that threaten the future of my generation instead of standing with the people, it is a reminder that they are not our leaders. The real leaders are the twenty youth standing with me in court to demand justice for my generation and justice for all youth. We will not be silent, we will not go unnoticed, and we are ready to stand to protect everything our “leaders” have failed to fight for. They are afraid of the power we have to create change. And this change we are creating will go down in history.

And change things they will.

Roske-Martinez is not alone in his pursuit of environmental justice through the harnessing of young people’s power, experiential knowledge and visioning of a future world where balance has been restored on Earth. He is part of a growing battalion ofIndigenous youth warriors railing against the failure of governments, fossil fuel companies, domestic and international monitoring agencies, and human rights organizations to acknowledge the grave environmental destruction surfacing in the wake of Western-born models of industrialization and to be accountable around climate recovery. They are calling out the relentless rise of a global, capitalist social order promoting an extreme form of economic growth that results in the skyrocketing of wealth for few at the great expense of many.

Demanding the environmental movement contend first and foremost with the fundamental linkages between colonialism and climate change, Indigenous youth across Native North America are mounting resistance efforts to protect their ancestral homelands from further exploitation.

This is a timely endeavor, as natural gas and oil extraction continue unabated throughout Turtle Island, with lethal aftereffects, as recently witnessed with the Fort McMurray wildfire that burned the city to the ground. Simultaneously, Indigenous youth are developing locally based solutions to address the toxic impact of extractive processes on their communities. Indigenous Nations are often situated on the frontlines and forced to deal with the immediate fallout of environmental degradation such as contaminated soilopen-air wastewater pits and poisoned water sources. For Indigenous peoples, youth have always been at the heart of society, and future generations are a key motivation for the practice of maintaining balance with the world of relations…….

Close attention must be paid to the wisdom and knowledge of Indigenous youth and their communities as they attempt to heal and protect our planet from the harm that comes in the wake of a never-ending demand for more energy, regardless of the cost……http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36482-indigenous-youth-are-building-a-climate-justice-movement-by-targeting-colonialism

June 22, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

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