Hot Air Climate News Roundup
Something to keep in mind…
The fossil fuel industry
wants to solve the Climate Crisis
by using more fossil fuel.
DENIAL AND DEPLETION
As New York Takes Exxon to Court, Big Oil’s Strategy Against Climate Lawsuits Is Slowly Unveiled
Meanwhile, Tillerson said, Exxon's role in helping solve the crisis is to find technical solutions — another favorite oil and gas talking point — such as lower emission fuels. And he framed this search largely as a matter of consumer demand — not a response to a global emergency. “They can contribute to a solution to the problem because that's what people are going to want. And that's good for our business,” he told the court. …
Also like Tillerson, she (Gunasekara) was at pains to point out how “complex” an issue climate change is, but she went considerably further, praising the work of the coterie of deniers at the CO2 Coalition for asking “tough questions” as part of a “climate science discussion that is ongoing in a number of different applications, including the relative sensitivity of the planet to a mild and manageably warming climate that we have seen and that many have been talking about openly.”
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pounced on the CO2 Coalition's funding, asking a series of questions suggesting that Gunasekara was a proxy for the oil companies and other powerful interests, like the Mercers and the Kochs, that have spent millions to block climate progress.
Asked whether she was aware that the coalition was funded by those two families, Gunasekara at first pleaded ignorance, saying, “I just recently came on board as an advisor.”
When Ocasio-Cortez suggested Gunasekara was an “unwitting” helper of the Kochs’ and Mercers' interests, Gunasekara shot back that her “engagement with them is not unwitting,” but is “active, inspired, and educated.”
“Understood,” Ocasio-Cortez replied. “Thank you for your testimony that you are not unwittingly working for the Koch brothers.”
At that, the capacity crowd in the hearing room burst into laughter.
The Greatest Scam in History: How the Energy Companies Took Us All
Recently, a trial began in New York City accusing the company of misleading its investors, while Massachusetts is prosecuting ExxonMobil for misleading consumers as well.
If only it had just been that one company, but for more than 30 years, the fossil-fuel industry and its allies have denied the truth about anthropogenic global warming. …
A key aspect of the fossil-fuel industry’s disinformation campaign was the mobilization of “third-party allies”: organizations and groups with which it would collaborate and that, in some cases, it would be responsible for creating. …
Still, a crucial question about the fossil-fuel industry remains to be fully explored: Which of its companies have funded the activities of the trade organizations and other third-party allies who deny the facts about climate change? In some cases, we already know the answers. In 2006, for instance, the Royal Society of the United Kingdom documented ExxonMobil’s funding of 39 organizations that promoted “inaccurate and misleading” views of climate science. The Society was able to identify $2.9 million spent to that end by that company in the year 2005 alone. That, of course, was just one year and clearly anything but the whole story.
Everything So Far Has Failed: Why Exxon Mobil Is Being Taken to Court Over Climate Change
The Intercept 11-12-19
It was the careful framing of a prosecutor angling to win a case, but there was clearly more to the trial than that, a deeper explanation for the electric feeling running through Ostrager’s courtroom. There was a reason for the long line of people trying to get into the room that afternoon, and it was not some newfound, mass public interest in complex securities fraud litigation. People were drawn in because a seemingly untouchable corporation at the top of the industry responsible for the climate emergency was facing potentially serious damage in a publicly observable fashion. And it was not the only one. …
Exxon’s pushback was immediate and intense. The oil giant said the inquiries were “politically motivated and based on discredited reporting by activist organizations.” The company made efforts to block the probes. And the pressure had an effect: Three months after announcing that his office was joining with New York and Massachusetts, the attorney general for the Virgin Islands withdrew his subpoena for nearly four decades’ worth of Exxon documents.
Among the measures Exxon took in response to the investigations was to hire Ted Wells, one of the nation’s most prominent white-collar defense attorneys, whose clients have ranged from I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby — the former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney — to financial giants such as Citigroup, Bank of America, and JP Morgan. …
Tillerson said, “We tried to be responsible.” At the same time, he acknowledged, “We are in the depletion business.”
What will become of that business — knowing what the public knows now about the role it played in shaping the present and the future — is the underlying question running through the climate litigation in the courts right now.
In the meantime, the narrative is being even more tightly controlled…
The Incredible Shrinking Overton Window
Caitlin Johnstone 11-4-19
The plutocrat-owned narrative managers of the political/media class work constantly to shrink the Overton window, the spectrum of debate that is considered socially acceptable. They do this by framing more and more debates in terms of how the oligarchic empire should be sustained and supported, steering them away from debates about whether that empire should be permitted to exist at all.
They get people debating whether there should be some moderate changes made or no meaningful changes at all, rather than the massive, sweeping changes we all know need to be made to the entire system.
They get people debating whether they should elect a crook in a red hat or a crook in a blue hat, rather than whether or not they should be forced to elect crooks. …
They get people debating whether the status quo should be reinforced or revised, rather than whether it should be flushed down the toilet where it belongs.
They get people angrily debating things they can’t change, rather than constructively working on the things that they can.
They get people shoving against each other in opposite directions, while they swiftly build a cage around us all.
HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP
This Week’s Highlights
We Can Create an Energy System Rooted in Climate Justice With Public Utilities
But there are other options that are on the table right now, and they’re in action. San Francisco just put in a bid to municipalize their area, so that they could take back the grid, so that they could be in charge of their own destiny. And similarly, San Jose, one of the biggest cities that PG&E provides service to, is saying, actually, you know what we should do? We should create a cooperative utility so that it is beholden to the people of California, and we’re taking over PG&E at the statewide level. … Thinking about the fact that we actually aren’t stuck in this model, and the fact that we are in this climate crisis means that more than ever, we need to be thinking about climate justice. More than ever, we need to be thinking about how our democracy works. Because the reality is that PG&E has failed us, and many investor-owned utilities have failed us. And it’s because there is something inherent in that model that isn’t working, and we need to confront that head-on in our media.
Koch Industries Ramps Up Lobbying Against Clean Car Policies
Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company in the United States, has significantly increased its lobbying spending this year, including efforts to influence policy on key climate and transportation issues and legislation. Mandatory disclosure forms reveal that lobbying by Koch Industries is up by almost 20 percent compared to this time last year. According to the forms, Koch lobbying expenditures through the third quarter total $9.1 million, compared to $7.7 million through the third quarter of 2018. This increase comes after Democrats took control of the House, as the Green New Deal entered the political discourse, and while a number of clean transportation policies were considered by lawmakers.
'Venice Is On Its Knees': Mayor Blames Worst Flood Tide In 50 Years On Climate Change
The high tide inflicted "a wound that leaves indelible marks" on the low-lying city, the mayor said. As of late Tuesday, the high-water mark had reached 6-feet, 2-inches – just 2 inches below the highest flooding ever recorded in Venice in 1966. … "Built centuries ago on tiny islands, the city has always been subject to flooding," NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome. "An ambitious project of movable undersea barriers called MOSE is yet unfinished due to cost overruns and corruption scandals. Experts say once completed, it will be insufficient to deal with rising sea levels." … "I could see from my window people walking and they had water up to their knees," Vianello tells Poggioli. She adds, "And all the windows were shaking because of the wind."
Images of Venice flooding sent by my niece studying at University there pic.twitter.com/iEYJrwlctM
— Sylvia Poggioli (@spoggioli1) November 13, 2019
How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong: Few thought it would arrive so quickly. Now we’re facing consequences once viewed as fringe scenarios.
The word “upended” does not do justice to the revolution in climate science wrought by the discovery of sudden climate change. The realization that the global climate can swing between warm and cold periods in a matter of decades or even less came as a profound shock to scientists who thought those shifts took hundreds if not thousands of years. … Were the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica to melt, sea levels would rise by an estimated 225 feet worldwide. Few expect that to happen anytime soon. But those ice sheets now look a lot more fragile than they did to the climate change panel in 1995, when it said that little change was expected over the next hundred years. … By 2014, a number of scientists had concluded that an irreversible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet had already begun, and computer modeling in 2016 indicated that its disintegration in concert with other melting could raise sea levels up to six feet by 2100, about twice the increase described as a possible worst-case scenario just three years earlier. At that pace, some of the world’s great coastal cities, including New York, London and Hong Kong, would become inundated. Then this year, a review of 40 years of satellite images suggested that the East Antarctic ice sheet, which was thought to be relatively stable, may also be shedding vast amounts of ice. …The melting of permafrost has also defied expectations. This is ground that has remained frozen for at least two consecutive years and covers around a quarter of the exposed land mass of the Northern Hemisphere. As recently as 1995, it was thought to be stable. But by 2005, the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimated that up to 90 percent of the Northern Hemisphere’s topmost layer of permafrost could thaw by 2100, releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. For all of the missed predictions, changes in the weather are confirming earlier expectations that a warming globe would be accompanied by an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather. … Even if scientists end up having lowballed their latest assessments of the consequences of the greenhouse gases we continue to emit into the atmosphere, their predictions are dire enough. But the Trump administration has made its posture toward climate change abundantly clear: Bring it on!
It’s already here. And it is going to get worse. A lot worse.
China unveils giant self-developed wind turbine
RT 11-7-19 h/t QMS
A giant offshore wind turbine with a 210-meter rotor diameter has been developed in China and will be put into production soon, the science and technology bureau of southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality says. The H210-10MW turbine has a unit capacity of 10 megawatts and is China’s first wind turbine to have a rotor diameter of more than 200 meters. Once put into operation, each unit could generate about 40 million kWh of electricity annually, according to Han Huali, director of the research institute at HZ Windpower. This will double the unit energy production of the 5-MW turbines currently in use.
How the U.S. betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster
LA Times 11-10-19
Here in the Marshall Islands, Runit Dome holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, including lethal amounts of plutonium. Nowhere else has the United States saddled another country with so much of its nuclear waste, a product of its Cold War atomic testing program. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs on, in and above the Marshall Islands — vaporizing whole islands, carving craters into its shallow lagoons and exiling hundreds of people from their homes. … Now the concrete coffin, which locals call “the Tomb,” is at risk of collapsing from rising seas and other effects of climate change. Tides are creeping up its sides, advancing higher every year as distant glaciers melt and ocean waters rise.
ADAPTION AND RESILIENCE
Solar and wind energy preserve groundwater for drought, agriculture
PHYS ORG 11-6-19
A new Princeton University-led study in Nature Communications is among the first to show that solar and wind energy not only enhance drought resilience, but also aid in groundwater sustainability. Using drought-prone California as a case study, the researchers show that increased solar and wind energy can reduce the reliance on hydropower, especially during drought. Consequently, this could help divert more surface water from hydropower to irrigation, thereby reducing overall groundwater abstraction.
Container ship to test running on Synthetic Natural Gas, provided by Audi
Green Car Congress 11-8-19
To demonstrate that SNG can successfully be used as shipping fuel, 20 of the 120 tons of LNG that the Wes Amelie typically uses per round trip will be replaced by climate-neutral SNG. As a result, CO2 emissions are expected to decline by 56 tons for this trip. Audi’s Power-to-Gas facility in Werlte, where a liquefaction plant is currently under construction, will provide the SNG, which will be generated by wind energy and is thus 100% climate-neutral. The SNG trip will take place after the completion of the liquefaction plant in Q2 2020. The Wes Amelie, owned and managed by Wessels Reederei (Haren/Ems), previously made headlines in 2017 when its MAN 8L48/60B main engine was retrofitted to its current, four-stroke MAN 51/60DF unit that enables dual-fuel operation—the first such conversion of its type.
What is a sustainable and healthy diet?
Public Health Collaboration 2019 h/t lookout
Filmed at the Public Health Collaboration Conference 2019 at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London.
30 min .
Study shows where global renewable energy investments have greatest benefits
Science Daily 11-12-19
A new study finds that the amount of climate and health benefits achieved from renewable energy depends on the country where it is installed. Countries with higher carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and more air pollution, such as India, China, and areas in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, achieve greater climate and health benefits per megawatt (MW) of renewable energy installed than those operating in areas such as North America, Brazil, and parts of Europe.
Chinese-built solar park to light up 160,000 homes in Argentina
RT 10-4-19 h/t QMS
South America’s largest solar park, built with Chinese funding and technology, has opened in Argentina, powering more than 160,000 homes, Xinhua news agency has reported. Cauchari Solar Park is located atop a remote mountain peak 4,000 meters above sea level, near the town of Cauchari, which borders neighboring Chile and Bolivia. The park, which is part of Argentina’s plan to boost renewable energy generation, consists of three smaller parks with a generating capacity of 100 megawatts each. More than 1.18 million solar panels have been distributed across an area of 800 hectares.
An Energy Breakthrough Could Store Solar Power for Decades: Researchers in Sweden have created a molecule that offers a way to trap heat from the sun
The most advanced potential commercial use the team developed is a transparent coating that can be applied to home windows, a moving vehicle, or even clothing. The coating collects solar energy and releases heat, reducing electricity required for heating spaces and curbing carbon emissions. Moth-Poulsen is coating an entire building on campus to showcase the technology. The ideal use in the early going, he says, is in relatively small spaces. “This could be heating of electrical vehicles or in houses.” A big unknown is whether the system can produce electricity. While Moth-Poulsen believes the potential exists, his team is focused for now on heating.
It's time for a revolution in the way we look at buildings
Tree Hugger 11-12-19
As Nick Grant of Elemental Solutions notes, you do have to make the right decisions from day one. You have to have to keep it simple. We have to embrace the box. "Passivhaus advocates are keen to point out that Passivhaus doesn't need to be a box but we are serious about delivering Passivhaus for all, we need to think inside the box and stop apologizing for houses that look like houses."
Buildings Are an Ideal but Overlooked Climate Solution
World Resources Institute 11-4-19
Buildings represent nearly 40% of global energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions, far more than the entire transport sector. Of all the emissions reductions possible through 2030, buildings are by far the largest source of low-cost reductions. In fact, Rocky Mountain Institute's research found that investments in building efficiency like increasing natural daylight and ventilation have been widely undervalued, even by the climate science. Decarbonization opportunities in the buildings sector add up to roughly the equivalent of emissions reductions opportunities in agriculture, industry, energy supply and forestry combined. In addition, because buildings are long-lived assets, averaging 40 to 100 years of life, their emissions are "locked in" for longer than emissions from most vehicles, power plants or other forms of heavy infrastructure. So it's doubly important to make the shift to zero-carbon buildings now.
Constructing a lot of nuclear power plants is not material constrained
Next Big Future 7-13-07 h/t hawkfish
One of the common arguments that some in the environmental movement have against nuclear power is “we cannot make enough reactors” and if we do then the price will go up. I will show that historically the world build at a reasonable fast rate (28/year). Currently there are more and more nuclear reactors on order and are being completed at about 8 per year. The material used is a fraction of what is available and will not be a major impact on material prices. The alternatives of coal, wind and hydro also are highly intensive in steel and concrete. The main thing that impacts a nuclear reactors construction cost is length of time to build and interest rates. People do not understand how much steel and concrete is made each year in the world and how many buildings and things are built. Building 1,000 one gigwatt nuclear plants per year would use less than 10% of the worlds annual concrete and steel. Modern nuclear reactors need less than 40 metric tons of steel and 190 cubic meters of concrete per megawatt of average capacity. 1,000 one gigawatt nuclear plants per year would need 40 million metric tons of steel and 190 million cubic meters of concrete. World supplies in 2006 are 1.24-billion tons of steel per year & 2.283 billion tons of coal per year.
Three articles about the numbers needed to reach zero-carbon emissions by 2050. We really need to think about reaching it earlier. Sobering…
Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Requires A New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day
Forbes 9-30-19 h/t hawkfish
Here I’ll present what net-zero carbon dioxide emissions for 2050 actually means in terms of the rate of deployment of carbon-free energy and the coincident decommissioning of fossil fuel infrastructure. To conduct this analysis I use the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which presents data on global and national fossil fuel consumption in units called “million tons of oil equivalent” or mtoe. In 2018 the world consumed 11,743 mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum. The combustion of these fossil fuels resulted in 33.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. In order for those emissions to reach net-zero, we will have to replace about 12,000 mtoe of energy consumption expected for 2019. (I ignore so-called negative emissions technologies, which do not presently exist at scale.)
LEGISLATION, ELECTIONS & POLICY
Since Justin Trudeau’s government took power in 2015, lobbyists in Ottawa have focused more attention on the nation’s bureaucrats, rather than elected office holders, representing what one researcher is calling a troubling 'fusion of private interest and public bodies'…
‘Deep state’ lobbying a growing tactic of fossil fuel industry, report finds
The report tracked fossil-fuel-industry lobbying over seven years, from 2011 to 2018 — finding that the fossil fuel industry vastly outnumbered other resource sectors, including the forestry and renewable energy industries — and analyzed how lobbying activities changed with prime ministers. The result, the report found, is lobbying that’s increasingly focused on “deep state” connections, rather than elected officials, meaning the power of the fossil fuel industry lasts far beyond a federal election, regardless of voter appetite for climate action.
Most countries aren't hitting 2030 climate goals, and everyone will pay the price
National Geographic 11-5-19
Some countries won’t achieve their pledges, and some of the world's largest carbon emitters will continue to increase their emissions, according to a panel of world-class climate scientists. Their report, “The Truth Behind the Paris Agreement Climate Pledges,” warns that by 2030, the failure to reduce emissions will cost the world a minimum of $2 billion per day in economic losses from weather events made worse by human-induced climate change. Moreover, weather events and patterns will hurt human health, livelihoods, food, and water, as well as biodiversity.
E.P.A. to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules
A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. E.P.A. officials called the plan a step toward transparency and said the disclosure of raw data would allow conclusions to be verified independently.
California’s Wildfire Policy Totally Backfired. Native Communities Know How to Fix It.
Mother Jones 11-11-19
When it came time to set fire to the hillside, Kitty Lynch paused. A 70 year-old retired waitress, Lynch’s job during the controlled burn of a 2,200 acre ranch in Humboldt County, California this June was to keep the fire in check by tamping down small, errant flames with a tool called a McLeod. Lynch had been attending lectures by Indigenous tribes in her region about prescribed fires, blazes lit intentionally to control dry brush and prevent unplanned burns, for over a decade. But she was the oldest person in this group of about fifty, and she worried she wouldn’t be able to keep up. The effort was organized by the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association, a grassroots team of wildfire experts, local landowners and community members that hosts hands-on trainings on controlled burns as a method of natural disaster prevention. The Humboldt event united unlikely allies: Trump-supporting ranchers worked side-by-side with retired hippies and back-to-the landers; logging workers hammed it up with the same Save the Redwoods League activists they battled in the region’s timber wars. Academics who studied prescribed burning watched their theory become practice.
Forged in Fire: California’s Lessons for a Green New Deal
Like its national inspiration, the Chico Green New Deal framework marries rapid decarbonization targets with calls for more affordable housing; a safe and sustainable food system; investments in “clean, 21st century” public transit; green jobs creation, including projects earmarked for the poorest residents; and much more. “Your city council has heard the call of its community that has resounded locally and across the nation,” said Chico Vice Mayor Alex Brown when the plan was announced. “We are choosing to walk the walk of this movement and to take the leadership being demanded of us.” In an interview, Brown told me that the Camp Fire’s impact on both Paradise and Chico was a glimpse of the future unless action is taken to both radically lower emissions and build “communities that are more resilient to these shifts.” Brown is well aware that a small city like hers isn’t going to make much of a dent in global emissions. But, she said, “We can demonstrate what a Green New Deal looks like at the local level.”
Australia fires: nation braces for 'most dangerous bushfire week ever seen'
The Guardian 11-11-19
Sixty fires are currently burning in across the state, 40 of which are running out of control. There are also nearly 50 fires burning in Queensland, and fires in Western Australia and South Australia. … The catastrophic rating is based on a matrix of factors including temperature, humidity, wind and dryness of the landscape. Residents are being warned that fires under these conditions are, in some cases, impossible to suppress, and homes will burn. People in fire-prone areas have been told to leave on Monday. “Catastrophic is off the conventional scale,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s where people die.” …Climate scientist Ned Haughton’s childhood home in the NSW mid-north coast village of Bobin was razed at the weekend. He said with climate change, “it’s going to get worse”. “The state and [federal] Liberal governments are just trying their hardest to shut down any decent action on climate,” he said. “This is just not the right way to act if you care about the planet, if you care about your kids’ future, if you care about other people in your community’s future.”
As Fires Rage in World's Largest Rainforest, NASA Warns 'Human Activities Are Drying Out the Amazon'
The Guardian 11-6-19
As thousands of intentional fires continued to burn up swaths of the world's largest and most biodiverse rainforest Tuesday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration warned that based on 20 years of ground and satellite data, "human activities are drying out the Amazon" and jeopardizing its ability to sustain itself. … "We observed that in the last two decades, there has been a significant increase in dryness in the atmosphere as well as in the atmospheric demand for water above the rainforest," … "With the increase in temperature and drying of the air above the trees, the trees need to transpire to cool themselves and to add more water vapor into the atmosphere. But the soil doesn't have extra water for the trees to pull in," Saatchi said. "Our study shows that the demand is increasing, the supply is decreasing and if this continues, the forest may no longer be able to sustain itself."
As hunters deal with a warming Arctic, UAF partners with local observers to keep them informed
Alaska Public 11-8-19
As temperatures in the Arctic grow warm, keeping coastal communities informed about the environment remains vital. Climate change has disrupted the migration of animals traditionally hunted in the Arctic, and the frozen rivers and sea ice hunters travel on have become less reliable. In Arctic communities like Kotzebue, subsistence hunters like Bobby Schaeffer have had to contend with a changing climate for decades. “In my experience, for a lot of years, I’ve been a hunter. I was out on the ice all the time, and hunting all those years. I’ve been noticing all the changes,” Schaeffer said. “Even prior to that, my father, John Schaeffer Sr., always mentioned the changes, even back as far as the 40s. And we always talked about them.” Schaeffer is in his 60s and describes himself as an “elder in training.” He views global warming as a big issue.
Watch the Arctic’s sea ice slowly disappear
Science Mag 11-12-19
Researchers have identified what they’re calling the “last ice area,” a 2000-kilometer stretch of ocean northwest of Greenland where the Arctic’s summertime sea ice might survive for a few more decades.
The Arctic Plunge: From Feeling Like 92 to Freezing in a Day: Temperatures have plummeted across the eastern United States, but spare a thought for McAllen, Texas, where the drop was precipitous.
And, they were right: Temperatures were hovering around or punching past the freezing point for most of the population as a dip in the jet stream funneled Arctic air across the eastern half of the country. … With such a drastic drop in temperatures across so much of the country, questions are often asked about how it can be so chilly if climate change is warming the globe. But such questions may confuse weather and climate. While climate refers to the long-term averages and trends in atmospheric conditions over large areas, weather deals with short-term variations, which is what happens when Arctic air visits your hometown. And, of course, an Arctic blast can still occur in a warmer world, even if the air that comes down from the north is not as cold. Some studies suggest that climate change could actually make frigid waves of Arctic air more common, a result of shrinking sea ice.
Exxon and BP among worst for flaring in US oil fields despite green pledges
The oil giants have both committed to drastically rein in flaring – where gas is burned with no economic benefit – as a key part of their response to the climate crisis. But a major new investigation by Unearthed, based on official industry data, has found that they are among the worst performers when it comes to minimising emissions from their operations in one or more of the United States’ “Big Three” oil fields. … Together, the Eagle Ford basin in Texas; the Permian basin in Texas and New Mexico and the Bakken formation in North Dakota, accounted for 57% of US oil production in 2018. But they also harbour billions of cubic feet of natural gas and oil companies often find it easier and cheaper to dispose of it into the atmosphere than capture and transport it to where it can be sold and used to generate energy. Unearthed can reveal that over a period of just 12 months, companies operating in these oil fields have vented or flared 369 billion cubic feet of natural gas, roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 10 coal-fired power stations or 8 million cars.
Keiser Report 11-5-19 h/t lookout
Max and Stacy discuss the ‘cash-burn machines’ of the ‘everything bubble’, as Wolf Richter calls them. These bonfires of cash have been gobbling up hundreds of billions of dollars in investor capital looking for greater fools to come along and throw some of their capital into money-losing enterprises like the so-called ‘tech unicorns’ and loss-generating fracking operations. Max continues his conversation with David Morgan of the Morgan Report about de-dollarization, the importance of clearing global trade through the NY Fed, and whether or not gold miners are finally back in a bull market.
15 min .
Oil Market Report
Oil markets in September withstood a textbook case of a large-scale supply disruption as the attacks on Saudi Arabia temporarily affected about 5.7 mb/d of crude production capacity. On Monday 16 September, the first trading day following the attacks, after an initial spike to $71/bbl Brent prices fell back as it became clear that the damage, although serious, would not cause long-lasting disruption to markets. Saudi Aramco’s achievement in restoring operations and maintaining customer confidence was very impressive. This is reflected in the fact that as we publish this Report, the price of Brent is close to $58/bbl, actually $2/bbl below the pre attack level. Intuitively, the precision attacks on Saudi Arabia and the possibility of a repeat should keep the market on edge. There should be talk of a geopolitical premium on top of oil prices. For now, though, there is little sign of this with security fears having been overtaken by weaker demand growth and the prospect of a wave of new oil production coming on stream – Norway’s big Johan Sverdrup project started up this month and will reach 440 kb/d by mid-2020.
Cambridge accepts £6m Shell donation for oil extraction research
The Guardian 11-5-19
Cambridge University has accepted a multimillion-pound donation from Shell to fund a team researching oil extraction technology, even as it publicly positions itself as part of the transition to a sustainable future. Shell has given £6m to fund the work of the university’s magnetic resonance research group amid a concerted campaign by students and staff to persuade the university to sever its links with extractive industries. The university was praised earlier this year after its management agreed to provide fully costed plans setting out how it could divest multibillion-pound endowments from fossil fuel corporations. But critics have described the recent donation as a reversal.
A third of California methane traced to a few super-emitters
PHYS ORG 11-6-19
NASA scientists are helping California create a detailed, statewide inventory of methane point sources—highly concentrated methane releases from single sources—using a specialized airborne sensor. The new data, published this week in the journal Nature, can be used to target actions to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas. Like carbon dioxide, methane traps heat in the atmosphere, but it does so more efficiently and for a shorter period of time. Scientists estimate that most methane emissions in California are driven by industrial facilities, such as oil and gas fields, large dairies and landfills.
Energy vs Waste
Naked Capitalism 11-8-19 h/t lotlizard
Still, we do still realize that without oil and gas there would be no wind turbines and solar panels, don’t we? How much carbon waste is generated in the production process of the two may be up for grabs, if only because that’s nobody’s favorite topic, but it’s a whole lot more than zero. More for solar, I would guess, because mining of rare earth metals is a pretty dirty process. But in the end, the only aspect that I find really interesting, and that everybody appears to ignore, is why we produce so much waste. If you were hell-bent on designing a contraption aimed at wasting as much energy, and generating as much waste, as possible, you would have a hard time competing with the automobile. Your run of the mill internal combustion engine uses maybe 10% of the energy you put in at the gas station, and you use it to transport yourself in a contraption that is 20x heavier than you are. That leaves you with just 0.5% of the energy embedded in the gasoline that is effectively used.
Venice floods: Climate change behind highest tide in 50 years, says mayor
The recent flooding in Venice was caused by a combination of high spring tides and a meteorological storm surge driven by strong sirocco winds blowing north-eastwards across the Adriatic Sea. When these two events coincide, we get what is known as Acqua Alta (high water). This latest Acqua Alta occurrence in Venice is the second highest tide in recorded history. However, if we look at the top 10 tides, five have occurred in the past 20 years and the most recent was only last year. While we should try to avoid attributing a single event to climate change, the increased frequency of these exceptional tides is obviously a big concern. In our changing climate, sea levels are rising and a city such as Venice, which is also sinking, is particularly susceptible to such changes. The weather patterns that have caused the Adriatic storm surge have been driven by a strong meridional (waving) jet stream across the northern hemisphere and this has fed a conveyor belt of low pressure systems into the central Mediterranean. One of the possible effects of a changing climate is that the jet stream will be more frequently meridional and blocked weather patterns such as these will also become more frequent.
Extreme Hurricanes Are 3 Times More Likely Now Than 100 Years Ago, Scientists Warn
Science Alert 11-12-19
According to a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, extremely destructive storms like Harvey and Katrina – hurricanes that decimate large coastal areas to the tune of billions of dollars – have gotten far more common in the US relative to their less damaging counterparts. "We estimate that there has been a tripling in the rate of the most damaging storms over the last century,"
Two million evacuated as deadly Cyclone Bulbul smashes into the Bay Of Bengal while Vietnam prepares for Tropical Storm Nakri landfall
Big Wobble 11-10-19
According to Reuters, several coastal districts were expected to register wind speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour (74.5 miles per hour) and heavy or very heavy rainfall, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said in its latest forecast. It said low-lying areas and islands were likely to see storm surges between five and seven feet (1.5-2.1 meters) higher than normal maximum tide levels. Cyclone Bulbul lashed Bangladesh overnight, killing six people and leaving relatives in a desperate search for 36 missing fishermen, though prompt evacuations saved many lives and the worst was over, officials said on Sunday. Some 30 people were injured and around 6,000 homes were partially or fully damaged.
How climate change will affect hydropower production in Canada
Science Daily 11-7-19
Changing climate and weather patterns are going to have dramatic impacts on Canada's production potential of hydroelectricity, according to new research. Hydropower giant Quebec will see its hydroelectricity output potential jump by as much as 15%. In contrast, British Columbia, the second biggest hydropower producer in Canada, as well as Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, will see drops in production potential as steep as 10%.
[Official] Winter Forecast 2019 - 2020
Weather Decoded 11-7-19 ggersh
2019-2020 Winter Forecast shows you how much Snow your city will get, your Temperature & Precipitation outlook, and Blizzard & Polar Vortex threat levels for you. This special winter outlook was built from 7 Key Factors related to current ocean temperatures, upper atmosphere behavior, and previous winters.
Climate change: Vermont’s hotter, wilder weather is already here
Vermont Digger 9-16-19 h/t ggersh
Seventh-generation Vermonter Burr Morse stood on an overgrown trail flanked by goldenrod and reflected on his family’s decision to shutter their cross country ski center last winter. … Last winter, the Morse family decided to stop operating their cross country ski center with 15 miles of trails. The economics, he said, weren’t working, despite strong demand, partly because of the less predictable weather. “We had a lot of families that were willing to come up here and pay $200 a year or whatever it was for season tickets,” he said. “But were we able to keep any of that money, and/or pay landowners whose land we used any money, including myself? No.” Unlike downhill ski areas with snowmaking guns, cross country sites are more dependent on Mother Nature. “We had years…that we had to shut her down in January because we lost the snow and we never could start it back up,” said Morse.
Particulate Matter levels in London Underground are 18 times as high as the air outside
Tree Hugger 11-5-19
A Financial Times investigation has mapped the air quality in the carriages of the London Underground. Using hundreds of measurements covering 75 tunnel segments inside Zone 1 in central London, the investigation found that levels of pollution on the Underground are dangerously high — as much as 10 times above the guidelines set by the World Health Organization in some parts of the network. At some points, the levels are 18 times as high as the air upstairs at roadside, and London air is pretty awful.s
Why Rising Acidification Poses a Special Peril for Warming Arctic Waters
Yale 360 10-24-19
But some of the biggest changes taking place in these polar seas are invisible. Under disappearing ice cover, these waters are rapidly growing more acidic as decades of soaking up humanity’s carbon emissions take their toll on ocean chemistry. A soup of brash ice — the wreckage of old floes — surrounds the RV Kronprins Haakon as Colin Stedmon crouches on deck filling bottles with water that has just been hoisted from the ocean depths. The 329-foot icebreaker is steaming 700 nautical miles south of the North Pole on a Norwegian Polar Institute research cruise studying climate change impacts in this gateway to the Arctic Ocean. The samples of dissolved carbon, pH, and other measurements being collected by Stedmon, a chemical oceanographer from the Technical University of Denmark, will reveal how rapidly acidification is intensifying.
WILDLIFE & THE ENVIRONMENT
In Detroit, A New Type of Agricultural Neighborhood Has Emerged
But a new type of agrihood has emerged. Within the city of Detroit, home to nearly 1,400 community gardens and farms, there is one officially designated agrihood, Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. The nonprofit in the North End neighborhood, just north of the recently gentrified Midtown area, calls itself America’s First Sustainable Urban Agrihood. … The Michigan initiative is a 3-acre farm focusing on food insecurity in one of Detroit’s historic communities that was once home to a thriving Black middle class. Now the median home value is under $25,000, and about 35% of the residents are homeowners. The Detroit agrihood model plans to provide a Community Resource Center with educational programs and meeting space across from the garden, a café, and two commercial kitchens. “For us, food insecurity is the biggest issue,”
Deadly virus spreads among marine mammals as Arctic ice melts
National Geographic 11-7-19
The first major outbreak of PDV along the U.S. East Coast occurred in 2006. Over the past year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been logging what they describe as abnormally high numbers of dead seals from Maine to Virginia. Test results have shown PDV to be the primary culprit. To construct when and where PDV spread from northern Europe to the northern Pacific just off the coast of Alaska, Goldstein and her team searched studies and records of biological samples taken from 2,530 live and 165 dead seals of species that spend at least part of their years on Arctic ice. They then looked at data showing the reach of sea ice at a given time of year, called Arctic ice extent. In years when sea ice extent was low, the following years showed an uptick in PDV.
Despite a Warmer, Wetter World, There May Be Less Water Available for Human Use, Study Finds
Yale 360 11-5-19
But the new research, led by scientists at Dartmouth College and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, found that as global temperatures increase, growing seasons are becoming longer, lengthening the time that plants have to grow and consume water. Ultimately, this could leave less for the land, and less for human use. “Approximately 60 percent of the global water flux from the land to the atmosphere goes through plants, called transpiration,” … “Plants are like the atmosphere’s straw, dominating how water flows from the land to the atmosphere. So vegetation is a massive determinant of what water is left on land for people. The question we’re asking here is, how do the combined effects of carbon dioxide and warming change the size of that straw?”
There is a lot of information in this article…
6 Barriers to Protecting and Restoring Forests – and Strategies to Overcome Them
World Resources Institute 11-8-19
A number of public-sector measures have proved effective, or promise to be effective, at forest conservation and/or restoration (Table 1). The first category of measures reduces the amount of forested land available for deforestation. The second makes it expensive — politically, economically, legally, reputationally — to turn forests into agricultural land or other uses. The third reduces the economic pressure or incentive to convert forested land to farmland or to other uses and/or reduces the pressures that keep trees from recovering on land that was once forest. …Overcoming forests being worth more dead than alive entails demonstrating to government and the private sector that conserved or restored forests result in more positive outcomes for political, business and human well-being than the status quo.
Cuba’s Urban Farming Shows Way to Avoid Hunger
When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming. That was the remedy Cuba seized with both hands 30 years ago when it was confronted with the dilemma of an end to its vital food imports. And what worked then for Cuba could have lessons today for the wider world, as it faces growing hunger in the face of the climate crisis. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, most of Cuba's food supplies went with it. To stave off severe malnutrition the people of the capital, Havana, found an imaginative answer: urban gardening. That's now seen as a possible blueprint for the survival of city populations in a warming world.
PROTESTS • EXTINCTION REBELLION • RESISTANCE
After climate protest outside city hall, man escorted from council meeting
About 20 climate protesters gathered outside Charlottetown city hall Tuesday evening asking the municipality to reverse its decision to buy diesel-powered buses. Some protesters then went inside the Charlottetown council meeting. Inside, a man asked why the climate crisis was not being addressed and was told the public isn't permitted to speak during council meetings. When mention was made of the Remembrance Day ceremony in Charlottetown, he said veterans are not being honoured if there is no action on climate change. The man was asked to leave and was escorted out. The protesters, with a group called Fridays for Future P.E.I. Climate Action Group, gathered outside city hall with signs that read "Climate Emergency. Act Now," and other slogans. The group delivered a statement to council. "There seems to be little awareness that e-buses are already in use and performing well in Canadian cities," the statement said.
Fridays for Future
For Student Strikers, This Is a Climate Election
As both a school striker and a first time voter, I’m aware of the privilege I now have in an unjust system that removes the right for many young people to vote, despite the fact that they will be most affected by the outcome. We have not yet succeeded in bringing the voting age down to 16, so we desperately need those that can vote to consider the implications their choice will have on the climate crisis. It is not only a crucial opportunity to vote for a government that is capable of immediate action against the climate emergency, but it is also a test – to see just how many people have listened to us. Though Brexit is indeed a central topic of this election, it is intrinsically linked to the topic of climate change: in addition to tackling the climate crisis itself, we also need to consider what Brexit means for ‘climate justice’. This means looking at the climate change not just as an environmental issue, but a political and ethical challenge too – something that has been largely overlooked in previous years.
Why aren't more young people fighting climate change in Japan?
Okada is a member of Fridays for Future Tokyo, or FFF Tokyo, the local chapter of an international group created in 2018 shortly after 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg began sitting in front of the Swedish parliament to protest the lack of action being taken against the global climate crisis. … “A lot of people are still afraid to speak out against things they believe are wrong and unjust,” Okada said. “As an industrialized country, Japan needs to take responsibility for contributing to climate change and help rectify the situation.”
Unite behind the science,’ Greta Thunberg tells 1,200 at Charlotte climate strike
Charlotte Observer 11-6-19
“It is we young people who are the future, but there is not time for us to grow up and become the ones in charge, because we need to tackle the climate right now,” she said. “We want to be able to say we did everything we could to push the world in the right direction. We have something just as powerful, our voices, and we need to use them... This is our future and we will not let it be taken away from us.” Denise Eller and her granddaughter, Gracey Eller, 10, drove 180 miles from Clarkesville, Ga., for the event. Denise Eller said she follows Thunberg like a groupie. “She is like my hero of the world,“ Eller said. Added Gracey: “It matters to me because I want a future for me and my kids.”
Greta Thunberg call to fight global warming cheers LA rally
Chicago Tribune 11-6-19
The group of young people used Friday's rally at California's oil-extraction industry to call for a phaseout of wells and other means of withdrawing petroleum from California's earth. Before Thunberg spoke she joined a crowd of about 1,000 in marching from the lawn in front of City Hall to Gov. Gavin Newsom's Los Angeles office to demand that oil drilling begin to stop. "I will never understand how they can put short-term interests above our lives, above the planet's future and our future," Thunberg said of businesses that produce fossil fuels and other products that contribute to global warming.
Greta Thunberg goes cycling with Arnold Schwarzenegger and meets with actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio
"History will judge us for what we do today to help guarantee that future generations can enjoy the same livable planet that we have so clearly taken for granted," he wrote, adding: "I hope that Greta's message is a wake-up call to world leaders everywhere that the time for inaction is over." DiCaprio said it was an "honour" to meet with Thunberg and that he is "optimistic about what the future holds" thanks to young activists like her.
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“Calling all concerned Citizens: Tell the world what you know”
Humanity has the know-how to avert catastrophic climate and ecological breakdown. Yet we're failing to heed the scientific warnings and put them in place. Why aren't we adopting emergency measures the world over? And what are the near-term consequences of inaction? Do you know something that would help reveal what's really going on?
Extinction Rebellion activists sail 'sinking house' down River Thames
Extinction Rebellion activists staged a surprising demonstration Sunday, floating a model of a sinking house down the River Thames in protest over rising sea levels. The replica suburban house was floated in front of London's Tower Bridge in the early hours of Sunday in an "attempt to send an SOS to the government on climate inaction," the protest group said in a statement. Extinction Rebellion noted that the ongoing flood disaster in northern England starkly illustrates that "our homes, businesses and families are at very real risk."
Met Police could face compensation claims from XR protesters after court challenge win
Extinction Rebellion could claim compensation from the Metropolitan Police after the group won a High Court battle over a London-wide protest ban. The force placed a blanket ban over the capital in October, preventing the group from assembly of more than two people. But two senior judges ruled the decision to impose the ban, made under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, was "unlawful." Lawyers who acted for XR said after the ruling the Met now faces claims for false imprisonment from "potentially hundreds" of protesters who were arrested after the ban was established. The force said 1,828 people were arrested during the protests, and more than 150 were charged with offences. The Met Police said it was "disappointed" by the High Court ruling. … However, the judges noted there are powers within the Act which may be used lawfully to "control future protests which are deliberately designed to ‘take police resources to breaking point'" – one of Extinction Rebellion's stated aims. Jules Carey, a solicitor from Bindmans law firm who represented XR, said: "The ban on the XR protest was hastily imposed, erratically applied and has now been unequivocally declared unlawful by the High Court.
Extinction Rebellion protesters set for million pound pay out as they plot general election disruption, after High Court rules ban illegal
Extinction Rebellion activists are planning to sue the police for false imprisonment after winning a High Court challenge over a ban on protests that brought London to a standstill. Up to 400 protesters who were arrested stand to win total compensation of about £1 million in the wake of today’s legal ruling. The direct action group said activists would be encouraged to use any taxpayer funded compensation to pay for future protests and legal cases.
Study finds recycling technologies for Li-ion batteries not keeping pace with rapid rise of EVs
Green Car Congress 11-8-19
The issue of LIB waste is already significant and is set to grow as demand for EVs increases. Based on the 1 million electric cars sold in 2017, researchers calculated that 250,000 tonnes —half a million cubic meters—of unprocessed pack waste will result when these vehicles reach the end of their lives. Analysis by the Faraday Institution—the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research—points to the need for eight gigafactories in the UK by 2040 to service the demand for LIBs. The UK will need to develop sources of supply for the critical materials required for these batteries and recycled material could play a important role. “Electrification of just 2% of the current global car fleet would represent a line of cars that could stretch around the circumference of the Earth—some 140 million vehicles. Landfill is clearly not an option for this amount of waste. Finding ways to recycle EV batteries will not only avoid a huge burden on landfill, it will also help us secure the supply of critical materials, such as cobalt and lithium, that surely hold the key to a sustainable automotive industry”.
A record CO2 rise rate since the KT dinosaur extinction 66 million years ago
A report by the National Academy Press 2011 states: “As the planet continues to warm, it may be approaching a critical climate threshold beyond which rapid (decadal-scale) and potentially catastrophic changes may occur that are not anticipated.” Direct evidence for changing climate patterns is provided by the expansion of the tropics and migration of climate zones toward the poles, estimated at a rate of approximately 56-111 km per decade. As the dry subtropical zones shift toward the poles, droughts worsen and overall less rain falls in temperate regions. Poleward shifts in the average tracks of tropical and extratropical cyclones are already happening. This is likely to continue as the tropics expand further. As extratropical cyclones move, they shift rain away from temperate regions that historically rely on winter rainfalls for their agriculture and water supply. Australia is highly vulnerable to expanding tropics as about 60 percent of the continent lies north of 30°S. Low-lying land areas, including coral islands, delta and low coastal and river valleys would be flooded due to sea level rise to Miocene-like (5.3-23 million years ago) sea levels of approximately 40±15 meters above pre-industrial levels.
Food for thought. Written before today’s trade disputes…
China-U.S. cooperation to advance nuclear power
Science Mag 8-5-16 h/t hawkfish
With China having the largest fossil fuel CO2 emissions today and the United States being higher in per capita emissions (see related energy consumption in the first figure), these countries have a strong mutual interest in stabilizing climate and reducing air pollution. … A large reduction of cost and construction time, essential to accelerate deployment rates, likely requires mass manufacturing, analogous to ship and airplane construction. Such an approach lends itself to product-type licensing, which avoids the long delay and costs associated with case-by-case approval. Passive safety features are available that allow reactor shutdown and cooling without external power or operator intervention. Other innovative designs use fuel more efficiently and produce less nuclear waste, can directly supply energy to industrial processes that currently rely on fossil fuels, can be ordered in a range of scales to suit a variety of needs and geographies, and can reduce or eliminate cooling-water requirements. Some of these developments could be deployed on a large scale by 2030–2050, a time when deep reductions in global carbon emissions will be needed, even as much of the world's current nuclear fleets are approaching the end of useful life. … Each country has a major stake in the other's success in reducing its carbon emissions, and each has a major stake in the achievement of enhanced nuclear safety in the other country and the rest of the world. In light of this potential, a review of U.S. export policy for civilian reactor technology is warranted with the goal of differentiating and managing U.S.-Chinese commercial intellectual property exchanges, while also creating a stronger mutual foundation for coordinating U.S. and Chinese support for vital international nuclear nonproliferation and security objectives. Climate science reveals that the world is approaching limits on fossil fuel emissions, if climate is to be stabilized.
QMS: Time to disconnect greed from the welfare of earth, if survival means anything. I like trees.
Paul Beckwith: "I declare a global climate change emergency to claw back up the rock face to attempt to regain system stability, or face an untenable calamity of biblical proportions."
Kevin Hester: "There is no past analogue for the rapidity of what we are baring witness to. There has been a flood of articles ... 2C is no longer attainable and that we are heading for dangerous climate change"
Magi Amma: We need to turn on a dime at mach nine!
• 1 gigatonne = 1 billion tons
• 1 gigatonne Carbon = 3.67 gigatonnes CO2
• 1 part per million (ppm) of atmospheric CO2 = 7.81 gigatonnes CO2
• 1 part per million of atmospheric carbon = 2.13 gigatonnes of carbon