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News: Archive for January, 2011

Video: James Hansen Storms of my Grandchildren

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Nov 16, 2010 San Francisco

Climatologist James Hansen was interviewed by Greg Dalton at Climate One and the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Topics included climate change, government greenwash, cap and trade, fossil fuels, and a carbon tax. Afterward he signed copies of his recent book “Storms of my Grandchildren”.

Partial excerpt:

“The politicians have learned to say the right words. They say we have a planet in peril, and governments will even set targets for future emissions at some time after they’re out of office. But the fact is if you look at their policies you see that they’re doing essentially nothing, that emissions if anything continue to increase. So it’s putting a good face on their policies or attempting to, but in fact they’re not taking the necessary steps.”

“I just think they haven’t given it the degree of seriousness that it deserves. There is not a clear recognition of the fact that we are really close to a point where, we are going to pass tipping points in the climate system which have major repercussions especially for people who are now young people, our children and our grandchildren. Because of the inertia of the system you don’t see that much happening yet, you know the weather is fine. ” [Dalton: "It's been pretty warm in San Francisco lately"] Hansen:” It’s a little warmer than normal but that doesn’t seem so bad”
“The problem is though that once these dynamic of the systems begin to take over..whether it’s the disintegration of an ice sheet or its the pressure we’re putting on species and cause some of them to begin to go extinct or become very small in number, then because of the interdependencies among the species, you can get more of them, you can get ecosystems to collapse, and we’re getting closer to passing those tipping points.”
“The earths’ history is very good for telling us what is the level that we can afford to have for atmospheric composition for example. Because we can see how big the changes were in the past. But the dynamics of a non-linear system – it’s very difficult to say when something collapses, so for example an ice sheet – it’s very hard to predict exactly when it will collapse but we can say by looking at the Earth’s history that if we left the climate system with 350 or 400 ppm for a few centuries, then we know that the equilibrium ice sheet consistent with that atmosphere is a much smaller ice sheet- sea level would be tens of meters higher. But we can’t say exactly when it will collapse, but when it does collapse, sea level goes up 5 meters per century is not usual in the earth’s history so one meter every twenty years, so you don’t want to get to that point.”
“The simple fact is that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy we will keep using them. You have to put a significant price on it. The business community has to know that that’s going to continue to go up, and if that happened they would invest in alternatives, and there would be innovations, and people would… because it would be a significant price. By the time it gets up to $100/ton of CO2, it’s about a dollar a gallon of gasoline, and it begins to be something that people can see. But by the time it gets up that high, with the current fossil fuel use in the United States that’s $600 billion dollars per year. If you distribute that to the public it’s two and a half to three thousand dollars per legal adult resident of the country – including half a share for children up to two per family so seven or eight thousand dollars per family with two or more children. So that sixty percent of the people would get more in this monthly green check than they would pay in increased energy prices.”

Climate One posted a shorter excerpt of the same talk.

Report by James George

White House clean energy standard gets key support | Reuters

Monday, January 31st, 2011

‘Reuters – The White House on Monday won a key endorsement for its proposal to boost U.S. electricity generation by clean energy sources as the head of the Senate’s energy panel said he could back the idea of including nuclear power in the fuel mix.’

via White House clean energy standard gets key support | Reuters.

Carol Browner leaving post as climate and energy czar –

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

‘Carol Browner, President Obama’s controversial climate and energy czar, will step down soon, White House officials said Tuesday, in a move that some energy lobbyists saw as another signal that the administration wants to make amends with an alienated business community by reconsidering environmental regulation.’

via Carol Browner leaving post as climate and energy czar –

Obama’s State Of The Union: “Especially Clean Energy Technology”

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

‘This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.’

via Transcript: Obama’s State Of The Union Address : NPR.

France to invest $14 billion in offshore wind projects | Reuters

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

‘(Reuters) – France unveiled on Tuesday a 10 billion euro ($13.62 billion) plan to build the country’s first offshore wind project in a bid to catch up on its European neighbors in the race for renewable energies.’

via France to invest $14 billion in offshore wind projects | Reuters.

Video: Coal Film “Dirty Business” Post Screening Panel Discussion

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Jan 6, Berkeley, California

A panel discussion on coal followed a screening of a new coal film Dirty Business. Panelists included filmmaker Peter Bull, Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Rebecca Tarbotton, and carbon expert Dr. Julio Friedmann of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The event was held at the David Brower Center adjacent to the UC Berkeley campus.

Topics covered included carbon capture and storage, top down vs. bottom up strategies for reducing coal carbon emissions, China’s clean energy efforts, the politics of climate change and energy in the United States, and more.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3: Q& A

Climate Threatens Birds From Tropics to Mountaintops –

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

‘Over the past two decades, an increasing number of settlers who have moved here to farm have impinged on bird habitats and reduced bird populations by cutting down forests and turning grasslands into fields. Now the early effects of global warming and other climate changes have helped send the populations of many local mountain species into a steep downward spiral, from which many experts say they will never recover.’

via Climate Threatens Birds From Tropics to Mountaintops –

Study claims 100 percent renewable energy possible by 2030

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

‘Achieving 100 percent renewable energy would mean the building of about four million 5 MW wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300 MW solar power plants.’

via Study claims 100 percent renewable energy possible by 2030.

BBC News – Tyndall Centre calls for UK shale gas moratorium

Monday, January 17th, 2011

‘The UK government should put a moratorium on shale gas operations until the environmental implications are fully understood, a report says.’

via BBC News – Tyndall Centre calls for UK shale gas moratorium.

China readies 10 million EV parking spots by 2020: executive | Reuters

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

‘(Reuters) – The Chinese government is said to be looking to prepare at least 10 million car parking spots for electric vehicles by 2020 in a new comprehensive policy due to be announced soon, a top executive at a local automaker said on Thursday.’

via China readies 10 million EV parking spots by 2020: executive | Reuters.