Sec. Kerry, Wall Street Journal & Heartland Farmers Speaking out on Climate
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE DAY
WHERE IS GLOBAL WARMING GOING Source: Skeptical Science. Printed in GRIST. September 3, 2013.
Despite the claims by climate deniers that global warming is slowing down, evidence of the Earth’s rising temperature is ‘irrefutable’ and ‘alarming,’ to quote Secretary of State Kerry. Because of climate change, crop pests are spreading – moving north by about 1.7 miles per year and impacting the major crops that feed the world. A chapter in the third National Climate Assessment detailing the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems is due out next year. Farmers feeling the financial pinch of adaptation are voicing their concerns.
Still, CAP reports Congressional gridlock has appropriations for investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation hanging in the balance. Recently, House Republicans passed a bill barring the Obama Administration’s decision to raise the social cost of carbon to $36. And, according the Wall Street Journal, ‘robust’ energy legislation has been reduced to the Shaheen-Portman Bill, a bill one of its own co-sponsors claims is a ‘skinnied-down version’ of its original self. One indication of the oil and gas industry’s entrenched supremacy can be measured in the 1,257 patents filed last year, double the annual number registered a decade ago and frequently used to block the public's comprehension of new technologies, like hydraulic fracturing.
A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory reckons between 2012 and 2025 wind power costs will fall 19%, solar power costs will fall 35%, and geothermal costs will fall 9%. A separate study reports that 75% of the steep decline in U.S. CO2 emissions in 2012 was due to energy efficiency and conservation measures rather than the switch from coal to natural gas. The OMB issued new efficiency regulations affecting commercial refrigeration equipment. Read why the Sierra Club applauds these new rules. Sobering new data on air pollution’s impact on Americans’ health comes via MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment.
E2, a business group affiliated with the NRDC tracks clean energy and transportation projects. Here’s a rundown of the 10 individual states E2 believes produced the most new clean energy and clean transportation projects during the second quarter of 2013. For a collective breakdown of the numbers, including the 9,169 jobs created in California, check this out.
The number of electric cars reportedly has passed the number of gas stations in the U.S. Through June of this year, half of all new electric vehicles were registered in five metropolitan markets and 35 % of those cars call San Francisco and LA home. Detractors of EVs miss the point. EVs are primed to benefit from the confluence of two trends: the changing role of the car and the growth of decentralized energy production. The BBC reports the electric vehicle revolution, characterized by computers telling a car how to think and a smart grid infused with seamless energy management powering the cars we’ll drive, is only beginning. For more on the smart grid, read this.
The 2013 California legislative session is swiftly drawing to a close; but a number of important bills are still in play. Chief among them is SB 4. Once a sleeper, Senator Pavley’s Bill imposing regulations on hydraulic fracturing is generating enormous controversy – thanks in no small measure to the reporting done by Rob Collier for Next Generation on the proposed use of acidizing. For more on why a call for a moratorium on fracking is gaining traction, read this.
Another bill flying under the radar … until now, AB 327, Assembly member Perea’s bill on electricity rates cleared a hurdle and remains alive. An editorial generally supporting the Bill but calling for concessions favoring the solar industry can be found here. The recent amendments attached to the Bill are analyzed here. The battles looming over net metering are mapped out in three informative articles: the first provides background on how the rapid growth of solar energy threatens the centralized utility model; the second touches on the debate’s underlying politics and how special interest groups are lining up on opposing sides of the issue; and, the third discusses how new amendments made to AB 327 specifically alter California’s solar industry as well as the rules on net metering.
During the second quarter of 2013, the Golden State continued to rake in the sunshine installing 521MW of new PV – 53% of all new PV installations in the U.S. Given these numbers, it’s no wonder that start-ups, like Mosaic, and juggernauts, like Bechtel, recognizing the sector’s potential for good as well as profit are rushing to capitalize on its growth. In conclusion, Cal Fire reports the Rim Fire is 80% contained.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
"Irrefutable" and "Alarming." Secretary of State John Kerry on The science is clear. It is irrefutable and it is alarming," he said in a video address broadcast at a climate conference in the Marshall Islands.
“… the equivalent of taking nearly 109 million new cars of the road for one year.” The description in a blog post presented by Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the President for energy and climate change, on how the Obama Administration’s new energy efficiency regulations for refrigerators and walk-in coolers and freezers will impact the environment.
"You might think of the atmosphere as the tail, and the ocean being the dog, as far as heat is concerned. Although the tail may wag around a little, what it's really doing is following the dog." Anthony Broccoli, a climate researcher at Rutgers University, explaining that despite an observed reduction in surface warming, global warming is real because the oceans – the elephant in the climate system, so to speak – are still warming up.
"If you look at all pests and pathogens, they are moving." Sarah Gurr, a fungal biologist at the University of Exeter and co-author of a paper that finds crop pests and pathogens are spreading because of climate change.
"Everybody started to believe that shale gas is driving all these CO2 reductions. The numbers just don't add up." Shakeb Afsah, an environmental economist and co-author of a study that found 75% of the steep decline in CO2 emissions in 2012 in the U.S. was due to economy-wide energy efficiency and conservation measures rather than the switch from coal to natural gas.
“From the utility’s perspective, it’s a mortal threat.” Independent power producer NRG Energy’s chief executive, David Crane on how distributed solar could disrupt the de facto monopoly held by regulated utilities.
LONG READ OF THE DAY
VIDEO OF THE DAY
A VISIT TO ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY’S ELECTRIC VEHICLE-SMART GRID INTEROPERABILITY CENTER SOURCE: THE BBC. SEPTEMBER 3, 2013.
GRAPH OF THE DAY
THE PRICE OF CRYSTALLLINE SILICON PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS, $ PER WATT Source: The Economist. Printed in Scientific America Blog. September 3, 3013.
CHART OF THE DAY
Top 20 Utility Scale Solar Countries Source: REneweconomy. September 3, 2013.
The Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index Ernst & Young. August 2013.
OTHER CALIFORNIA NEWS