The growing risk of climate change - and how cities can prepare
VIDEO OF THE DAY
A long to-do-list awaits Gina McCarthy. Everyone agrees limiting greenhouse gas emissions for new and existing power plants will be her primary objective; but, for too many members of the House, theirs will be to stymie the President’s climate plan. Yet, despite continued efforts to curtail energy innovation, a new poll from the NRDC reveals 65% of Americans favor setting limits on carbon pollution. The poll exhibits surprising support across the political spectrum. And, a fledgling movement for divestment from fossil fuel companies, a movement that started in New England and has spread, indicates support for the President’s climate plan is running deep.
The findings contained in the DOE report on the vulnerability of the U.S. energy sector remains a hot subject of discussion. The memory of Hurricane Sandy’s $70 billion bill burns bright, keeping Swiss Re Americas’ CEO awake at night—compelling him to break from traditional allies and request federal action to deal with extreme weather. James Hansen authored a new paper that won’t calm the CEO’s nerves anytime soon. Five states comprising about 77% of the insurance market, are requiring insurers to answer a survey that provides detailed information about their planned responses to catastrophes triggered by climate change and extreme weather.
In a new report, the World Meteorological Organization found floods were the most “frequently experienced” weather event of the past decade. June 2013 ranks among the warmest Junes on record by the ‘2Ns’- NOAA and NASA. Another ‘N,’ NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center says this season’s melt of sea ice in the Arctic could equal or even surpass last year’s record breaking ice loss. In the NYT, the unpredictable flood surges of Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier are described in detail. The WaPo presents an interactive depiction of how a sea-level rise of 4 millimeters per year will impact Maryland’s 3,100 miles of tidal shore. Adaptation plans around the globe come with hefty, hefty price tags.
A new IEA report offers suggestions from 30 cities that could help transport the 6.3 billion people inhabiting the planet in 2050. 40,000 EVs moved off the showroom floor in the first six months of this year—if you need a laundry list of why EVs are here to stay, beyond the ‘selection effect’ and $1.53, the average cost of an eGallon in California, look no further. GM’s partnership with TimberRock could revolutionize the recharging of EVs. And, Chrysler’s partnership with NextEnergy could create a charging module able to simulate any electrical grid in the world. But Tesla’s Model S begins and finishes its battery swap in 91 seconds—it’s an iPhone moment and just one reason why people love Tesla. A joint venture taking place at Argonne National Laboratory is working on creating global standards for electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure.
Fracking activity in California will be bigger than humongous. The salient issues left unresolved are fracking's liquid recipes and trade secrets. Two studies raise the possibility of increased seismic activity due to fracking. Acidization may be used to unlock the oil in CA’s Monterey Shale. The process is explained here and here. A grassroots campaign instituted by CREDO against fracking is underway in 15 cities. A 4th generation farmer expresses his concerns over fracking in the Central Valley and Sen. Fran Pavley explains SB 4, her bill that attempts to inject transparency into the fracking process.
At Rep. Jackie Speier’s request, the DOT has entered the controversy over the CPUC’s handling of the San Bruno Pipeline explosion. The environmental impact of a large-scale effort to capture carbon dioxide from a coal plant located in Bakersfield is under scrutiny by the DOE and CEC. The state is interviewing scouts to hit the trail in search of the perfect high-speed rail route. A citywide election has residents of Hermosa Beach taking sides on whether the California beach town should be opened to oil drilling for the first time in 80 years. Federal officials say drought conditions in Northern California could bring water levels in Folsom Lake and the American River to five-year lows. California leads the nation in cumulative solar electric installations. California’s lead in the sector proves consistent government support of clean energy from the sun generates more solar activity.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
"We have a clear responsibility to act now on climate change…This agency has the courage to act." Newly installed U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a brief video message to agency staffers.
“…skirting the will of Congress.” According to Sen. James Inhofe what EPA chief Gina McCarthy will do now that she has been confirmed.
“What keeps us up at night is climate change.” J. Eric Smith, CEO of Swiss Re Americas, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers, quoted in Time Magazine.
"I know what oil smells like, I know what it looks like, what it sounds like. I don't want that in my backyard." Mike Collins, a resident of Hermosa Beach, whose house is 100 yards from the spot where an oil company wants to drill.
“It’s like an invasion of Saudi Arabia.” Tom Frantz, a fourth generation farmer living near the town of Shafter where fracking is currently underway.
A “witches brew of pollutants” How Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign describes the discharges of toxic coal ash and sludge from power plants into the nation's waterways.
2012 Top Ten Solar States. Solar Energy Industries Association.
Rail Incidents Involving Crude Oil, 2000-2012. Source: PHMSA Hazardous Materials Incident Database. Printed in GRIST.
APPROPRIATIONS FOR KEY DOE ENERGY INNOVATION OFFICES. Published by The Energy Collective. July 23, 2013.
Burning all fossil fuels spells doom for humans -- Hansen report.
GISS Surface Temperature Analysis. June 2013. NASA.
A Change of Pace. NSIDC.
REPORT. Updating Maryland’s Sea-Level Rise Projections. The Maryland Climate Change Commission.
TRANSPORTATION AND EVs
FRACKING IN CALIFORNIA
OTHER CALIFORNIA NEWS