International Energy Agency: Planet on track for 3.6 to 5.3C warming

Originally posted on Deep Green Resistance News Service:

By Associated Press

The world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012 to a record high of 31.6 billion tons, even though the U.S. posted its lowest emissions since the mid-1990s, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

In its annual World Energy Outlook report, the Paris-based IEA said top carbon polluter China had the largest emissions growth last year, up 300 million tons, or 3.8 percent, from 2011. Still, the increase was among the lowest seen in a decade as China continues to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

U.S. emissions dropped 200 million tons, or 3.8 percent, in part due to a switch in power generation from coal to gas, while Europe’s emissions declined by 50 million tons, or 1.4 percent, the IEA said.

The agency said the energy sector accounts for about two-thirds of global emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which scientists say…

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The Bigger Picture: Nuclear Energy vs. Fossil Fuels court ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to perform long-term storage of spent fuel at plant sites

Originally posted on Alternative Energy Pakistan:

By Jim Hopf
As I discussed last fall, a federal appeals court ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to perform more thorough evaluations in support of its new Waste Confidence Rule, particularly with respect to the potential impacts of long-term storage of spent fuel at plant sites. While…http://alternativeenergy.com.pk/articles/the-bigger-picture-nuclear-energy-vs-fossil-fuels-court-ordered-the-nuclear-regulatory-commission-to-perform-long-term-storage-of-spent-fuel-at-plant-sites/ Carbon and De-carbonization, Energy, Energy Security, Environmental Policy, Fossil Fuels, Negligible risks impacts, nuclear energy, Nuclear Energy vs. Fossil Fuels, nuclear generation, Nuclear Power, Nuclear Regulatory Commissio, nuclear regulatory commission (nrc), Politics & Legislation, REAL environmental, Waste Confidence Evaluations

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Mckibben Crunches Numbers on Climate

Originally posted on Eco Adventures:

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Since the publication of his 1989 book ‘The end of Nature’ which was one of the first to address climate change for a general audience, Bill Mckibben has been a controversial figure amongst activists, mining magnates and media personalities. He is currently in Australia conducting his “Do the Maths” tour in which he discusses the hard truths regarding the climates current predicament and why he is willing to put his life on the line fighting the fossil fuel industry…

On Friday the 7th of June, I attended Bill Mckibben’s Melbourne leg of his international “Do the Maths” tour. With an introduction by Greens Senator Adam Bandt and questions moderated by academic Robert Manne, the legendary climate activist spoke to a sold out audience at the Athenaeum Theatre about the need to take up the fight against climate change.

Bill Mckibben is an American environmentalist, author and activist who is responsible…

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Bill McKibben on climate change

Originally posted on Sarah Free:

Bill is the founder of the worldwide 350 degrees movement, and he recently gave a presentation at the Embassy theatre in Wellington, which I attended. If you would like to know more google 350.org or google Bill McKibben.

Basically, Bill contends that scientists have calculated that no more than 565gigatonnes (billion tonnes) of fossil fuels can be burned before 2050, if the world wants to limit global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees as agreed in the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference. However, according to the British Carbon Tracker initiative, present known reserves of oil, gas and coal already on company books total 2795 tonnes.

Bill is promoting divestment in fossil fuel companies. Apparently this is a growing movement in the USA, with many churches, universities, local government bodies and some private foundations going down this path.

My issues with this approach is that it ignores the current realities…

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Environment

Originally posted on Earth Report:

We Will Not Run Out of Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are formed from the remains of plants and animals that died hundreds of millions of years ago, buried and transformed by heat and pressure. Since these fuels require millions of years to form, for human purposes, the supply of fossil fuels on Earth is effectively fixed. This has led to predictions — such as those based on the “peak oil” theory first proposed by geologist M. King Hubbert in 1956 — that the world will experience an economically damaging scarcity of fossil fuels, particularly oil.

Fossil fuel emissions

However, new technologies for oil and gas exploration and extraction have upended the notion of fossil fuel scarcity: The limiting factor on humans’ fossil fuel use will not be the exhaustion of economically recoverable fossil fuels, but the exhaustion of the Earth’s capacity to withstand the harmful byproducts of fossil fuel combustion.

For decades, energy…

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Keystone XL Pipeline—Why It’s A Bad Idea!

Originally posted on My Planet Earth:

 The sand oil from this mine near Alberta, Canada would travel through the XL Pipeline

The sand oil from this mine near Alberta, Canada would travel through the XL Pipeline

XL Pipeline route through the U.S.

XL Pipeline route through the U.S.

By Lin Smith

June 16, 2013—-Producing oil from tar sands is “scraping the bottom of the barrel”, and so it is with the KeystoneXL Pipeline, a pipeline owned by a company named TransCanada, that would double the tar sands currently being transported from the oil fields of Alberta, Canada to the U.S.. The tar sands are under the Boreal Forests of Alberta, home to many species of plants and animals.The Boreal Forest not only cools the earth with its shade, it also plays an important role in preventing global warming, as the trees store and use carbon dioxide (the global warming culprit) in photosynthesis. Under the TransCanada leasing conditions, the company would have the option to lease an area the size of Florida for tar sand production.

Tar sand…

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Awareness-Advocacy-Action Bulletin #9 – Fossil Fuels = too much heat

Originally posted on Awareness Advocacy Action:

greenhouse effect

AWARENESS

(1)   CO2 is an important part of the greenhouse that keeps the earth’s average temperature stable. The earth’s atmosphere allows in radiation from the sun, warming the oceans and land. This heat is then radiated back into space with a different wavelength. CO2 absorbs this heat as it is radiated from earth, and retains some of it in the atmosphere.  National Geographic has a great explanation of the greenhouse effect at http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/description-greenhouse-effect-2501.html . Scientists have proven that the increased CO2 comes from burning of fossil fuels. They can prove this by measuring the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere that can be carbon dated as very old (so it came from fossils) versus natural carbon that is very new. The amount of CO2 from fossil fuels is the cause of the increase in CO2. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth’s_atmosphere . Current levels of CO2 at 400ppm retains far more energy in the…

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Time Frame for Finite Resources

Originally posted on I Could Settle Down:

Our resources, despite some gullable assumptions, are not infinite!

BBC’s global resources stock check shows the ‘life-span’ of numerous important resources. As you can see they will run out soon, if we are not moderating our unnecessarily exessive consumptions of goods.

BBC-stockcheck-02

S.

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From Forests to Fossil Fuels: U.S. Energy Consumption Since 1776

Originally posted on Science & Space:

What did the Founding Fathers use to power the American Revolution? Pretty much one fuel source: wood. And until the late 19th century, forests remained America’s chief energy source. Since then, it’s been mostly fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas — with a little bit of hydroelectric, nuclear and a smidgen of renewables like wind and solar.

That’s the takeaway from a neat infographic put out yesterday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the invaluable — and too often underappreciated — statistics arm of the Energy Department. The EIA has been keeping close tabs on U.S. and international energy use going back several decades, but obviously there was no U.S. of A in 1776, let alone an EIA. So Tyson Brown, the analyst who put together the brief, estimated energy use in the colonial era based on population at the time. Wood was just about the only fuel source…

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Divest From Fossil Fuels

Originally posted on Planet Earth Weekly:

Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels (Photo credit: London Commodity Markets)

By Lin Smith May 5, 2013—In the past 6 months organizers have begun campaigns on universities and in cities across the U. S. to divest in fossil fuels. Over 300 campuses and 100 cities are now looking at divesting and this movement has spread to Australia, Nederlands, and Britain. University students have stated, “It’s wrong for public institutions to teach and support environmental awareness but yet profit from damaging the environment.” The goal of the Divestment Campaign 350 is to “Challenge individuals and institutions to sell their stock in oil, gas, and coal producing companies because their current business model is leading to global catastrophe.” It’s the opposite of investment. It’s the movement currently taking place across the United States to divest their endowment funds from fossil fuels and place them in investments that support a healthy planet. What is a university endowment…

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The carbon cycle and climate change

Originally posted on Lack of Environment:

I have appended below the introduction to an excellent article on this subject, written by John Mason (part of the Skeptical Science team), as posted on the Climate State blog yesterday.

If the link between geology, plate tectonics, and climate change seems obscure to you, I would recommend reading the whole thing. However, if you’re busy, let me jump straight to the important bit – what I see as being the implications for humanity today:

Just because it has been much warmer in Earth’s distant past does not change the facts that:
(1) All life on Earth is adapted to the relative climate stability that preceded the Industrial Revolution; and
(2) Most life on Earth will not adapt to the unnatural change now underway unless we stop causing it.
Now we know we are in a hole, I think it would be a good idea to stop digging.

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Myth Versus Reality: The Green States of Australia

Originally posted on EcoPost:

It would seem that economies that reduce heavy reliance on the extraction of natural resources and encourage more sustainable industries are justly considered ‘green’. Often, however, the reality of the so-called ‘green states’ differs significantly from the claims of various labelling initiatives. The process of economic greening is somewhat superficial, and heavily based on the outsourcing of emissions. Alice Fitzsimons examines this in the context of two Australian states, and calls into question the legitimacy of ‘greenness’ of South Australia and other pioneer states.

Australia’s economic prosperity is widely ascribed to its abundant natural resources. The development of the mining, processing, and manufacturing industries that utilise these resources have brought considerable wealth to the nation. The response of resource-based economies, such as Australia’s, to the environmental movement is thus of particular interest. Environmentalism has gathered influence in Australian politics and policy from the 1970’s onwards. At the same time, mining…

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Summit Voice: Most-viewed stories

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Wildfire, weather, climate and the environment …

asdf

Summit Voice had readers all over the world the past 30 days, including page views originating in Greenland and Mongolia.

FRISCO — Coverage of the West Fork Fire Complex, which has grown to become the second-largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history, was the most-viewed story last week, but a water story focusing in Lake Powell and published just yesterday, quickly raced up the charts, followed by a story on the environmental impacts of using dispersants on oil spills.

Click on the headlines to read the stories and pass them along on your own favorite social media netwoks by using the share buttons at the end of each story.

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With Rising Temperatures, Infrastructure Falters

Originally posted on SuperSci 9.2:

Heat, from Shutterstock

Heat, from Shutterstock

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As the western U.S. continues to bake in 100-plus degree heat, the high temperatures are making pavement buckle and power lines droop. Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center talks about heat’s effects on infrastructure, and how cities can adapt for increasing temperatures.

Temperatures in the low 90s created the buckling of the tracks along Conrail's North Jersey coast line, resulting in the derailment of the passenger car in the background, near Asbury Park, New Jersey (seen July 24, 1978). Credit: AP Photo © 2013 The Associated Press.

Temperatures in the low 90s created the buckling of the tracks along Conrail’s North Jersey coast line, resulting in the derailment of the passenger car in the background, near Asbury Park, New Jersey (seen July 24, 1978). Credit: AP Photo © 2013 The Associated Press.

Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer ( ScienceFriday)
GUESTS-
Vicki Arroyo
Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center
Georgetown University Law Center
Washington, DC

 

[ Follow SuperSci 9.2 on Twitter and Google+ ]

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Since the TED Talk: Bjorn Lomborg is still thinking about “evil economics”

Originally posted on TED Blog:

STT_lomberg

In 2005, Bjorn Lomborg bounced onto the TED stage in Monterey to challenge the assembled audience to think about “the biggest problems in the world.” [ted_talkteaser id=62]Author of the book The Skeptical Environmentalist and the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, Lomborg promptly advised the somewhat startled audience to forget about global warming. If we really want to make an impact on the serious issues of our time, he said, we have to look beyond the dramatic images and histrionic headlines that fill our newspapers, and instead calmly and rationally focus on tackling issues we might actually solve once and for all.

“It’s when economics gets evil,” he said cheerfully.

Back then, Lomborg was presenting the results of the first Copenhagen Consensus, for which he had convened a group of 30 of the world’s top economists to prioritize global problems according to how quickly and efficiently they might be solved. Their…

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EPA readies new environmental regulations

Originally posted on Rare:

The Obama administration has quietly released its new regulatory agenda, which includes new environmental regulations targeting everything from carbon dioxide emissions to pollution run-off from military ships.

President Barack Obama recently announced his new plan to tackle global warming, which included capping carbon emissions from new and existing power plants. The administration’s regulatory agenda states that the Environmental Protection Agency will propose rules for new power plants this September, after missing a deadline earlier this year.

According to the agenda, the EPA will issue rules regarding emissions from existing plants in June 2014. The new power plant regulations have come under fire from lawmakers for putting a huge burden on the coal industry.

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WATCH: Up-close look at icebergs off Newfoundland

Originally posted on Global News:

Global News’ Ross Lord and cameraman Grey Butler recently toured the field of icebergs off St. Anthony, N.L., getting an even closer view than they had ever imagined.

They are fully formed works of art, sculpted by nature, ancient yet vibrant.

This year, the sliver of ocean that runs between Newfoundland and Labrador’s Northern Peninsula is teeming with icebergs.

The Canadian Coastguard estimates there are more than 300 icebergs in and around the Strait of Belle Isle — three to four times more than in the previous five years.

The first iceberg we encountered — after our long helicopter flight across the peninsula — resembles a pure, white mountain.

Filled with a sense of child-like wonder, I found myself mouthing an over-used word I generally avoid — awesome.

I soon realize these chunks of glacier, that take up to three years to float from western Greenland to the Strait of…

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Deserts ‘greening’ from rising CO2

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

From CSIRO and “increased CO2 has benefits” department:

High_Resolution[1]

Satellite data shows the per cent amount that foliage cover has changed around the world from 1982 to 2010. Click for a full-sized and detailed image.

 Increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years through a process called CO2 fertilisation, according to CSIRO research.

In findings based on satellite observations, CSIRO, in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), found that this CO2 fertilisation correlated with an 11 per cent increase in foliage cover from 1982-2010 across parts of the arid areas studied in Australia, North America, the Middle East and Africa, according to CSIRO research scientist, Dr Randall Donohue.

“In Australia, our native vegetation is superbly adapted to surviving in arid environments and it consequently uses water very efficiently,” Dr Donohue said. “Australian vegetation seems quite sensitive to CO2 fertilisation. 

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The EPA, Greenhouse Gases, the D.C. Circuit, and Political Warfare

Originally posted on The Green Mien:

Photo via D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

Photo via D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

The Obama administration, increasingly frustrated by Congressional hostility to any efforts to contain greenhouse gases, has turned to the EPA as a tool for reining in carbon emissions. The agency is developing regulatory standards under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon pollution on a number of fronts. It is coordinating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to promote new technologies with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles by 3,100 million metric tons by the year 2025.  It is implementing rules requiring minimum amount of renewables in transportation fuel, setting national limits on carbon emissions by power plants, and implementing rules which are expected to bring about a 95% reduction of  volatile organic compound emissions from fracking gas wells. Where Congress has refused to act, the Agency has embarked on an aggressive and far-reaching effort to fill the…

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Is the Earth heading for an icy future?

Originally posted on Ice and Icing:

When I mentioned to my Gran that we were in an ice age she was immediately worried. “Should I get my boiler serviced?” she wanted to know. With varying reports in the media of global warming having ‘stopped’ and extreme weather events dominating headlines this worry is hardly surprising. But is there a genuine need for concern?

We are currently living through the Pleistocene Ice Age, although thankfully we’re experiencing an interglacial period – a respite from the type of cold periods that spring to mind when talking about an ‘ice age’. But how long will this warm period last?

The historical record suggests that within the Pleistocene (roughly the last 2.5 million years) the onset of warm eras such as the one we’re currently in have been controlled by the Earth’s orbit. On scales of 100,000’s of years the shape of the Earth’s orbit changes, becoming more or less…

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