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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

July 17 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Renewable Power Outstrips Fossil Fuels In Europe” • In the first and second quarters of 2019, for the second consecutive year, European renewables produced more power than fossil fuels. Renewable projects generated 245.8 TWh of electricity in the three months to June 30, while fossil fuels produced 202.7 TWh in the same period. [Business Leader]

Wind turbines

  • “PG&E Wildfire Policies Provide Opportunities For Tesla, Sunrun, And Others” • PG&E went bankrupt because fires started from its power lines. A Wall Street Journal story says that to avoid that problem, it has begun notifying customers in high risk areas that they may be without electricity for days at a time when the risk of wildfires is high. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Climate Change Driving Growth Of California Wildfires, Study Says” • Climate change caused the increase in size of wildfires occurring across California in the last 50 years, according to a study published in the journal Earth’s Future. The cause of the increase is simple. Hotter temperatures cause drier land, which causes a parched atmosphere. [CNN]
  • “Georgia Green Light For 2.2-GW Renewables Drive” • Regulators in Georgia have approved plans for Georgia Power to add 2260 MW of new renewables capacity and 80 MW of battery storage by 2024. Georgia Power’s renewables capacity will be increased to 5390 MW, representing 22% of the its generation portfolio. [reNEWS]
  • “Another Wisconsin City Commits To 100% Clean Energy” • The La Crosse City Council in Wisconsin has unanimously passed a resolution establishing a goal of 100% clean, renewable energy across the city by 2050. La Crosse joins Eau Claire, Madison, Middleton, and Monona as the fifth Wisconsin city to adopt this goal. [Windpower Engineering]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 16 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Harley Davidson LiveWire – 0 To 60 In 3 Seconds, 145 Mile Range, $29,799” • Will an electric motorcycle make Harley Davidson great again? Five years in the making, its LiveWire electric bike will begin production soon, and you can reserve one online today. For $29,799, a buyer gets a bike that screams to 60 mph in 3 seconds. [CleanTechnica]

Harley Davidson LiveWire (Harley Davidson image)

  • “Abu Dhabi Is Replanting Mangroves In The Fight Against Climate Change” • The coastal city of Abu Dhabi is threatened both by rising sea levels and increasing heat of climate change. By planting mangrove trees along the coastline, it is protecting the land from erosion, wave surges, and floods, and it is drawing down CO₂ from the atmosphere. [CNN]
  • “When It Comes To Automotive CEO Longevity, Tesla’s Elon Musk Is Now King” • Elon Musk is famous for making bold claims and big bets, and then pulling off what seemed impossible. Now he has another interesting claim to automotive fame: he is the longest tenured CEO in the automotive world. That’s an amazing feat. [CleanTechnica]
  • New York Times: EPA To Limit Ability To Oppose Pollution Permits” • The EPA is working to change rules that allow individuals or community advocates to fight agency-issued permits that regulate how much pollution can be released by area power plants and factories, according to a report in The New York Times. [CNN]
  • “Ohio Gas Plant Project In Jeopardy If Nuclear Bill Passes” • LS Power said it would end a project to expand a gas-fired power plant in Ohio if the state’s lawmakers pass legislation to subsidize the state’s two nuclear power plants. The company said a subsidy for nuclear power could lead to “reduced reliability for Ohio’s electric generation fleet.” [POWER magazine]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 15 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “A Pathway To 350 PPM Part 2: Carbon Farming Can Deliver” • Inefficiencies in how we obtain the energy to power the human body provide a lifeline for us to get out of the climate crisis. We have the land we need; we just have to use it better. By reducing the amount of land we need for food, we free up land for carbon sequestration in forests. [CleanTechnica]

Agroforestry plantation in Nicaragua (© Ryan Logtenberg)

  • “America Is Building Another Big Wall. This One Will Protect New York” • By 2025, New York’s Staten Island will be fortified by a towering seawall running 5.3 miles along the coast, an engineering feat designed to ward off a growing threat. The climate crisis is predicted to create more powerful and extreme weather systems all over the world. [CNN]
  • “Scotland’s Wind Could Power Every Home Across Scotland And North Of England” • Figures provided by Weather Energy, show that between January and June, Scottish wind turbines provided enough electricity to power the equivalent of 4.47 million homes for those six months. That is nearly twice the number of homes in Scotland. [WWF-UK]
  • “Germany Stares Into The Abyss And Sees A Price On Carbon As Inevitable” • With current policies, Germany is not going to achieve the carbon reductions it committed to in Paris, a cut of 55% by 2030, according to a report by Germany’s Council of Economic Experts. To get there, they recommend setting a price on carbon. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Alberta Company To Try To Harness Bay Of Fundy’s Powerful Tides” • Alberta-based Jupiter has been granted permission to try to harness electricity from the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy. Backers have long touted the massive energy potential of Fundy’s tides but large-scale commercial efforts to harness them have borne little fruit so far. [CBC.ca]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 14 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “How Solar Micro-Grids Are Powering Myanmar’s Villages” • Yoma Micro Power is building solar power and micro-grids in Myanmar. Each of its 51 micro plants can power a small town and its surrounding areas. By the end of 2019, Yoma Micro Power plans to build 200 more solar power plants. And it is just one of the country’s microgrid pioneers. [GovInsider]

Myanmar (Stefano Alemani, Unsplash)

  • “Unprecedented Fires Burn The Arctic” • The wildfires now burning around the Arctic “unprecedented,” according to the World Meteorological Organization. The UN agency noted that over 100 intense fires burned in the Arctic Circle alone over the past six weeks, releasing more CO₂ into the atmosphere than Sweden does in an entire year. [Mashable SE Asia]
  • “Barry Moves Deeper Into Louisiana With More Rain On The Way” • Tropical Storm Barry moved deeper inland, dumping heavy rain and overtopping levees in areas along the Louisiana coastline. Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 175 miles outward from the storm’s center, but the rainfall always posed the greatest threat. [CNN]
  • “US Auto Sales Down For Nissan, Jeep, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevrolet, Honda, Mercedes, Infiniti, Audi, Mini, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Buick, And Cadillac In 2019” • Most auto brands saw their sales decrease in the US during the first half of 2019. Excluding Tesla (and Jaguar, which does not report sales), US auto sales were down 161,810. [CleanTechnica]
  • “As The World Heats Up, The Climate For News Is Changing, Too” • As Europe heats up, Greenland melts and the Midwest floods, many news organisations are devoting more resources to climate change. In Florida, six newsrooms with different owners have taken the unusual step of pooling resources and sharing their reporting on the issue. [TODAYonline]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 13 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “New Orleans faces a never-before-seen problem with Tropical Storm Barry” • The Mississippi River, which is usually at 6 to 8 feet in midsummer in New Orleans, is now at 16 feet, owing to record spring flooding along the waterway. Barry is threatening a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet at the mouth of the river, which will bring cresting at 19 feet. [CNN]

New Orleans, and the storm hasn’t even hit yet. (Matthew Hinton | AP)

  • “A Pathway To 350 PPM Part 1: Carbon Sequestration Is Vital” • According to Hansen et al, a safe level of atmospheric CO₂ to avert runaway global warming is below 350 PPM. We are at 414 and climbing. So we have our work seriously cut out for us not only to reduce our emissions, but sequester greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Indian Water Train Arrives With Desperately Needed Relief For Chennai” • A train carrying 2.5 million liters of water rolled into the southern Indian city of Chennai, providing desperately needed relief to residents who have been facing an acute water shortage for the past month. It is the first water train for the city’s 4.5 million people. [CNN]
  • “Ford And Volkswagen Autonomous And Electric Car Marriage Is Official” • Volkswagen put its MEB chassis on the table. Ford brought its newly acquired Argo AI division to the party. CNBC reports that spending on self-driving vehicle technology is expected to reach $85 billion annually by 2025, according to a June study by AlixPartners. [CleanTechnica]
  • “State Utility Regulators Approve Power Contract For Planned Hancock County Wind Farm” • A contract under which Emera Maine will pay the 72.6-MW Weaver Wind LLC 3.5¢/kWh, with increases of 2.5%, annually was unanimously supported by the Maine Public Utilities Commission, officials said. The wind farm is to be operational in 2020. [Bangor Daily News]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 12 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Giant Batteries And Cheap Solar Power Are Shoving Fossil Fuels Off The Grid” • Los Angeles is expected to approve a deal for a solar farm and battery to provide 7% of the electricity for the city at 1.997¢/ kWh for the solar power and 1.3¢/ kWh for the battery. That’s cheaper than any power generated with fossil fuel or nuclear power. [Science Magazine]

Solar farm in California (8minute Solar Energy image)

  • “It’s Lindsey Graham Vs. Donald Trump On Climate Change” • Sen Lindsey Graham is sounding an alarm on climate change, and hoping to make it loud enough for President Donald Trump to hear. Graham said acknowledging – and embracing – climate change as an issue in the GOP can be a good thing, and the party is ignoring it at its own peril. [CNN]
  • “Why The Future Is Bright For 100% Clean Energy” • A city in Texas with oil derricks on its license plates. A Kansas town devastated by a tornado. An isolated Alaskan island, known for its huge bears. What do they have in common? All are in red states, yet their electricity is generated from 100% renewable energy sources. [WhoWhatWhy]
  • “Tropical Storm Barry Could Hit The Gulf Coast With ‘Unprecedented’ Flooding. Climate Change Is Likely To Blame” • The Mississippi River is already bursting as a result of months of flooding in the Midwest and South, and Tropical Storm Barry is about to make the situation really dire. Experts say it is a sign of things to come. [Time]
  • “High-Tide Flooding Is Only Going To Get Worse, NOAA Says” • US Coastal communities saw an uptick in flooding from high tides last year, and it’s not likely to get any better, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report. Last year tied the 2015 record for a national median of five days of high-tide flooding. [CNN]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

READY FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION: REV APPLAUDS GOVERNOR’S TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVES

Renewable Energy Vermont (REV) joined Governor Phil Scott at the press conference on July 11, 2019 regarding vehicle electrification and offered the following statement.

“Recognizing the need for lower cost and carbon free transportation solutions, the Governor smartly proposed the State’s first incentive for electric vehicles and continued investments in necessary public charging stations.  As one of the only states in New England without a statewide customer incentive for EVs, Vermont needed this to get back on track.

The low carbon transportation investments being made by the state today to help more Vermonters access electric vehicles result in saving Vermonters more than $4 million.  For every $1 invested in EV incentives Vermonters save more than $3 on gas, car maintenance, and health bills.  The monetary savings for Vermonters in gas over 15 years would be an estimated $9,375,000.

To reduce the burden on electric ratepayers, the bill creates a much-needed path for greater private investment in electric vehicle charging services.  We look forward to seeing more Vermonters saving money and plugging into EVs.”

Find more information about electric vehicles at http://bit.ly/REV-EVFactSheet.

July 11 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Renewable Energy Investment Dips 14% To $117.6 Billion In First Half” • Renewable energy investment dropped 14% to $117.6 billion in the first half of 2019, according to the latest figures from BloombergNEF. The report said renewable energy investment in the world’s biggest market, China, fell 39% to $28.8 billion. [Greentech Lead]

  • “US Is World’s Largest Producer Of Fossil Fuels” • BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2019 was released in June, and the findings revealed that the US is leading the world in production of fossil fuels. Among the important facts in the review, one thing stood out: The US made 98% of total global additions, an astonishing figure. [Modern Diplomacy]
  • “‘Opportunities Everywhere’: NREL Study Shows Mass Potential For Storage To Provide Peaking Capacity” • The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that four hours of storage could meet peaking capacity across the country, with the potential to exceed 50 GW. Currently, fossil fuels are backed up by 261 GW of peaking capacity. [Utility Dive]
  • “Antarctica’s Ice Is Degrading Faster Than We Thought, And There May Be No Way To Stop The Consequences” • There are plenty of ominous indicators of the consequences of climate change, but few are more worrying to scientists than the ice sheets of Antarctica at our planet’s southern pole. It doesn’t take a degree in physics to understand the risk. [CNN]
  • “Next UK Renewable Auction Could See End Of Subsidies” • The next renewable energy auction in the UK could result in subsidy-free projects awarded contracts as next-generation offshore wind technology reduces costs. Winning bids in the next UK auction round are expected to be awarded at rates that are close to wholesale. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

 

Oh, Canada!

by James Hanson, July 10, 2019

North of the border, there is bad news and good news.
Canada’s fossil fuel CO2 emissions remain stubbornly high, despite decreased coal use.  Emissions in 2018 were 7% greater than in 1997, the year of the Kyoto Protocol.  I don’t even want to look up what Canada promised – surely it was not increasing emissions!

The “cap” approach of the Kyoto and Paris agreements is doomed to failure.  We cannot successfully beg each of 200 nations to reduce their emissions.  Until we get the fossil fuel price to begin to reflect its costs to society, we are unlikely to solve the problem.

Canada is the #6 nation in the world in energy consumption!  Because of its large hydro and nuclear power it is ‘only’ #10 in fossil fuel CO2 emissions.  (That ranking was true in 2017; we have not yet completed emission calculations for all nations in 2018).  In per capita emissions Canada is closing in on its gross neighbor to the south and Australia.  The numbers do not include (growing) fossil fuel exports.

The good news up north, modest as it may be, is that last year the Canadian Parliament enacted the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.[1] The Act assesses fees on carbon-based fuels and on industrial facilities that exceed prescribed CO2 emission limits.  The fees apply in provinces that do not already have sufficient carbon pricing, which includes Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan (and Alberta, commencing in 2020).

Approximately 90 percent of the fee will be distributed uniformly to residents – you can thank the hard-working Canadian Citizens Climate Lobby for that!

The story is not finished, of course.  The Attorneys General of Saskatchewan and Ontario then sought to invalidate the Pricing Act.  They appealed to their respective Courts of Appeal last year, alleging, inter alia, that the Act violates the Canadian Constitution’s commitment to federalism and the requirement that any national tax originate in the House of Commons.

Thankfully, a number of Canadians sought to defend the national plan.  One of them, Glenn Wright of Vanscoy, Saskatchewan — a career engineer and farmer turned law student — reached out soon after reading my Dec. 18, 2018 Climate Change in a Nutshell: The Gathering Storm.  Glenn was preparing an affidavit for the National Farmer’s Union in support of a “Factum” filed by intervening citizens with the Saskatchewan court.  The NFU affidavit insisted that although the Saskatchewan  Attorney General raised technical issues of constitutional law, at bottom the “case is about the risks posed to the country by Climate Change and the duty of the Federal government to implement policy and a regulatory framework to control the specific pollutants, namely GHGs, that cause Climate Change.”[2]

Happily, I can report that, first in early May and then in late June the Canadian courts of appeals rejected the provincial challenges and instead determined that the Pricing Act isconstitutional.[3]

As Dan Galpern, my advisor on climate legal and policy matters these last five years, puts it:

Both of the provincial courts determined that the principle of federalism cannot prevent the Canadian Parliament from imposing a rational national floor for climate action – particularly where Canada’s Supreme Court earlier had determined that the matter of the environment constitutes “a diffuse subject that cuts across many different areas of constitutional responsibility, some federal, some provincial.”

Similarly, both courts determined that the Pricing Act’s conditional imposition of fees and charges amounts to a regulatory program and not a scheme of taxation aimed at raising revenue for general governmental programs. Importantly, the courts also determined that even if the Act’s fees and charges amounted to taxes, the Act’s investiture of authority in the executive branch to determine whether those should be applied to any particular recalcitrant province does not at all render them invalid.

The appellate decisions turned on fundamental questions of constitutional law, but both provincial courts demonstrated a keen comprehension of the climate crisis.  This understanding may have been aided by our Nutshell report, which was referenced in the oral arguments and submitted affidavits.

Saskatchewan Province has already appealed the matter to Canada’s Supreme Court, and Ontario may soon follow suit. The Supreme Court at present intends to hear at least the Saskatchewan matter in December. We stand ready, in whatever way makes sense, to assist that Court in comprehending the situation that Parliament attempted to confront. We will keep you apprised.

This Canadian case is but one of several that Dan and I are involved in.  I believe the legal actions are crucial for putting pressure on governments and on the fossil fuel industry.  We need support to continue our work.  You can contribute to CSAS at https://ei.givenow.columbia.edu/# Be sure to enter “Gift for Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions” in the Special Instructions box when you get to the payment page.  Alternatively, you can send a check or wire. Full donation instructions can be found at http://csas.ei.columbia.edu/support.  Eunbi (ej2347@columbia.edu) also can provide assistance.


[1] Parliament recognized that emissions “present an unprecedented risk to the environment, including its biological diversity, to human health and safety and to economic prosperity” and that “it is the responsibility of the present generation to minimize impacts of climate change on future generations”.

July 10 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Sanders And Ocasio-Cortez Pressure Congress To Declare Climate Change A National Emergency” • Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont teamed up with Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon to unveil a new resolution that would declare climate change a national emergency. [CNN]

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (CNN image)

  • “Extinction Rebellion And PR agencies Call For Industry To Declare ‘Climate Conflicts’” • Climate activists Extinction Rebellion are supporting a letter signed by more than a dozen PR agencies announcing their refusal to work on fossil fuel briefs, and calling for the PR industry to declare its ‘climate conflicts.’ Several have already begun on disclosures. [PRWeek]
  • “Chinese Thermal Coal Demand Set To Fall With Launch Of New Power Transmission Line” • A tranmission line of ultra-high voltage, at 1.1 million volts, and 3,324 km (2,065-miles) long, has been launched in China. It is expected to cut demand for thermal coal dramatically, according to market sources quoted by S&P Global Platts. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Chinese Expert Warns Australia Against Investing In New Coal Mines” • A Chinese renewable energy expert warned Australia against investing in new coal mines because her country, one of Australia’s biggest coal customers, is moving away from coal for energy production. China’s installed generating capacity is 38.3% renewable. [The Sydney Morning Herald]
  • “Offshore Wind Energy To Be $70 Billion By 2025” • The Global offshore wind energy industry, which is valued about $18.479 billion in 2016 is projected to grow with a healthy rate of more than 15.9% over the forecast period 2018-2025, a market research report by Global Reports Store said. At this rate, it would reach $69.63 billion by 2025. [OE Digital]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.