Coal de Sack

June 2, 2015

Above – Michael Liebrich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance discusses howe energy efficiency & distributed renewable energy will kill energy suppliers.


Two Appalachian mining companies filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, while Murray Energy Corporation, the largest underground coal miner in the country, said on Friday it is set to lay off around 1,800 workers, more than a fifth of its workforce. Another 439 miners from Alpha Natural Resources are also facing layoffs, the Associated Press reported.

Murray Energy founder and CEO Robert Murray warned of the layoffs and other industry shake-ups last week during a coal conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Every major coal company in this country is either going to be broken up or sold or in bankruptcy except two,” he said. “And I hope I am one of them.”

US coal production is expected to fall 7 percent in 2015, according to the US Energy Information Administration.


The political noose is tightening on the global fossil fuel industry. It is a fair bet that world leaders will agree this year to impose a draconian “tax” on carbon emissions that entirely changes the financial calculus for coal, oil, and gas, and may ultimately devalue much of their asset base to zero.

The International Monetary Fund has let off the first thunder-clap. An astonishing report – blandly titled “How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies” – alleges that the fossil nexus enjoys hidden support worth 6.5pc of world GDP.

This will amount to $5.7 trillion in 2015, mostly due to environmental costs and damage to health, and mostly stemming from coal. The World Health Organisation – also on cue – has sharply revised up its estimates of early deaths from fine particulates and sulphur dioxide from coal plants.

The killer point is that this architecture of subsidy is a “drag on economic growth” as well as being a transfer from poor to rich. It pushes up tax rates and crowds out more productive investment. The world would be richer – and more dynamic – if the burning of fossils was priced properly.

Read the rest of this entry »


June 2, 2015

ilul_1The conference I am attending will begin later today.

Arctic Journal:

The inland ice and sea ice in Greenland continues to melt. The development creates both challenges and opportunities for the Greenlandic society and the rest of the Arctic. Scientist from more than 15 countries will gather in Ilulissat June 2-5 to take the pulse on the changes of the inland ice and sea ice in Greenland and discuss the consequences. The conference begins with an open event in Ilulissat Hall with both Greenlandic and international talks (interpretation to Greenlandic is being planned).

The melting of the inland ice and the withdrawal of sea ice in Greenland continue. This is shown by satellite and flight measurements through several years. Even though Greenland has had cold winters the past years, the summer periods have given a record-breaking melting of several icebergs.ilul3

Special focus on the consequences for the Greenlandic population
More than 180 participants from most of the world will meet in Ilulissat June 2-5 to exchange the latest knowledge about the changes of the Greenlandic ice masses.

”Ilulissat Climate Days was originally planned as a smaller workshop related to collaborations with Nordic partners and the European Space Agency regarding Greenland. The expansion of the workshop to an international conference once again confirms the large international political and research interest in understanding changes in the Arctic sea and land ice,” says René Forsberg, professor at DTU Space and main organizer of the conference.

Locally in Greenland the melting is reflected by increased risk of flooding and longer periods of unstable foundation which some places have devastating consequences for constructed roads and buildings. Also globally the impact of the melting is being felt through the increasing of the sea water level.


On the other hand the smaller amount of sea ice creates opportunities for the Greenlandic population in the form of increasing accessibility and new business opportunities within extraction of raw materials, fishing and tourism.

”Ilulissat Climate Days is a follow-up on the similar event Nuuk Climate Days 2009, which attracted over 150 scientists and political stakeholders. Once again we wish to address the future changes of the ice in and around Greenland with a special focus on the consequences for the Greenlandic people,” says René Forsberg.


Below – you may not have heard of Ilullisat, but if you’ve seen pictures of Greenland glaciers and icebergs, quite likely they were taken near here. A gigantic calving event of the nearby Ilulissat glacier was the centerpiece of the “Chasing Ice” movie :

Read the rest of this entry »

Radio Host Bryan Fischer thinks it’s a reasonable hypothesis. More research needed.

Go ahead and laugh. This is only going to get louder as things keep changing.


I’m sitting in the cafe at the airstrip in Kangerlussuaq, the main port of entry for most folks coming in to Greenland. I believe this is the only place with daily, year round service from Europe – a single “Mothership” Airbus 330, making the run daily from Copenhagen.  There’s a lot of patchy snow in the vicinity – forgot May is still pretty cold here, having come from blossom time in Scandanavia.

I immediately ran into microbiologist Marek Stibal, who is already here camping not far away, taking sediment samples to flesh out the picture of biological activity on the ice.

In about 90 minutes I’ll take another hop to Ilulissat, site of a major Arctic conference next week, where I hope to catch up with a number of very active scientists.  Jason Box is an organizer of the event, and we’ll join up in a few days.

My task this summer is to get as many interviews as possible, as well as shoot a lot of additional footage – and to that end, I’ll be staying in some visually stunning places – Ilulissat for one, and in a week, a place called Uummannaq.


More on this later, once I get settled in Ilulissat.



Times of India:

LUCKNOW: The intense heat wave condition that is sweeping across India currently could be another manifestation of an extreme weather event, said researchers from the New Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), in a statement on Thursday. About 2,000 people have been killed in India by this weather condition. In the worst-affected states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, maximum temperatures have hovered around a searing 45 degrees Celsius.

According to Arjuna Srinidhi, programme manager, climate change, CSE: “Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are.” Srinidhi added “Compared to 2010, heat wave conditions in 2015 so far have been of a shorter duration, yet with a higher death toll. This could be due to the sudden change in temperatures after a prolonged wet February and March that had kept the temperatures cool.”

Climate records show that human-induced global warming had turned 2014 into the hottest year on record. Eight out of the 10 warmest years in India were during the recent past decade (2001-2010), making it the warmest decade on record with a decadal mean temperature anomaly of 0.49 °C.

CSE climate researchers say more heat waves were expected as globally temperatures had risen by an average 0.8 degrees in the past 100 years. Night-time temperatures are rising too, with Ahmedabad and Delhi recently reporting 39 and 36 degrees centigrade. “The number of heat wave days may go up from about 5 to between 30 and 40 every year,” they add.

There is also enough evidence of extreme weather events being on the rise. “This year, we saw the wettest March in about 50 years, and we have already seen the second major flood in Kashmir in a period of six months. These are all extreme weather events,” says Srinidhi.

Financial Times:

Surfaces of some roads in Delhi have melted in the sun, twisting the paintwork of pedestrian crossings into unusual patterns.

Temperatures often rise sharply in May before the onset of torrential monsoon rains but scientists say average temperatures are only likely to rise in the years ahead as a result of global warming, with damaging effects on health and productivity. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m on travel this week, so pinch hitting on posts where possible. These are some highlights:

500 Year Floods aren’t as unusual as they used to be.

In India, Spring Heat wave melts roads and claims lives.

Meanwhile, 2015 seems on track to erase 2014 as the hottest year in the modern record.

The uninterrupted continuation of the warming trend is no surprise. The 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the past 17 years.

And though the rise in the last 10 years has been gentle by comparison, since 1910, the clear trend has been up,according to NASA’s Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index.

In the latter two thirds of that time, warming and the effects on climate have been epochal, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

That new March record

March 2015 edged past the last record high March, which was in 2010, rising by 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 C). Average global land and water temperatures for the first quarter of this year beat the last record first quarter, 2002, by the same margin.

Yet another broken record this March was more obvious to the eye. The expanse of Arctic sea ice shrunk to an absolute low for any March on record.

“The average Arctic sea ice extent for March was 430,000 square miles (7.2 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest March extent since records began in 1979,” NOAA said.

Small gains, large net loss

On the other end of the globe — in the Antarctic — sea ice has been on the gain, and this year, it hit a record March high.

But globally, the overall result is a big net loss. “The upward trend in the Antarctic … is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean,” according to NASA.

E&E Energy Wire (paywalled):

The record-breaking warm weather that has hit northern Alaska this spring is causing severe flooding on the 435-mile Dalton Highway, severing the profitable North Slope oil production fields from the rest of the state. Read the rest of this entry »

From the series of interviews that now make up John Cook’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on understanding, and confronting, Climate Denial.


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