October 29, 2014
New climate theme ad from Tom Steyer’s Next Gen group.
I’m told it was to appear on a world series broadcast. Not a baseball fan, so don’t know, but it’s getting a lot of traffic online,
Narrator, Woody Harrelson, Director, Darren Aronofsky.
I have a problem with the sound, where Harrelson says “..they tell us climate change is a hoax..” — it’s a bit muffled, and I lost the meaning on the first listening.
See what you think.
October 29, 2014
Technology leapfrog in progress.
A study of 55 nations — including China, Brazil, South Africa, Uruguay and Kenya — found that they’ve installed a combined 142 gigawatts from 2008 to 2013. The 143 percent growth in renewables in those markets compares with an 84 percent rate in wealthier nations, which installed 213 megawatts, according to a report released today by Climatescope.
The boom in renewables is often made for economic reasons, Ethan Zindler, a Washington-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst, said in an interview. An island nation like Jamaica, where wholesale power costs about $300 a megawatt-hour, could generate electricity from solar panels for about half as much. Similarly, wind power in Nicaragua may be half as expensive as traditional energy.
“Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of these countries,” Zindler said by telephone. “The technologies are cost-competitive right now. Not in the future, but right now.”
Even as more than 300 million people still wait for electricity in India, Dharnai in Bihar declared itself energy-independent today with the launch of Greenpeace’s solar-powered micro-grid. The 100 kilowatt (kW) micro-grid currently provides quality electricity to a population of more than 2200 in Dharnai village of Jehanabad district in Bihar.
“We had tried everything in the book to get electricity for the last 30 years. But we haven’t seen a single speck of hope. While India was growing leaps and bounds, we were stuck here with kerosene lamps and expensive diesel generators. But now I can proudly say that Dharnai is a leader in innovation. We have established our identity as an energy-self-sufficient village and can compete with the country in its race to growth,” said Kamal Kishore a resident of Dharnai.
The solar powered micro-grid is a comprehensive, first of its kind enterprise that provides electricity to more than 400 households and 50 commercial establishments. This includes 70 kW for electricity generation and 30 kW for 10 solar powered water pumping systems of three horsepower each. The 100 kW micro-grid also takes care of 60 street lights, energy requirements of two schools, one health centre, one Kisan Training Centre and 50 commercial establishments. It gives the village the mandate to not just a better life but also an ambition.
October 29, 2014
Know your wingnuttery. I had not heard this one before.
Pat Robertson may be a stalwart denier of climate change, but today on “The 700 Club” the televangelist conceded that climate change did occur in biblical times, and that’s why humans no longer live to be 950 years old like Noah, or make it to 969 like Noah’s grandfather Methuselah.
“Apparently, after the Flood there wasn’t as much moisture in the air, there weren’t as many bacteria, microbes and things like that and maybe the climate was such that salts on our bodies weren’t as severe,” he said. “But after the Flood, God said the years of a man is going to be 120 years.”
October 28, 2014
No sooner had I posted (below) about climate denier backpedaling in the current election cycle, than I came across Lee Fang’s collection of climate denying politicians across the country. Obviously, still a lot of work to do.
October 28, 2014
Above, report from ABC News shows how Republican politicians with hopes for future credibility are sidling toward the exits of the CrazyTown Hilton.
George P Bush, newest clan member, is running for Texas Land Commissioner, and, for now, copping the “I’m not a scientist” line.
There was a slight thaw in the climate change debate this month. Six candidates for high office – three Republicans and three Democrats – publicly debated what to do about climate change instead of arguing about the science.
Climate and energy issues have taken prominence in the ad war leading up to Election Day. But politicians running for office in coastal states seem to be realizing that they need to debate how to respond to the effects of climate change too, especially as the effects of sea-level rise become increasingly evident to their constituents.
Public perceptions of climate change are moving from the theoretical to the practical. Coastal residents who are watching streets turn into estuaries at high tide, in particular, want to hear about solutions. Politicians have clearly taken notice.
The level of our political discourse around climate change seems to be rising, along with the sea.
Candidates express concerns about rising seas in low-lying Hampton roads
In the Virginia Senate race, Sen. Mark Warner (D) and his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie were asked about rising seas at a forum hosted by the state’s Central Business District Association. Although the event was not recorded, the Associated Press summarized their comments this way:
The Hampton Roads region routinely floods during even minor storms, and flooding is expected to worsen because of sea level rise. Warner said that sea level rise and man-made climate change are clearly linked. He said Gillespie doesn’t believe climate change is caused by humans.
Gillespie denied that characterization. He said in two debates that he’s had with Warner that he believes there’s ample evidence of climate change and that man contributes to it. Gillespie said sea level rise is a major concern and that he believes the federal government has a role to address it, including seeking funding.
October 28, 2014
The Greenland Ice Sheet covers an area about the size of all the land in the United States east of the Mississippi River. This huge mass of ice averages a thickness of 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles), and contains roughly 8 percent of the world’s fresh water. If all of it melted, it would increase global sea level by about 7.4 meters (24 feet).
Except for a narrow perimeter near the coasts, the ice sheet covers most of Greenland’s land surfaces year round. In winter, snowfall blankets the coastlines as well, making the whole island appear white in satellite imagery. But as temperatures rise in the summer, Greenland’s appearance begins to change. Melting exposes rocky coastlines, where glaciers pour out through narrow fjords to the sea. Farther inland, the smooth expanses of white are replaced by bands of darker, bare ice pockmarked with melt ponds and streams.
That underlying “dark” ice is part of the permanent ice sheet, and it is of great interest to climate scientists Johnny Ryan of Aberystwyth University and Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. Ryan and Box spent much of the summer of 2014 mapping dark ice and studying its composition in a campaign they called the Dark Snow Project.
Fresh snow has an albedo of about 0.86, meaning it reflects about 86 percent of the sunlight that hits it. The darker underlying ice can have an albedo as low as 0.3. Since it is much less reflective than fresh winter snow, dark ice absorbs a much higher percentage of incoming sunlight, warms the surface faster, and hastens melting.
Around their camp in southwestern Greenland, Ryan and Box observed that snow and ice were darkened by a combination of dust, algae, and soot from wildfires. Most of the soot and dust was likely deposited thousands of years ago, Ryan noted, “so what happened in the past is having a direct effect on how the ice sheet behaves today.”
The image at the top of this page was captured by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on August 5, 2014, and offers a view of the tents and scientific equipment in the Dark Snow Project. (The camp was located at 67.078 north latitude and 49.402 west longitude.) Dark ice, rich with impurities, was particularly visible east of the melt stream near the camp. The second image was taken by the UAV on August 6 and shows a closeup of one of the tents, as well as research equipment such as a spectrometer and reference targets of pure white (albedo of 1) and pure black (albedo of 0) to calibrate the sensors on the UAV. Several water-filled cylindrical melt holes known as cryoconites are also visible.
The goal of the 2014 Dark Snow expedition was to measure the albedo of the surface using cameras and pyranometers. Box and Ryan hope to compare the albedo measurements they made with the UAVs to the ground-based albedo measurements, and then to satellite observations of albedo from MODIS. The images below were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on February 25, 2014, and on August 5, 2014.
Director Robbie Kenner talks about his new film, “Merchants of Doubt”, which profiles the parallels between tobacco industry science denial, and climate denial.
Kenner is the director of the highly regarded “Food Inc”, which had a big impact a few years ago. I think this one, coming as more and more climate deniers are back on their heels as the tide turns against them, could have a large impact.
Release scheduled for in February 2015.