Summer is coming fast, and I got held up with last-minute edits on the recent Arctic council/SWIPA video – so I had to boogie to get this pulled together. Had Dr. Jason Box add some footage and voice overs.

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And boy, that footage. This year, we are supporting a ground-breaking new Green Technology for Arctic Exploration – the WindSled.

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One of the frustrations of arctic travel is the need for carbon intensive energy at every stage of getting in and out. One possible solution for scientists making measurements on the ice is a wind powered moving base station that can make traverses of the ice sheet with minimal carbon footprint.

sled5 Read the rest of this entry »

Nuclear proponents keep talking about “new” nuclear, technologies that will finally meet acceptable standards of safety, while providing insurance against weaponization and nuclear proliferation.

Nobody’s actually building that tech yet – meanwhile, the realization has set in among even the most enthusiastic proponents, that, while the zero carbon energy from nuclear is a desirable commodity, cost overruns and mismanagement have finally overwhelmed subsidies and other advantages,  and the competition from Renewables is simply overwhelming.

Economic Times of India:

Forget the Bush-Manmohan Singh vision of a nuclear power renaissance. Recent developments — cheap solar power plus the bankruptcy of Westinghouse — call for a total overhaul of nuclear plans that now look obsolete, dangerous and ultra-costly.

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I say this as one who solidly supported the Bush-Manmohan deal in 2005. That deal lifted sanctions against India, and provided access to imported uranium and nuclear technology. In return, the US, France, Japan and Russia were to build six nucl ..
six nuclear plants each in India, reviving their flagging equipment industries.

In 2005, the nuclear industry expected a boom following global concerns on greenhouse gases. Nuclear power then was costlier than coal-based power but much cheaper than solar. With many nations going big on nuclear, scale economies plus third-generation technology promised to make nuclear power as cheap as thermal power, minus the carbon.

Then came the Fukushima disaster in Japan. This highlighted the nuclear power risks. It led to the closure of old nuclear plants and cancellation of new ones across the world. The disappearance of mass orders killed scale economies for equipment, while new safety concerns led to expensive re-design.

During the parliamentary debate on the Bush-Manmohan deal, the government claimed that nuclear power would cost no more than coal-based power, which was Rs 2.50/unit then. Today it is Rs 4/unit. Can foreign nuclear suppliers match this? No. Aniruddh Mohan of the Observer Research Foundation says the two new Russian reactors, Kudankulam 3 and 4, have a negotiated tariff of Rs 6.30/unit. He estimates tariffs will be Rs 9 for Westinghouse and Rs 12 for Areva. News reports say India seeks to cap the Areva tariff at Rs 7/unit. Read the rest of this entry »

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8 MW turbines. That’s a big machine, but not nearly the upper limit.
Offshore power coming of age is a real game changer. Big implications for more traditional power sources.

They are, of course, not American, we’ve given away that leadership.
Thanks climate deniers!

Guardian:

The planet’s biggest and most powerful wind turbines have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast, cementing Britain’s reputation as a world leader in the technology.

Danish company Dong Energy has just finished installing 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay that are taller than the Gherkin skyscraper, with blades longer than nine London buses. Dong Energy, the windfarm’s developer, believes these machines herald the future for offshore wind power: bigger, better and, most importantly, cheaper.

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Each of the 195m-tall turbines in the Burbo Bank extension has more than twice the power capacity of those in the neighbouring Burbo Bank windfarm completed a decade ago. “That shows you something about the scale-up of the industry, the scale-up of the technology,” said Benjamin Sykes, the country manager for Dong Energy UK.

The project is the first time the 8MW turbines have been commercially used anywhere in the world, which Sykes hailed as a “very important milestone” for the sector.

Subsidies, friendly regulation and a maritime past have helped the UK install more offshore wind power than any other country in the world. Collectively they now have a capacity of 5.3GW, generating enough electricity to power 4.3m homes. Eight further projects already under construction will add more than half that capacity again.

But ministers have made it clear that the industry must keep cutting costs if the technology, the only large renewable energy source backed by the Conservatives, is to continue earning taxpayer support.

While a recent study showed the cost of offshore wind has fallen a third since 2012, a key litmus test will be the results of a government auction this summer for £290m of renewable energy subsidies.

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Katharine Hayhoe is one of my favorite people in climate science. She’s so much nicer than I am, and that’s helped her become one of Time magazine’s “Top 100 Influential People”.  Above, one of her most recent interviews.

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I spoke to Dr. Hayhoe in 2012, when she had just barely become sort-of almost famous.  She told me this was still one of her favorite interviews, below.
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Poking around the Dark Snow Project Facebook page – came across this picture I had not seen before, taken by Mackenzie Skiles during the first Dark Snow expedition, in 2013.

That’s myself with Jason Box, at the apex of our stay in Greenland, we caught a break in the weather, and managed to Chopper-sprint up to a place called Saddle – the geographic center of the southern Greenland Ice Sheet – where not too many people go. In fact, Jason told us that he had set up the small weather station there 15 years previously, having traversed in via snow machine over a hundred kilometers or so from the nearest Science Station. So far as he knew, no one had ever gone there via chopper.

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I looked back into the archives to recap our arrival in Greenland that year – late June 2013.

Dark Snow Settles into Greenland Base:
houseThe Dark Snow project Science and media team has set up shop  in a small cabin on the outskirts of Sisimiut, on the coast of Greenland.

Scientists Jason Box and Marek Stibal, along with myself,  will be working pushing out communications, video, still pictures, and narrative over the next several days, while we wait for the remainder of the scientific team to arrive, and for our helicopter transportation situation to clarify.  Our originally contracted helicopter provider has been hamstrung by the Danish regulatory system for now, and we were able to fly this week by making a last minute arrangement.  Plans for the coming days are being re-evaluated on a daily, and even hourly basis.

Dr. Stibal will be heading home tomorrow, as his samples so far indicates that the glacier-based organisms he has been sampling may be at a more advanced growth stage when he returns in August.  Dr. Box is busy reviewing budget and planning items, and working with me to go thru the large amount of video and stills we have already acquired, as well as create more interviews and voice-over for an expanding number of interested media outlets.

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We’ve seen sunshine, rain, snow and fog, sometimes all within the same hour.
The only condition that has not changed radically in recent days has been the sun, which is always circling the arctic sky, and when the clouds part, dazzlingly bright.

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Sisimiut varies wildly between spectacular physical scenery,  incongruous and unexpected human dwellings clinging precariously to the outlying rocks, bustling traffic and  dreary public housing in the city center.  The temperatures have ranged from comfortably cool to biting cold, and today we had snow, that fell but did not stick. The wind comes and goes, but generally remains not far out of mind or ear. Enormous Ravens haunt the rocks around our tiny cottage, babbling as we come in and out, and occasionally bursting out of the shadows with ponderous Tolkeinesque flapping.

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Unwitting.

Best defense you can make for someone who is both one of DC’s dumbest climate deniers, and apparently for years, an “unwitting” agent of Russian influence.

As the Russiagate disaster plays out, it will become clear that Russia’s aim has been to remove US sanctions and clear the way for unlimited exploitation of huge hydrocarbon resources that are the foundation of Russia’s sagging economy, and the source of Vladimir Putin, and his circle’s, staggering wealth.
That’s what this is about. That’s what it’s always been about.

New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. warned a Republican congressman in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him, officials said, an example of how aggressively Russian agents have tried to influence Washington politics.

The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia. He claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match with the current Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the 1990s. He is one of President Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.

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As a newly appointed special counsel investigates connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, the warning to Mr. Rohrabacher shows that the F.B.I. has for years viewed Russian spies, sometimes posing as diplomats, as having a hand in Washington.

Mr. Rohrabacher was drawn into the maelstrom this week when The Washington Post reported on an audio recording of Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, saying last year, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Mr. McCarthy said on Wednesday that he had made a joke that landed poorly.

But the F.B.I. has taken seriously the possibility that Russian spies would target American politicians. In a secure room at the Capitol, an F.B.I. agent told Mr. Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him as an “agent of influence” — someone the Russian government might be able to use to steer Washington policy-making, former officials said

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Looking back, you can trace the current awakening of deep public concern about climate change to the extreme events of 2012.

This is the vid I made in summer of that year.  A lot of people liked it.

Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives.

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