After 3 years of flat CO2 output globally, preliminary data indicate emissions are growing again.

The Conversation:

Global greenhouse emissions from fossil fuels and industry are on track to grow by 2% in 2017, reaching a new record high of 37 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to the 2017 Global Carbon Budget, released today.

The rise follows a remarkable three-year period during which global CO₂ emissions barely grew, despite strong global economic growth.

But this year’s figures suggest that the keenly anticipated global peak in emissions – after which greenhouse emissions would ultimately begin to decline – has yet to arrive.

The Global Carbon Budget, now in its 12th year, brings together scientists and climate data from around the world to develop the most complete picture available of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In a series of threepapers, the Global Carbon Project’s 2017 report card assesses changes in Earth’s sources and sinks of CO₂, both natural and human-induced. All excess CO₂ remaining in the atmosphere leads to global warming.

We believe society is unlikely to return to the high emissions growth rates of recent decades, given continued improvements in energy efficiency and rapid growth in low-carbon energies. Nevertheless, our results are a reminder that there is no room for complacency if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, which calls for temperatures to be stabilised at “well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels”. This requires net zero global emissions soon after 2050.

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Motley Fool:

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), who generates nearly half of its electricity from coal, says it will invest $1.8 billion in renewable energy by 2020. That’s only about 10% of its total capital spending, but it’s a transition other utilities have already begun.

In a press release discussing its future investments, AEP said it will invest $1.8 billion in renewable energy between 2018 and 2020, which seems small compared to its $18.2 billion capital spending plans. But if you pull out $4.4 billion in investment for distribution systems and $9 billion for transmission assets you see that only $3.0 billion will be allocated to fossil fuel generating assets.

The 2018 to 2020 plan is also on top of a $4.5 billion investment in the 2,000 MW Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma, which will be the world’s second-largest wind farm. In total, AEP will spend more on building/buying renewable energy assets than fossil fuels in the next few years.

A shift is happening at U.S. utilities

The transition to renewable energy is happening because utilities see the economics of wind and solar energy as too good to pass up. And they’re putting billions into building their renewable energy businesses.

Duke Energy has 2,300 MW of wind power and 600 MW of solar, investing $4 billion in renewables since 2007. It’s even investing in battery storage as a new generation of grid asset.

NextEra Energy’s subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources says it is the world’s largest generator of electricity from the wind and solar. On top of that, the company has a controlling interest in NextEra Energy Partners (NYSE:NEP), one of the biggest renewable energy yieldcos in the world.

AES has taken a leadership position in energy storage through a partnership with Siemens called Fluence. This is on top of 25% of its power generation portfolio coming from renewable sources.

Southern Company is another to make the surprise move to renewable energy. After leading the charge into “clean coal” and nuclear power, Southern Company has made an about-face and added 4,000 MW of renewables in the last five years.


Pays to be friends with Trump cabinet members.

A Tiny Montana company, with only two employees and scant experience (but connections to Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke) scored a 300 million dollar contract to rebuild the Puerto Rico electrical grid.
A lot of people were outraged by the exorbitant rates Whitefish Energy was charging struggling Puerto Ricans.
Now revealed, the company has been charging $319/hr per lineman, while only paying said lineman $63/hr.

Trumpians don’t get climate change, but whether it’s Iraq, Turkey, or Puerto Rico – they’ve got corruption down to a science.

Ars Technica:

Since Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane Maria in late September, the island has struggled to repair power lines, water pumps, cell phone towers, roads, and bridges. The electrical system has come under the most scrutiny. The commonwealth’s power provider—Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority or PREPA—was bankrupt going into the disaster, and has faced scandal after scandal in recent weeks. After reconnecting more than 40 percent of its customers early last week, a major power line failed on Thursday, reducing the number of reconnected PREPA customers to 18 percent. Although the line was quickly fixed, currently only 47 percent of PREPA’s customers have power now, according to statistics from the Puerto Rican government.

That means that more than 50 percent of previously-connected Puerto Ricans have been living off generators or solar panels for nearly 7 weeks, or they live without power.

New York Times:

SAN JUAN — The small energy outfit from Montana that won a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s tattered power grid had few employees of its own, so it did what the Puerto Rican authorities could have done: It turned to Florida for workers.

For their trouble, the six electrical workers from Kissimmee are earning $42 an hour, plus overtime. The senior power linemen from Lakeland are earning $63 an hour working in Puerto Rico, the Florida utility said. Their 40 co-workers from Jacksonville, also linemen, are making up to $100 earning double time, public records show.

But the Montana company that hired the workers, Whitefish Energy Holdings, had a contract that allowed it to bill the Puerto Rican public power company, known as Prepa, $319 an hour for linemen, a rate that industry experts said was far above the norm even for emergency work — and almost 17 times the average salary of their counterparts in Puerto Rico.

A spokesman for Whitefish, Chris Chiames, defended the costs, saying that “simply looking at the rate differential does not take into account Whitefish’s overhead costs,” which were built into the rate.

“We have to pay a premium to entice the labor to come to Puerto Rico to work,” Mr. Chiames said. Many workers are paid overtime for all the time they work. Overtime pay varies by type of worker, union membership, mainland utility company and many other factors.

Questions are already being raised about a second contract that Prepa signed, this one with an Oklahoma company, Cobra, which was the highest bidder, required a $15 million down payment and — like the doomed Whitefish agreement — included a clause that said the deal could not be audited.

At issue is managing what can be conflicting dynamics — the need to get essential work done quickly and the potential for it to be done at exorbitant prices. With roads and bridges wiped out, schools across the island damaged and health care needs expected to soar, the repair contracts are just two of many that are expected to easily cost billions of dollars.

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Recommended, go to Michael Bloomberg’s remarks starting at 56:00, followed by Jerry Brown. (fyi Brown gets interrupted by demonstrators)

Takeaway: Cities, states, corporations and communities were already doing most of the climate mitigation work in the US, now they are more than picking up the slack left by the irresponsible, and soon to be deposed, administration.


More Clueless Climate Deniers

November 12, 2017

In case after case, Trump nominees to important environmental posts show incredible inability to acknowledge even the most basic facts in front of our eyes.

And why it matters.

New York Times:

In Washington, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is leading recovery efforts that could cost taxpayers more than $50 billion after devastating storms hit Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. At the same time, the agency is wrestling with an even harder problem: how to help communities prepare for future flooding disasters that could be far more severe than anything seen this year.

Complicating that task is the fact that the Trump administration has largely been hostile to discussions of global warming. In August, a week before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, President Trump rescinded an Obama-era executive order that urged federal agencies to take into account climate change and sea-level rise when rebuilding infrastructure.

Climate change remains a polarizing topic in the nation’s capital, and FEMA is caught in the middle. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office warned that rising sea levels and heavier downpours fueled by global warming could increase flooding costs in coastal communities by $23 billion per year by midcentury unless they start adapting now.

“There are plenty of people who want to debate the vocabulary” around climate change, said Roy E. Wright, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation. “But Congress’ instruction was for us to attend ourselves to future risks and reduce the costs of future disasters. So as I look at the adaptation dimension, that’s about resilience. That’s resilience against future events.”

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Back in the day, we used to do this one in the “Small Potatoes String Band”, at the local Holiday Inn.

Seems relevant to where we are.


Jim Hansen not a fan of the Paris Agreement.
Price on carbon needed.