20 Mar 2016

(1) Denmark 100% Clean Energy by 2050, David Roberts
In 2013, 47% of Danish electricity generated by clean energy, 42% from wind power. Goals: 2030 no coal, 2035 all electricity from clean energy, 2050 all energy consumption from clean energy (electricity, heat, transport, industrial). Danes have a carbon tax of $31 per ton. Denmark's smart-grid interconnects with Sweden, Norway & Germany ... they export when they have excess wind power & import when wind is still. Let's start copying the Danes ... tax carbon, decentralize energy production, enforce efficiency goals, support build-out of clean energy & improve the grid.
(2a) Insane Coastal Development Continues Despite Flood Risk
In Miami, 2 multi-billion dollar construction projects are underway though widespread flooding is a near certainty within several decades due to sea level rise. Fort Lauderdale is building, though future flooding is nearly assured. "It is time we prepare to retreat from the rising sea."
(2b) Sea Level Rise Puts 13 Million Americans at Risk of Coastal Flooding
Sea level rise estimates are 3 to 6 feet by 2100. Sea level rise of 3 ft puts 4.2 million Americans at risk of flooding; 6 ft of rise puts 13.1 million Americans at risk. Over half of those at risk live in Florida.
(3) Coal Miners Protest Job Losses in China
As China's economy slows, the government is laying off workers in coal and steel. China is expected to lay off 5 million over 3 years ... they want to retrain and re-employ them in farming and forestry.
(4) Colorado Businesses Ask to Protect National Parks from Coal Pollution
Colorado's national parks are a large part of its $13 billion outdoor recreation economy. 100+ Colorado businesses are demanding that the EPA require Utah coal-fired power plants to install pollution control devices to cut nitrogen oxide pollution.
(5a) Fuel Truck Plunges Through Melting Permafrost in Arctic, Joe Romm
Melting permafrost in the Arctic is causing infrastructure losses ... roadway failures, bridge collapses ... "looks like Canada picked the wrong week to ignore global warming."
(5b) Arctic Heat Causing Food Insecurity
In 2015, U.S. government shipped in frozen fish because the walrus hunt failed. Once stable sea ice is breaking apart under the feet of indigenous hunters and their sled dog teams. On caribou herd had 450,000 in 1986 and now has 20,000.
(6a) Rubio's Climate Denial, Jonathan Chait
In response to a Miami Mayor's question on fighting climate change, Rubio denied man-made climate change and said there's nothing we can do about it. Rubio is "fighting to preserve ... a delusional, anti-government ideology unable to process or cope with real-world conditions. ... innovations have allowed the economy to decarbonize quickly without imposing noticeable costs on consumers. The coal industry is in a state of collapse ...." The combined worth of the 4 largest coal-mining firms fell from $34 billion to $150 million in the past 5 years. Rubio and the GOP are in full denial of the science and of the diplomatic and technological transformation well under way.
(6b) Sanders, Clinton, Rubio, Kasich on Climate Change
Rubio claimed the climate change policies will cripple the economy and kill jobs ... but failing to take action on climate change will have much greater costs ... One of these candidates will be the next U.S. president ... either we maintain momentum on the Paris Climate Agreement or we steer "the world toward more climate destabilization."
(7) Reframing Climate Change May Not Have Much Impact, David Roberts
Alternate framings have been suggested: economic opportunity, spur to innovation, national security threat, impact on health, moral imperative. A recent study suggested little impact of reframing climate change. Why not? An individual's climate policy views are strongly shaped by many factors that cannot be affected by climate change communication (political ideology, income, gender, general social norms, economic conditions of the country). People seek out reinforcing frames to preserve their existing worldviews, self-worth and beliefs of their social network. Repetition matters more than cleverness. The message must come from a trusted source. "...policymakers should keep a strong focus on climate risk reduction as the dominant justification"
(8) Transition to Clean Energy Too Slow, Chris Mooney
Feb 2016 was record-setting warm. The milestone of 2 deg C seems much closer and much more real than ever. We are currently not on an adequate clean energy transition path to stay below 2 deg C. We need half of all our energy from renewables by 2028; that's a massive scale-up. We need "a fast and sweeping energy transition."
(9) 7 Tasks to Implement COP21 Paris Agreement
1. Provide Guidance to Increase Ambition. 2. Ensure Accountability. 3. Track Climate Finance. 4. Promote Adaptation. 5. Develop Capacity Building in Developing Countries. 6. Promote Cooperative Mitigation. 7. Create a Technology Framework.
(10) Spiking Methane Emissions
Cows & rice production may be contributing more to spiking methane emissions. "Decarbonizing what we eat is just as important as decarbonizing what we drive or what we use to heat our homes."
(11a) Decoupling Carbon Emissions from Economic Growth, Joe Romm
The global economy grew while CO2 emissions were flat for the 2nd year in a row. Electricity generated by clean energy is an important factor. U.S. emissions fell 2% and China's 1.5%.
(11b) Decoupling Economic Growth & CO2 Emissions, Chris Mooney
Global economies grew 3.1% in 2015, yet CO2 emissions fell slightly to 32.1 gigatons CO2, per a recent IEA study. "...a decoupling of growth from emissions, while certainly good news, is not enough - emissions need to decline, quickly, to preserve hope of staying within a climate safety zone."
(12a) Coal Companies Pay Too Little to Mine Federal Lands
3/4ths of mined coal comes from federal lands. Coal is a dirty fossil fuel causing smog, acid rain, air pollution and global warming from its greenhouse gases. "...a federal program that has flooded the market with subsidized coal is clearly inconsistent with federal policy priorities to address climate change" The coal companies should be paying 5 times what they pay now. Coal companies spend millions to lobby government to keep federal lease costs low. In Jan 2016, Obama put a moratorium on coal leases.
(12b) U.S. Subsidizes Coal
Peabody Energy is the world's largest coal producer ... it has paid climate skeptics and funded climate skeptic organizations. Peabody is now likely to file for bankruptcy ... it's peak share price was $1,079 in 2011 and is $2 now. It's laid off 20% of its workers. Peabody ditched its pension obligations to retired miners through restructuring but the coal executives have received million dollar bonuses. Peabody has been heavily subsidized through cheap coal leases on federal land.
(12c) Obama Administration’s Investment into Coal Communities
The Obama administration just announced $65.8 million investment to help coal communities transition to new economic opportunities. The initiative is called Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER). The Sierra Club praised the administration and says Congress now needs to act to further allocate such resources.
(13) Energy Security Drives U.S. Military to Clean Energy
Energy security, not environmental concern, is the key driver for the Pentagon to pursue clean energy. U.S. Marines talk of "expeditionary energy" ... on-the-go solar & backpacks that generate electricity. The Air Force is pursuing on-site distributed generation and smart microgrids. The Army met 12% of its energy demand via renewables. The Navy's goal is to get 50% of its energy from renewables by 2020.
(14) Climate Change Threatens Fort Yukon
Fort Yukon in NE Alaska is 10 miles North of the Arctic Circle. Climate Change is causing weaker ice, shorter winters and new flora & fauna. Traditionally, they've lived off the land ... catching salmon, hunting moose & caribou, picking berries and growing food. Now they rarely see caribou and they catch 8# rather than 30# salmon. Their children "...won't have moose to eat or salmon" 3 million people live in the Arctic and are some of the first to experience climate change impacts.
(15) UK Budget Subsidizes Fossil Fuels & Ignores Climate Change
The UK budget does little to support clean energy and subsidizes North Sea oil. "The chancellor said several times that this was a budget for future genertations ... it's not evident that he has internalized the implications of the Paris climate summit."
(16) Global Warming: What Has Changed Already?
What has changed? Global surface temperatures, atmospheric temperatures, ocean heat content, sea level, the number of flood days, Greenland ice sheet extent, glacier extents, Arctic sea ice extent.
(17) Seattle Climate Change Impacts
Duwamish is most at risk from sea level rise. Heavier rain will lead to flooding. Toxic algae in Puget Sound is more likely. Inward migration from other areas impacted more by climate change will affect us.