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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

 Noteworthy News

Energy Tidbits

At greenenergytimes.org there are daily posts with links to articles. Here is a selection of those we found most interesting this summer:

Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. Photo by Gabriel Sozzi. Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. Photo by Gabriel Sozzi. Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia Commons.

June 18 – Pope Francis has clearly embraced what he calls a “very solid scientific consensus” that humans are causing cataclysmic climate change that is endangering the planet. The pope has also severely criticized global political leaders for their “weak responses” and lack of will over decades to address the issue.

July 1 – The state of New York has now officially banned fracking completely, nearly a year after communities won the right to ban oil and gas development locally. This action has concluded the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s comprehensive, seven-year review.

July 2 – Coal is no longer king in America, according to the US Energy Information Administration, which provides independent statistics and analysis of the energy sector. Coal lost its number one spot as the nation’s top electricity source for the first time on record this April. Most of the recent loss is to renewable power and improved energy efficiency.

July 8 – In Nevada, NV Energy has lined up what may be the cheapest electricity in the US, and it comes from a solar farm. The Berkshire Hathaway company agreed to pay 3.87¢/kWh for power from a 100-MW First Solar project. Add the value of subsidies to that, and it is still below the cost of most power from natural gas.

July 11 – World seabird populations have suffered a staggering 70% drop over the last 60 years, according to international research. There are currently 230 million fewer seabirds than there were in the 1950s Most of the decline is due to the effects of fossil fuels or fossil fuel products.

July 14 – ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change, seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this, the firm spent millions over the next 27 years on research denying climate change.

Mountaintop removal coal mining filled the valley behind this home. Photo by Flashdark. Released to the Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Mountaintop removal coal mining filled the valley behind this home. Photo by Flashdark. Released to the Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

July 18 – Since the 1970s, the tops of over 500 mountains have been removed and more than 2,000 miles of headwater streams destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. Now, the US Interior Department has issued proposed water protection rules that would effectively end the common practice.

July 22 – French lawmakers adopted a long-delayed energy law to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear reactors and lower carbon emissions by cutting the use of fossil fuels. The sweeping energy transition law reflects a three-year-old campaign pledge by President François Hollande to cut nuclear power and increase renewables.

Four solaire Félix Trombe Solar power engine in Font-Romeu, Franc. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0

July 26 – An International Monetary Fund study says worldwide energy subsidies are much greater than previously known. The combination of direct and indirect subsidies is projected at $5.3 trillion in 2015. Most of this supports fossil fuels and arises from countries setting energy taxes below levels that fully reflect damage to the environment. Country-level estimates are available.

July 28 – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its monthly report on new US generating capacity. CleanTechnica added a careful estimate of new rooftop solar capacity, and here are the numbers for June: 44% of new capacity came from wind power, 41.5% came from solar power, 13% was biomass, and 2% was natural gas. Overall, for the first half of 2015, renewables accounted for 78.4% of new capacity.

August 1 – Dr. James L. Powell, director of the National Physical Science Consortium, examined titles and abstracts of more than 24,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles on climate change published during the past couple of years. He identified 69,406 authors named in the articles. Only four of them rejected the fact that human emissions cause climate change.

August 3 – The Obama administration unveiled its Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at a large reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Power Plan is the final version of Environmental Protection Agency regulations, which have been the subject of public input to the EPA. President Barack Obama called it “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.”

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