Get Email Updates!

Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Saving Earth

Figure 6. Fossil fuel CO2 emissions by the three countries with largest current emissions.

James Hansen

I must finish Sophie’s Planet this year, so I am writing few Communications. However, I make the draft of Chapters 31-34 available here [at http://bit.ly/Sophies-Planet-31-34], because my perspective of and conclusion about events in the 1980s differs from that of Nathaniel Rich in Losing Earth. I kept careful notes during that era and subsequent years, so I am confident that what I write is accurate, but I would welcome corrections.

Earth was not “lost” ln the 1980s. Earth is not lost today, but time for action is short.

Climate concerns in the late 1980s led quickly to the 1992 Framework Convention: all nations agreed to limit greenhouse gases to avoid ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference’ with climate. The problem was that neither the 1997 Kyoto Protocol nor the 2015 Paris Agreement directly addressed global energy policies. For the sake of young people, we must understand that failure and take appropriate actions.

It is wonderful that more people are waking up to the fact that we have a climate emergency. The emergency was clear more than a decade ago when it was realized that the long-term safe level of atmospheric CO2 was less than 350 ppm¹. Already, we were well into the dangerous zone.

Good policy-making requires an understanding of the time scales of change. The public tends to focus on extreme weather and climate events, because of their great practical importance. However, the ‘existential threat’ of climate change derives from long-term underlying climate change that affects sea level and the habitability of parts of the world, as well as the magnitude of extreme events.

In Sophie’s Planet I argue that the climate system’s inertia, i.e., its slow response to human-made changes of atmospheric composition, provides us the possibility to avert the existential threat of climate change. But to achieve that end we need to understand not only the climate system, but the time scales for change of the energy and political systems.

Why do I include political systems? My training in physics is relevant to climate and energy systems, but politics? I have witnessed a lot, and I took careful notes. The period includes the Clinton and Obama Administrations, which supposedly tried to address climate change. We need to understand the mistakes.

Political polarization makes solution of the climate problem more difficult. I doubt that political extremes represent most people. I make a case in Sophie’s Planet for a third party in the United States, aimed at making America America again. American leadership is needed to address climate change.

It will be a lot of work. Polarization did not come about instantly, and it cannot be fixed quickly. Groundwork includes changing to a ranked voting system, so third party candidates are never ‘spoilers.’ That requires changing some state Constitutions. The party should decide whether/when it is ready to field a presidential candidate. A third party with even a few representatives in Congress can begin to have a big impact. Initially it may be only a force for changing the major parties, but that is a lot.

Our universities and democratic system in the United States have the innovation potential to move us and the world more rapidly to clean affordable energy. Our major parties, both on the take from special interests, share the blame for failing to provide the focus and incentives to develop that potential. In the near-term we must try to affect legislation and candidates for office, but this approach has been failing for decades, so I will argue for a third party that takes no funding from special interests.

(To read the rest of this article, visit http://bit.ly/GET-Saving-Earth)

July 8 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Thunberg = ‘Greatest Threat’ To Fossil Fuel Companies’ | Ocasio-Cortez = ‘Determined To Destroy the America We Know’” • What is it about these two young women, Greta Thunberg, who is 16 years old, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is 29, that squeezes expletives out of some of the world’s most important mouths? [CleanTechnica]

Greatest threat to the fossil fuels companies (Anders Hellberg, Wikimedia Commons)

  • “FERC Now Expects Big Drop For US Fossil Fuels, Nuclear Power Over Next Three Years, Major Growth For Renewables” • FERC’s latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” suggests that fossil fuel generating capacity may not grow and nuclear capacity may decline by over 7 GW by June 2022. But Renewables could grow by over 45 GW. [Renewables Now]
  • “Boeing Gets Cozy With Kitty Hawk” • Boeing is now working with Kitty Hawk’s Cora division, the 2-person electric vertical take-off and landing air taxi. Kitty Hawk, which has been around for some time in eVTOL years, introduced the Cora in March of last year. Since then, Kitty Hawk says it has accumulated more than 700 test flights. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Renewables Catching Nuclear Power In Global Energy Race” • In 2018, nuclear power generated 2,701 TWh of electric energy, compared to 4,193 TWh for hydropower and 2,480 for other renewables. In comparison, coal produced more power than all three categories combined. But as non-hydro renewables grow, the other generating technologiess decline. [Forbes]
  • “Wind And Solar’s Share Has Grown 800% Without Reliability Issues” • The share of electricity supplied by wind and solar multiplied eightfold in the U.S. over a decade without causing reliability issues, according to a recent report to members of Congress. There have also been occasions when renewables supplied the majority of power. [Forbes]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 7 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Ford To Share Volkswagens’s MEB Electric Vehicle Platform” • A confidential source told Reuters that Ford and Volkswagen have an agreement in principal allowing the American automaker to share VW’s new MEB electric car platform. The arrangement is expected to be formalized at a Volkswagen board of directors meeting on July 11. [CleanTechnica]

Fully-electric Ford Focus (Courtesy: Ford)

  • “Forty Shades Of Green And 5,000 New Renewable Energy Jobs For Ireland” • Renewable company Energia has announced a €3 billion investment that will provide up to 5,000 jobs in Ireland over the next five years. Energia plans projects to focus on onshore and offshore wind farms, solar power, hydrogen fuel generation, and bio-energy facilities. [IrishCentral]
  • “Critic Blasts PNM’s Plan To Replace Coal; Utility Defends Proposal” • Public Service Company of New Mexico filed a plan offering ways to replace two coal-fired plants, saying they would save residential customers money and provide 42% renewable energy in four years. One opposing group said the plan was faulty and “eco-left.” [Farmington Daily Times]
  • “Here Comes The Sun: Colorado Communities Organizing To Tap Solar Resources” • A national nonprofit organization that helps communities form solar-energy cooperatives is organizing homeowners in Fort Collins and the Yampa Valley. It is starting to expand to Grand Junction and Pueblo, and to reach out to Denver residents. [The Denver Post]
  • “How USDA Climate Change Denial Threatens The South” • The US Department of Agriculture has withheld from the public dozens of climate-related studies conducted by the department’s principal research agency, the Agricultural Research Service, a recent Politico investigation found. Out of 45 studies produced, only two were released. [Truthout]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 6 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Blackjewel Withheld $1.2 Million From Payroll, Didn’t Put In 401(k)s” • Bankrupt coal mine operator Blackjewel LLC has withheld $1.2 million from employees’ paychecks without depositing the funds in the workers’ retirement accounts. The company suddenly shuttered two Wyoming mines on Monday, laying off nearly 600 workers. [WyoFile]
    (Since the beginning of May, Cambrian Coal and Cloud Peak have also filed for bankruptcy.)

Belle Ayr mine (Dustin Bleizeffer | WyoFile)

  • “Paychecks Bounce, Leaving Kentucky Coal Miners At Bankrupt Blackjewel In A Bind” • It’s been an anxious week for coal miners in Southeastern Kentucky after their last paychecks from a bankrupt coal company bounced, leaving them short on cash and wondering when, or if, they’ll get paid or go back to work anytime soon. [Lexington Herald Leader]
  • “OPEC Head: Climate Activists Are The ‘Greatest Threat’ To Oil Industry” • What’s one of the world’s most powerful cartel’s afraid of? A bunch of meddling kids. Climate activists and their “unscientific” claims are “perhaps the greatest threat to our industry going forward,” said Mohammed Barkindo, the secretary general of OPEC. [Grist]
  • “More Signs That Natural Gas Can’t Compete With Renewables On Cost” • From a natural gas industry conference to a major metropolitan area, it is getting clearer that natural gas is losing economically to renewables and battery storage. Considering recent news on climate change, this emerging reality couldn’t come soon enough. [DeSmog]
  • “Gold Fields Mine Is First In Australia To Incorporate Wind Into A Hybrid Microgrid” • Gold Fields and EDL are rolling out the first hybrid microgrid with windpower at a mine in Australia. The Agnew minewill have 18 MW of windpower, 16 MW of natural gas generation, 4 MW of solar and 13 MW/4 MWh of energy storage. [Microgrid Knowledge]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 5 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Restoring Forests Could Capture Two-Thirds Of The Carbon Humans Have Added To The Atmosphere” • Restoring the world’s lost forests could remove two thirds of all the planet-warming carbon that is in the atmosphere because of human activity, according to a study from Swiss university ETH Zurich published in the journal Science. [CNN]

Swedish spruce forest (W.carter, Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

  • “Anchorage Was 89 Degrees On July 4. That’s Not A Typo” • Alaska’s heat wave continued through Independence Day, and in Anchorage, the temperatures shattered an all-time record. The temperature at the airport was 89°F, besting June 14, 1969, for the highest mark ever reached in the state, according to the National Weather Service. [CNN]
  • “State Mandates Driving Demand For Renewables” • At least four states boosted their goals for renewable energy this year, joining others that direct power generators to produce more electricity from wind turbines, solar panels and other clean sources. These mandates are increasingly driving development of renewables nationwide. [Houston Chronicle]
  • “Researchers Unlock Secret To Higher Efficiency Solar Cells” • A team of researchers at MIT and Princeton has demonstrated a way to get every high energy photon striking silicon to kick out two electrons instead of one, opening the door for a new kind of solar cell with greater efficiency than previously thought feasible, possibly to as much as 35%. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Climate Change Lawsuits Spreading Around The World, Says Report” • Legal action on climate change has become a global phenomenon, with lawsuits launched against governments and corporate interests in 28 countries so far, according to a report from the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. [CNN]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 4 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “UK Power Sector Nears “Landmark” Renewable ‘Tipping Point’ Even As It Underestimates Solar” • The UK power sector is on track to reach a “landmark tipping point,” according to the country’s national grid operator. It is nearing the point where non-fossil fuel sources generate more electricity than traditional fossil fuel-powered generation. [CleanTechnica]

Solar power (Solarcentury image)

  • “Are Parts Of India Becoming Too Hot For Humans?” • Heat waves have already killed more than 100 people in India this summer, and they are predicted to worsen in coming years. India is likely to be one of the countries most affected by climate change, as large parts of the country could become too hot for human habitation. [CNN]
  • “Offshore Wind Expected To Grow ‘Clean-Tech’ Jobs” • Job growth for renewable energy and energy efficiency slowed in Rhode Island last year, but employers expect stronger growth this year and in the years ahead because of the expansion of offshore wind, according to the 2019 Rhode Island Clean Energy Industry Report. [ecoRI news]
  • “New European Solar Installations To Double Over Next 3 Years, Surpass 250 GW” • New European solar installations are expected to double over the next three years, according to analysis from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. The new installatins will push Europe’s installed capacity over the 250 GW mark by 2024. [CleanTechnica]
  • “India Wins Tit-For-Tat Solar Case Against US At WTO” • The World Trade Organization issued its ruling on the dispute number DS510 filed by India against the US. In the ruling, the WTO found that as many as 11 state-level incentive and tax credit programs do not conform to the provisions of international trade agreements. [CleanTechnica]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

July 3 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Houston Ranks Number One In America In Renewable Energy Use” • The City of Houston, long associated with oil, sources a whopping 92% of its power from wind and solar energy. According to a February EPA report, that impressive percentage ranks it higher in renewable energy use than any other city government in the US. [PaperCity Magazine]

Wind turbines

  • “Last Month Broke The Record For Hottest June Ever In Europe And Around The World” • Will this be a summer for the history books? Average global temperatures were the hottest on record last month, ranging about 0.10°C (or 0.18°F) higher than that of the previous record-holder, the Copernicus Climate Change Service reported. [CNN]
  • “Four Reasons Renewables Will Continue To Dominate Fossil Fuels” • Renewables will dominate energy markets in the US because of their economics, even without the support of policy, some analysts agree. To start with, as renewables gain more market share, fossil fuels are displaced, driving up their per-unit costs. But there is more. [Forbes]
  • “Rural America Could Power A Renewable Economy – But First We Need To Solve Coal Debt” • Despite falling prices for wind and solar projects, the electric cooperatives that power most of rural America remain particularly reliant on coal. This is in part because of billions of dollars in debt on increasingly uneconomic coal plants. [Clean Cooperative]
  • “NASA Warns ‘Rapid Melting’ Of Glaciers Has DOUBLED” • Climate change and global warming have “doubled” the rates at which Himalayan glaciers are rapidly melting, space agency NASA has shockingly claimed. With temperatures continuing to rise unchecked, up to 75% of the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by the year 2100. [Express.co.uk]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Monadnock Food Co-op Celebrates NH Eat Local Month

This August, Monadnock Food Co-op will join over 100 partners throughout the state to highlight New Hampshire Eat Local Month — a month-long celebration of local food and New Hampshire farmers and food producers. Increased interest in local food benefits us all by positively affecting the health of the economy, communities, and environment.

“New Hampshire residents and visitors, alike, are showing unprecedented interest in local food, and this month-long celebration offers a great opportunity to feature New Hampshire grown foods and farms,” said Gail McWilliam Jellie from the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food.
As part of the NH Eat Local Month festivities, the co-op will co-sponsor this year’s Feast On This Film Festival and Monadnock Farm Tour August 24 – 26 with Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition. The co-op will also offer tastings and specials that highlight locally grown, raised and made products throughout the month. Find event details at monadnockfood.coop/nheatlocal.
 
NH Eat Local Month also coincides with National Farmers’ Market Week, honoring farmers’ markets all across America. Other activities include a statewide virtual scavenger hunt, buy local campaign, story sharing from farmers and businesses, and events hosted by NH Eat Local Month partners.
Find more information at nheatlocal.org. To become a NH Eat Local Month partner, contact Samantha Cave at samantha.cave@unh.edu.
Promotion of this year’s NH Eat Local Month is in collaboration with the NH Food Alliance, the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, Seacoast Eat Local and the Monadnock Food Co-op.
“Eat Local Month highlights the work our co-op does year-round to support a vibrant local food system,” said General Manager Michael Faber. “We are proud to participate again this year — and to be an integral part of the statewide organizing team.”

July 2 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • “Women Are Bringing Solar Energy To Thousands Of Indian Villages” • In India’s desert state of Rajasthan, Frontier Markets employs women to sell lamps, stoves, TVs, and the solar power to run them through a program called Solar Sahelis. They are bringing renewable electricity to hundreds of millions of people who live off the grid. [CNN]

Women working for Frontier Markets (Frontier Markets image)

  • “Global Progress To Halt Emissions Rise Is ‘Stalling’ Amidst ‘Woefully Inadequate’ National Targets” • The Climate Action Tracker, in an update of government actions on greenhouse gas emissions, concluded that progress for the climate crisis is “stalling,” as many countries retain “woefully inadequate” national targets. [CleanTechnica]
  • “America’s Liquefied Natural Gas Boom May Be On A Collision Course With Climate Change” • Companies are scrambling in the US to build dozens of gas export terminals. Those investments are likely to be derailed in time as renewable energy costs plunge and concerns about climate change increase, according to the Global Energy Monitor. [CNN]
  • “Climate Change Has Huge Human Health And Environmental Impacts” • In an interview, Dr Boris D Lushniak, MD, MPH, retired Rear Admiral, and dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, answered some questions about climate change. He prefers to address it as a human health issue, rather than an environmental one. [CleanTechnica]
  • “‘Football Pitch’ Of Amazon Forest Lost Every Minute” • An area of Amazon rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is now being cleared every single minute, according to satellite data. The rate of losses in the world’s largest rainforest has recently accelerated as Brazil’s new right-wing president favors development over conservation. [BBC]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Independence Day Celebration at Hanford Mills Museum

July 4th event offers old-fashioned family fun

[East Meredith, New York, June 19, 2019] It’s going to be a BYOF celebration at Hanford Mills Museum on July 4th. That’s bring your own frog for the frog jumping contests. No frog? No problem. Organizers say that watching the contests are just as much fun. The Independence Day Celebration, which runs 10 am to 4 pm on July 4, also features a fishing derby with prizes for kids, steam power and water power demonstrations in the Museum’s historic sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop, the Hanford Mills String Band, field games, and local vendors.

“The Independence Day Celebration is a day of authentic family fun,” says Liz Callahan, the Museum’s executive director. “Some families make Hanford Mills a part of their July Fourth every year, and we are always delighted to welcome new people to Hanford Mills.”

Continue reading Independence Day Celebration at Hanford Mills Museum