Something to keep in mind…
To make a high-capacity solar panel
one might need
copper from Chile
indium from Australia
selenium from Germany
gallium from China
and there’s 140 pounds of lithium
in each Tesla
Between the Devil and the Green New Deal
CONCENTRATED SOLAR THERMAL
Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) systems use mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area to create and store very high temperature heat. In most types of systems a fluid is heated and circulated in the receiver and used to produce steam to drive a turbine to generate electricity. Stored fluid can be circulated later to produce power when there is no available sunlight.
There are three main types of CST systems. The linear concentrating systems (Parabolic troughs and Linear Fresnel reflectors) collect the sun’s energy using long, rectangular, curved (U-shaped) mirrors. The solar power tower systems use a large field of flat, sun-tracking mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on the top of a tower. And the solar dish/engine systems use a mirrored dish similar to a large satellite dish. CST systems are used for flash distillation, to desalinate seawater, and to power electric stations after dark.
The following CST systems are mentioned in the book, Sunlight and Seaweedby Tim Flannery:
Archimede is a parabolic trough plant operating in Sicily, Italy. The plant produces steam (4.72-MW equivalent) sent to a combined-cycle steam turbine rated at 130 MW. This parabolic trough system is the first using molten salt as the heat-transfer fluid. A 2-tank direct system will provide 8 hours of thermal storage.
In September 2011, the Department of Energy issued a $737 million loan guarantee to finance Crescent Dunes, a 110-MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant near Tonopah, Nevada. It uses power tower technology that concentrates solar energy to heat molten salt, converting that heat into electricity. Upon completion, Crescent Dunes became the largest molten salt power tower in the world.
Crescent Dunes is the first deployment of solar power tower technology in the United States that uses molten salt as a primary heat transfer fluid. The heat absorbed by the salt can be stored and produce electricity when required. This enables the plant to generate clean, renewable power during times when direct sunlight is not available. The innovative molten salt storage allows the project to generate power at full load on call (dispatched) for up to 10 hours without any sunlight.
The HelioFocus project appears to now be defunct but the technology is worth checking out…
Capstone and Israel’s HelioFocus Get Grants To Fire Up Solar Powered Micro-Turbines
Green Profet 11-29-09
Israel-based HelioFocus Ltd and the Californian Capstone Turbine Corporation have announced an agreement to build a micro-turbine that will produce electricity from concentrated solar energy.
The system could be converted to use natural gas to supplement the solar energy in the absence of the Sun and provide a continuous stream of power. The new micro-turbines will be available in different power capacities, ranging from 30KW to 1MW, being able to operate on a number of different fuels, including kerosene, biofuel, natural gas and diesel. Capstone is also receiving $2.5 million from the DOE for the development of a “flex-fuel” micro-turbine that will operate on a variety of non-food crop wastes, including biomass wastes.
Israeli HelioFocus Uses Capstone’s Microturbines for Concentrated Solar Power Systems
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a concentrated solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert. It is located at the base of Clark Mountain in California, across the state line from Primm, Nevada. The plant has a gross capacity of 392 megawatts (MW. It deploys 173,500 heliostats, each with two mirrors focusing solar energy on boilers located on three centralized solar power towers. The first unit of the system was connected to the electrical grid in September 2013 for an initial synchronisation test. The facility formally opened on February 13, 2014. In 2014, it was the world’s largest solar thermal power station.
Developed and patented by Magaldi STEM in cooperation with the “Federico II” University of Naples and some prestigious institutes of the National Research Council (IRC, INO, ISTEC), the STEM® (Solar Thermo Electric Magaldi) system is considered to be a very promising Concentrated Solar Power technology to produce clean energy in compliance with the most stringent environmental regulations.
This new CSP system with TES (Thermal Energy Storage) represents a “disruptive” technology because it’s able to collect solar energy and convert it into on-demand thermal energy, steam and electric power.
Here is a recent list of U.S. CSP companies with simple descriptions of the technologies and requirements for their success. For a comprehensive overview of one large company’s solar endeavors, this site is excellent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration also is a great resource. And one last link from the be all and end all, Sandia Labs on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP).
There is one major problem with these CSP companies…
This Mojave Desert solar plant kills 6,000 birds a year. Here’s why that won’t change any time soon
LA TImes 9-2-16
A macabre fireworks show unfolds each day along I-15 west of Las Vegas, as birds fly into concentrated beams of sunlight and are instantly incinerated, leaving wisps of white smoke against the blue desert sky. Workers at the Ivanpah Solar Plant have a name for the spectacle: “Streamers.” And the image-conscious owners of the 390-megawatt plant say they are trying everything they can think of to stop the slaughter. Federal biologists say about 6,000 birds die from collisions or immolation annually while chasing flying insects around the facility’s three 40-story towers, which catch sunlight from five square miles of garage-door-size mirrors to drive the plant’s power-producing turbines.
My own frustration and concern about this is that the CST industry is profit driven. And hence rapid buildout will be limited and carbon emissions will not be reduced quickly enough. This is exactly what I mean…
We cannot legislate and spend our way out of catastrophic global warming.
From space, the Bayan Obo mine in China, where 70 percent of the world’s rare earth minerals are extracted and refined, almost looks like a painting. The paisleys of the radioactive tailings ponds, miles long, concentrate the hidden colors of the earth: mineral aquamarines and ochres of the sort a painter might employ to flatter the rulers of a dying empire.
To meet the demands of the Green New Deal, which proposes to convert the US economy to zero emissions, renewable power by 2030, there will be a lot more of these mines gouged into the crust of the earth. That’s because nearly every renewable energy source depends upon non-renewable and frequently hard-to-access minerals: solar panels use indium, turbines use neodymium, batteries use lithium, and all require kilotons of steel, tin, silver, and copper. …
To make a high-capacity solar panel, one might need copper (atomic number 29) from Chile, indium (49) from Australia, gallium (31) from China, and selenium (34) from Germany. Many of the most efficient, direct-drive wind turbines require a couple pounds of the rare-earth metal neodymium, and there’s 140 pounds of lithium in each Tesla.
HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP
So You Think We’re Reducing Fossil Fuel? — Think Again
Oil Price 7-27-19
Renewables and fully electric vehicles aside, all fossil fuels are increasing worldwide primarily because of economic growth in the developing world. Even coal is increasing worldwide, producing more power than hydro, nuclear and renewables combined. While the developed world is switching from coal to natural gas, the developing world sees coal as their savior. This not because coal is cheapest – it’s not. Of all energy sources, coal is merely the easiest to set up. Coal is the easiest to install in a poor or developing country that has little existing infrastructure. It is the easiest to transport – by ship, rail and truck. It is straightforward to build a coal-fired power plant. And to operate it.
This article is five years old. And, it does not take into consideration the pollution caused by the U.S. military…
Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions
The Guardian 11-2-13
By Heede’s calculation, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity – just under 8.9% of the total produced over time. China came a close second with its government-run entities accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions.
ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2%. In third place, BP caused 2.5% of global emissions to date.
The Full Scoop on Europe’s Historic Onslaught of Heat
Category Six 7-26-19
Even a seemingly minor change in average temperature, such as the 1°C rise observed globally over the last century, makes the most extreme heat events much more probable—and the greater the extreme, the bigger the proportional change, as shown in the illustration embedded below.
The good ol’ small-increases-in-the-mean-lead-to-large-increases-in-extremes bit.
— Gernot Wagner (@GernotWagner)
There’s bitter irony in the fact that the birthplace of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change experienced the “long tail” effects of human-produced climate heating in full force this week, while much of the United States—which has announced its intention to leave the agreement—basked in unusually cool weather for July. The two hardly balance each other out, although some observers have implied as much. In fact, July has a very good shot at being Earth’s warmest month on record.
Majority of Germans reluctant to give up flying: poll
Two-thirds of Germans, both frequent flyers as well as those who flew less than twice a year, would not change anything about their flight behavior, according to the latest DeutschlandTrend survey published by public broadcaster ARD on Friday. Almost every fourth German said they wanted to fly less in the future, the survey found. Only eight percent of Germans surveyed flew three or more times a year. The majority of Germans, 63 percent, said they either flew rarely or not at all. The survey found that 23 percent of Germans who travelled by plane at least once a year wanted to fly less in future, while 11 percent believed they would fly more frequently.
Manipulation of the carbon emissions system threatens climate targets
PHYS ORG 7-23-19
The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is an important system to reduce CO2 emissions in the Netherlands and Europe in order to achieve the climate targets (zero emissions by 2060). But is it effective? And can we, citizens, consumers, contribute? Yes, indeed. However, the system is leaking, the authors discovered. Their findings were recently published in Nature Climate Change.
Large companies must buy emission rights for each ton of CO2 they emit. Without these permits they are not allowed to emit CO2, otherwise they will be severely punished with high fines. …
But here’s a catch, according to environmental economists Gerlagh and Heijmans of Tilburg University. When parties from outside the ETS buy allowances from the ETS (e.g. because the CO2 price is cheaper), the effect is an increase in the demand for emission allowances. This leads to a decrease of the ‘bank,” which also causes the MSR to shrink. The system then responds by distributing more allowances to the market. Some of the depreciated allowances are then returned to the system.
The authors calculated that if an individual buys and burries 1 ton of allowances, the total emissions in the EU ETS might fall by 2/5 tons. The effectiveness of “buy and bury” has thus been reduced by 60 percent. That would mean robbing Peter to pay Paul. Emissions succeeded. Mission failed.
As Risky Finances Alienate Investors, Fracking Companies Look to Retirement Funds for Cash
Encino has marketed itself as a stable source of long-term returns (something the industry overall has struggled so far to create), attracting the managers of one of the world’s largest pension funds to drill and frack the land that Chesapeake sold off to repay its enormous debts from fracking nationwide.
Chesapeake, of course, is not alone in discovering that shale drilling can be financially disastrous for investors. In 2018, the top 29 shale producers spent $6.69 billion more than they earned from operations, an April report by Reuters concluded — a spending record racked up two years after investors began pushing shale drillers to start turning a profit. In December 2017, the Wall Street Journal found that shale producers had spent $280 billion more than the oil and gas they sold was worth between 2007 and 2017, the first 10 years of the shale drilling rush. … The Canada Pension Plan — often compared to the U.S. Social Security system — is funded by mandatory contributions from workers’ wages that generally begin at age 18 and end at age 65. The CPPIB invests that money on behalf of the plan. …
Encino, which bought up Chesapeake Energy’s 900,000 acres of drilling rights in Ohio’s Utica shale in that $2 billion deal, may have found its “other” investors: the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which manages retirement funds on behalf of the Canada Pension Plan.
Long interesting article full of figures and graphs…
U.S. Soldiers Falling Ill, Dying in the Heat as Climate Warms
Inside Climate News 7-23-19
Cline was one of at least 17 service members to die of heat exposure during training exercises at U.S. military bases since 2008. They included an 18-year-old cadet in his first week at West Point, a 21-year-old on his first day of training as an Army Ranger, and a fit 22-year-old Marine who died after a 6-mile hike. Over the same period, amid scorching conditions, a rising number of military members have fallen ill because of the heat. … Current and former defense officials and officers, in numerous interviews, said they are working to reduce heat illnesses and deaths by revising guidelines for assessing heat risks, updating prevention measures, refining treatment protocols and developing new gear and technology to keep service members cooler.
” Rising sea levels are destroying coastal towns in Honduras – and shrimp farms which export to the UK and US are making it worse…
‘It won’t be long’: why a Honduran community will soon be under water
The Guardian 7-31-19
A recent tidal surge razed the nightclub next door, leaving a pastel pink ruin, and in the past two years, several other businesses between Pineda’s property and the Pacific Ocean have been destroyed by sudden waves.
“Every year, the ocean is getting closer and higher. I think we’ve got a year – maybe two – before the water takes us too,” said Pineda, 24. “It won’t be long.”
Golden beaches once helped transform this fishing community on the Gulf of Fonseca into a thriving tourist destination. Nowadays, however, there are barely a few metres of sand left, and rising water levels and tidal surges have wiped out roads, homes and businesses.
While Global Temps Soared, Study Shows US Media Coverage of Right-Wing Think Tanks’ Climate Lies Actually Rose Over Past 5 Years
Comon Dreams 7-25-19
A new Public Citizen analysis shows that over the past five years—as rising global temperatures repeatedly set records—national television news networks and the 50 most widely circulated newspapers in the United States increased their coverage of right-wing think tanks denying the climate emergency or that the global crisis is the result of unsustainable human activity.
Living without water: the crisis pushing people out of El Salvador
The Guardian 7-30-19
This tiny Central American state is one of the most murderous in the world, plagued by warring gang factions and security forces who shoot to kill. Relentless bloodshed and chronic unemployment have driven wave after wave of migration as Salvadorans seek a better life. But in recent years, widespread water shortages are increasingly helping fuel unrest and forced displacement. “Marginalized communities struggle day to day to get access to enough water. It’s not a question that this could one day cause social conflict – it already is … the whole country is close to crisis,”
In ‘Visionary’ Document, Small Island Nations Declare ‘Climate Crisis’ in Pacific
Common Dreams 7-31-19
Among the demands of the document are a stop to all new coal mining; an end to fossil fuel subsidies; and for states to meet their obligations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to protect future generations by “prevent[ing] dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” … “The collective futures of Pacific peoples depends on us being able to push back against the fossil fuel industry fueling this climate crisis, and towards equitable and just solutions centered on people,” said Lutunatabua. “This is what is at the heart of this important international statement.”
LEGISLATION, ELECTIONS & POLICY
Is Boris Johnson’s Cabinet the Most Anti-Climate Action Ever?
Boris Johnson conducted an extraordinary cull of government ministers on his first day as Prime Minister. His mission was mainly to bring in new, more pro-Leave blood to replace the supposed Brexit balance of Theresa May’s cabinet.
But as a consequence, the UK now finds itself governed by a collection of some of the UK’s most right-wing politicians, some of which have promoted climate science denial and many of whom have ties to pro-deregulation campaign groups based in and around Westminster’s 55 Tufton Street.
Here’s a who’s who, and how they fit into the UK’s pro-Brexit, anti-climate action network.
UN warned corporate courts could thwart climate efforts
Climate Change News 7-24-19
The EU is locking horns with a bloc of countries led by the US and Japan over a mechanism included in more than 3,000 trade deals, ahead of UN talks in Vienna in October.
Investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) is a system of private courts that allows foreign investors to bypass domestic courts and sue governments in cases where national policies hurt their profits. It raises the prospect of fossil fuel corporations claiming billions of dollars in compensation for climate legislation enacted under the Paris Agreement, including carbon taxes or initiatives to phase out fossil fuels.
“The ISDS system has given rise to an alarming number of claims against environmental measures, which are already the fastest growing trigger for dispute,”
Following Berkeley’s Natural Gas Ban, More California Cities Look to All-Electric Future
Inside Climate News 7-23-19
Berkeley has become the first city in the United States to ban the use of natural gas in new low-rise buildings, and it isn’t the only California community looking for ways to shift its buildings away from burning fossil fuels.
Cities and towns across the state are considering measures to encourage developers to use only electric appliances in new buildings—and skip installing natural gas lines for stoves, furnaces and water heaters.
Ken Davies, interim deputy director of Climate Smart San Jose, a unit within the city of San Jose’s environmental services department, estimates about 60 cities and towns across the state—including San Jose—are considering building code measures
Let’s hope this holds and there are more lawsuits come…
‘Big Win’ for Rhode Island in Court Battle to Make Polluters Pay for Consequences of Climate Crisis
Common Dreams 7-23-19
In what one advocate called a “big win” for climate liability litigation, a federal judge on Monday remanded Rhode Island’s lawsuit targeting 21 fossil fuel giants to state court, where the oil and gas companies are more likely to be forced to pay for their significant contributions to the global climate crisis.
Last July, Rhode Island became the first state in the country to file suit against dirty energy companies—including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell—seeking to hold them accountable for knowingly contributing to a climate emergency that is “causing catastrophic consequences to Rhode Island, our economy, our communities, our residents, our ecosystems.”
Underwater glacial melting is occurring at higher rates than modeling predicts
Science Dialy 7-25-19
Researchers have developed a new method to allow for the first direct measurement of the submarine melt rate of a tidewater glacier, and, in doing so, they concluded that current theoretical models may be underestimating glacial melt by up to two orders of magnitude. … The sonar allowed the team to image and profile large swaths of the underwater ice, where the glacier drains from the Stikine Icefield. Also gathered were data on the temperature, salinity and velocity of the water downstream from the glacier, which allowed the researchers to estimate the meltwater flow.
Heat Wave Heads North: Massive Melting Likely in Arctic
Category Six 6-27-19
Over the next few days, meltwater will cascade across the Greenland Ice Sheet, and sea ice will dissolve into the Arctic Ocean in amounts that could be unprecedented for late July and early August. The same air mass that led to the sharpest, hottest heat wave ever recorded in northwestern Europe was channeled across Scandinavia over the weekend. Now it’s heading for even higher latitudes. While the North Pole won’t match the 108°F that Paris saw last Thursday, temperatures will be warm enough through a deep enough layer to push melting into overdrive for days, with knock-on effects that could last for weeks.
North Dakota, Montana Launch New Fight Over Moving Volatile Bakken Oil by Rail
The oil industry in North Dakota and Montana — home to the prolific Bakken Shale Formation — faces an “impossible choice.” That’s according to a new petition to federal regulators from the attorneys general of North Dakota and Montana, in response to a Washington state law that aims to prevent trains hauling oil through the state from derailing and exploding.
That choice is to either remove the volatile components, such as butane, from Bakken crude oil before being loaded into rail tank cars, or send the volatile oil to other, harder-to-reach markets because — as the petition argues — removing the butane would cut into oil producers’ profits, and almost 60 percent of the crude leaving North Dakota by rail goes to Washington refineries.
In addition the states assert that the Washington state law is preempted by existing federal rules governing hazardous materials and crude oil transport.
Central Bank Action Could Rescue Oil Demand
Oil Price 7-29-19
Global oil demand growth has undoubtedly slowed down this year, but loosening monetary policies from major central banks could help oil demand growth pick up from the current levels, Virendra Chauhan, oil analyst at Energy Aspects, told CNBC on Monday. “People are looking at the China-U.S. trade war and that’s what’s driving the price of oil right now,” Chauhan told CNBC in an interview. The demand side is the driver, because if we look at the supply side, oil supply from OPEC is down by 2 million bpd, and that’s the steepest decline in a decade, and yet, “oil has gone nowhere” in the past month, Chauhan said. Despite the huge U.S. inventory draws and the continued unresolved tensions in the Middle East, oil price gains were constrained last week by continued concern about the health of the global economy going forward.
Second heatwave of 2019 shatters temperature records in western Europe
“What we have at the moment is this very warm stream of air, coming up from northern Africa, bringing with it unusually warm weather,” Peter Stott from the Met Office told BBC on Wednesday. “But without climate change we wouldn’t have hit the peaks that we’re hitting right now.”
On Friday, the spokeswoman for the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, Clare Nullis, called the size of the increase in temperature records, by two and four degrees, “absolutely incredible.”
Nullis stated that “according to forecasts, and this is of concern, the atmospheric flow is now going to transport that heat towards Greenland. This will result in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet. We don’t know yet whether it will beat the 2012 level, but it’s close.”
‘This Is Not Normal’: Record-Smashing European Heat Wave Sparks Demands to Combat Climate Emergency
Common Dreams 7-25-19
“Such intense and widespread heatwaves carry the signature of man-made climate change. This is consistent with the scientific finding showing evidence of more frequent, drawn out, and intense heat events as greenhouse gas concentrations lead to a rise in global temperatures,” Cullmann said. “WMO expects that 2019 will be in the five top warmest years on record, and that 2015-2019 is to be the warmest of any equivalent five-year period on record.”
— Karsten Haustein (@khaustein)
1.6 Million Face Hunger in Mozambique Following Deadly Cyclones
Democracy Now 7-25-19
In Mozambique, the World Food Program is warning some 1.6 million people are facing food insecurity, months after two cyclones left hundreds dead in one of the worst weather-related disasters ever to hit the Southern Hemisphere.
‘We Are in a Climate Emergency’ Warn Experts and AOC as Greenland Ice Sheet Faces Possible Record-Breaking Melting
Common Dreams 7-30-19
Last week’s European heatwave is moving north toward the Arctic, where temperatures could trigger record melting in Greenland and affect sea levels worldwide for millennia.
That’s according to meteorologist Eric Holthaus, who said on Twitter Monday that the melting event from the heat could result in the loss of 40 billion tons of ice.
“This single heat wave will create a permanent change in our oceans that will linger for millennia,” said Holthaus. “We are in a climate emergency.”
Mental Toll of Climate Change Hits Women 60% More
The answer was yes. As climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather, the associated disasters and social disruption are likely to increase mental health difficulties, according to their findings published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) journal. But as with many of the adverse effects of climate change, it doesn’t affect everyone equally.
ADAPTION AND RESILIENCE
Excellent long and inspiring article. Read this if you read nothing else…
The Holy Grail of Restoration
Kosmos Summer 2019
Since documenting the Loess Plateau rehabilitation where the pilot project restored an area of 35,000 square kilometers, most other restoration projects have seemed small to me. Ties and his team’s vision for the restoration of Lake Bardawil and the Sinai did not seem small. Having studied for months, Ties and his team had begun to uncover and accumulate clues from many other studies. Complex ecological phenomena, which in isolation might seem like “far out” facts, can reveal logical patterns that are understandable. They show cause and effect that can explain many of the outcomes that we see today. This type of information is especially meaningful when you and your colleagues are in possession of a vast engineering capability and are used to deploying it for commercial reasons. It apparently gives one a different understanding of what is possible when you think it is normal to build artificial islands or double the size of the Suez Canal. To say the least, there was great excitement when Ties and his team shared their work.
Farming a forest – and helping the climate
Yale Climate Connections 7-29-19
“There is plenty of nutrition that can be derived from a more diverse forest-based agricultural system.”
In his forest garden, Smith grows trees that produce edible nuts and fruits, such as persimmons, mulberries, and paw-paws. The trees grow alongside mushrooms, greens, and perennial berries.
Simpler than expected: A microbial community with small diversity cleans up algal blooms
Algae take up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and turn the carbon into biomass while releasing the oxygen back to the atmosphere. Fast algal growth during phytoplankton blooms leads to a massive transfer of carbon dioxide into algal biomass. But what happens to the carbon next?
“Once the algae die, the carbon is remineralized by microorganisms consuming their biomass. It is thus returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Alternatively, if the dead algae sink to the seafloor, the organic matter is buried in the sediment, potentially for a very long time”, explains first author Karen Krüger from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen. “The processes behind the remineralization of algal carbon are still not fully understood.”
UMD studies green infrastructure to manage more intense stormwater with climate change
UMD researchers are connecting climate change to urban and suburban stormwater management, with the ultimate goal of increasing resiliency to major storm events. With models not only predicting more rain, but an increased frequency of particularly intense and destructive storms, flooding is a major concern in communities that are becoming more settled with more asphalt. …
These two watersheds each have a distinct development history – one has several larger-scale detention ponds or stormwater basins for a more traditional approach to stormwater management, while the other has a heavy presence of smaller-scale green infrastructure like rain gardens, dry detention ponds, and sand filters. Both watersheds were monitored before and after development to see the impacts of green infrastructure, and both are near a weather monitoring station with climate data that is readily accessible.
‘Bravo!’ ‘Great News!’: Cheers as European Investment Bank Unveils Proposal to Stop Funding Fossil Fuel Projects
Common Dreams 7-27-19
With this move, the world’s largest multilateral lender is now poised to leave oil, gas, and coal in the past,” says Oil Change International, praising it as “a massive step forward on climate leadership.
They are looking at having something in five years…
A Serious Contender To Lithium-Ion Batteries
Oil Price 7-29-19
The team reports in a study published in Advanced Science that they had made an electrode for their sodium battery of copper sulfide and that the compound had displayed superior properties in terms of durability. Based on the findings, the researchers say a sodium battery with copper sulfide electrodes could last for as long as five years if charged once daily.
This is obviously early days. Five years is not so long, and the once-a-day charging condition is quite limiting. Yet there is clearly an international drive to advance sodium batteries as an alternative to lithium ion ones.
The allure of sodium—cheap, abundant, and the right chemistry for batteries—has been growing, and there are already functioning projects.
Brand New Material Could Lead To Cheaper Solar Cells
Oil Price 7-18-19
But two physics research groups at the university have recently managed to generate free electrons by combining organic semiconductors with a single atomic layer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2)—a recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) semiconductor. …
“So-called ‘free electrons,’ which wander freely in the material and conduct electricity, are rare and can’t be generated readily by light absorption. This impedes the use of these organic materials in applications like solar panels because panels built with these materials often have poor performance.”
WILDLIFE & THE ENVIRONMENT
Clues on how soils may respond to climate change found
PHYS ORG 7-24-19
Researchers discovered a drastic drop in organic material preserved in sections of core samples from the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a global warming event 55.5 million years ago that’s considered the best analogue for modern climate change. The findings, according to the researchers, suggest ancient soils from a site in modern day Wyoming acted as a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide, emitting the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, and not a sink, trapping and storing carbon underground.
Soil to sand: Spain’s growing threat of desertification
Experts from the European Environment Agency (EEA) told Anadolu Agency that the most extreme climate scenarios also project precipitation decreasing by more than 40% in parts of Spain during the summer months by the end of the century, leading to longer and more severe droughts across the Iberian Peninsula.
And with at least 74% of Spain at risk of desertification (18% at high or very high risk), according to official data from 2008, could some parts of Spain come to look more like the Moroccan Sahara within our lifetimes?
“The process of desertification will never produce a desert. Desertification creates something much worse than that – a landscape formed by opportunistic ecosystems and land degradation”
How climate change disrupts plant-animal relationships
Science Daily 7-24-19
Plants rely on bees for pollination; bees need plants to supply nectar and pollen. Scientists have studied how climate change affects these mutualistic interactions. Higher mean temperatures as associated with climate change can have a severe impact on plants and animals by disrupting their mutually beneficial relationship: The pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris), for example, is very sensitive to rising temperatures by flowering earlier each year, whereas one of its major pollinators, a solitary bee species, does not quite keep pace by hatching earlier. In the worst case, this may cause the seed production of the plant to decrease and impair reproduction while requiring the bee to switch to other plants to forage on to compensate for the lack of food supply.
Charred forests not growing back as expected in Pacific Northwest, researchers say
What she’s found: certain tree species are having a tough time growing back in areas that have been affected by wildfires due to warming temperatures — a discovery that could have major implications for both the forestry sector and long-term climate change targets.
Among Stevens-Rumann,’s work was a 2017 study of nearly 1,500 sites charred by 52 wildfires in the U.S. Rocky Mountains. Her research found that lower elevation trees had a tough time naturally regenerating in areas that burned between 2000 and 2015 compared with sites affected between 1985 and 1999, largely due to drier weather conditions.
Another amazing article by Narwhal…
Canada’s forgotten rainforest
The Narwhal 7-26-19
Clear-cut logging in B.C.’s inland temperate rainforest, found in valley bottoms that are part of a much larger ecosystem called the interior wet belt, is taking place at a rate “if not faster, then comparable to what we’re seeing in the tropical rainforest of Brazil,” says DellaSala, who carries binoculars and a professional camera.
“And that’s just unacceptable,” he tells The Narwhal. “We can get our timber needs met in a lot of other places. We shouldn’t be going into our last primary and intact forest landscapes … We just have so little of this left on the planet.”
Record Warm Water Likely Gave Kuskokwim Salmon Heart Attacks
During this time, residents along the lower Kuskokwim River from Tuntutuliak to Akiak reported dead salmon floating downstream. Salmon don’t function well past 70 degrees, and the water had pushed just above that limit.
“Essentially, what could happen is salmon metabolism speeds up to the point that they’re having heart attacks and going belly up and floating downriver,” explained Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Ben Gray.
Trees share water to keep this dying stump alive
Somewhere in the middle of New Zealand, there is a kauri tree stump (Agathis australis) that should not be alive. But it is, thanks to the root systems of surrounding trees, which have kept the almost-dead stump on life support by sharing water and nutrients.
For years, scientists have suspected such sharing networks exist, thanks to other living stumps. But such resource transfers have never been proved, and reports by other researchers are decades old and mostly anecdotal.
PROTESTS • EXTINCTION REBELLION • RESISTANCE
‘Our Pressure Is Working’ Says Sunrise Movement as CNN and MSNBC Announce Climate Events for 2020 White House Hopefuls
Common Dreams 7-26-19
CNN revealed Thursday that it is inviting all Democratic candidates who hit at least 2 percent in four approved polls by Aug. 28 to join a climate crisis town hall in New York City on Sept. 4. According to the network, “the climate town hall will follow a similar format to ones CNN held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C., in which Democratic candidates appeared back-to-back across the course of the evening.”
The Daily Beast reported Thursday that MSNBC is partnering with Our Daily Planet—which sends daily morning emails about environmental news—and the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service “to host a multi-day climate change forum with the 2020 presidential candidates.”
Fridays for Future
Moscow Fridays for Future movement holds largest climate picket yet, plans further strikes
On July 19, a group of about 35 Moscow students gathered to demand that the Russian government take action on the climate crisis, which threatens to cause widespread societal collapse within their lifetimes. While the group’s counterparts in the global Fridays for Future movement have held hundreds of mass marches in the past several months, the Moscow climate strikers have faced a government unwilling to grant them protest permits in populated areas. The July 19 strike represented a significant victory for the group: after repeated negotiations with local officials, the students received a permit for up to 50 people to picket together. However, the permit was only granted for a quiet square on the edge of central Moscow.
Fridays-for-Future-Demonstration for the first time at an airport
Crypto Coin 7-26-19
The climate activists of the Fridays for the Future, today want to (demonstrate 13.00) according to its own figures, for the first time at a German airport. The protest meeting should be held on the last day of school before the summer holidays in Baden-Württemberg at the Stuttgart Airport, it said. It was the first nationwide Protest of the climate activists at an airport, said an organizer. “We want to keep Talking, noise making, banners hang down.” It is also important to make the passengers feel bad. “We want to point out that flying is terrible for the environment.”
Greta Thunberg Urges French Lawmakers to Act on Climate Crisis as Heat Wave Grips Europe
Democracy Now 7-24-19
Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist and founder of the “school strike for climate” Greta Thunberg addressed French lawmakers Tuesday, urging them to act to prevent a “climate breakdown.”
“And I believe that the biggest danger is not our inaction. The real danger is when companies and politicians are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR.”
Hot and bothered: why Greta Thunberg joined the 1975
The Guardian 7-25-19
Why have a band who hate guest stars teamed up with the world’s most famous environmental activist?
As viral stunts go, getting the weather onside for your collaboration with the world’s most famous environmental activist is quite the coup. But, unlike newsagents hawking two-for-one lollies and tabloid front pages extolling fun in the sun, the 1975 and Greta Thunberg aren’t pretending there’s any silver lining to this heatwave.
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Extinction Rebellion will be protesting in Aylesbury town centre today
The BCC Pension Fund manages the Buckinghamshire Local Government Pension Scheme on behalf of some 260 employers across the County, including Milton Keynes District Council, which supports moving investment out of fossil fuels and to renewable forms of energy. The BCC Pension Fund Committee is one of several partners in Brunel Pension Partnership Ltd. which is owned by these partners. Extinction Rebellion say that whilst many other partners have been proactive in reviewing their investment strategies and diverting funds away from fossil fuels and into renewable energies, the BCC Pension Fund Committee has failed to update its Investment Strategy Statement by defining the value of its investments in sustainable impact funds.
Extinction Rebellion protesters confront politicians at US Capitol
The Guardian 7-23-19
Just after 6pm, six activists stood in doorways to a tunnel connecting the Cannon office building to the US Capitol in an attempt to prevent members of Congress attending an evening vote. A total of 17 activists were arrested and charged with crowding and obstructing, according to US Capitol police. Several were also charged with defacing public property.
I’m an ordinary person who joined an Extinction Rebellion blockade. Here’s why you should too
The Guardian 7-23-19
I learned how the research shows nonviolent civil disobedience can bring rapid and sweeping changes, and that we’ve never seen an example fail once 3.5% of the population becomes actively involved. I started to hope. Let me tell you a story. Many of us already know the climate catastrophe story, so let me tell you a different one. Right now, we are sleepwalking. We go about our daily lives assuming that buying a house and putting money in our superannuation are appropriate ways to plan for the future. If we hear about the climate crisis, we tell ourselves, surely it can’t be that urgent if no one is doing anything.
Extinction Rebellion’s radical philosophy
Think Progress 7-23-19
New York police recently arrested 66 protestors who rallied outside The New York Times building to compel the newspaper to make climate change a front-page issue. The demonstrators belonged to Extinction Rebellion, a movement born in the United Kingdom that is committed to nonviolent resistance. In addition to protesting outside of The New York Times, U.S. members have taken to the streets against Amazon in Seattle and NBC in Los Angeles, calling on those organizations to treat the climate crisis with the seriousness it deserves.
Causes of multidecadal climate changes
Science Dialy 7-24-19
A new reconstruction of global average surface temperature change over the past 2,000 years has identified the main causes for decade-scale climate changes. The new temperature reconstruction also largely agrees with climate model simulations of the same time period. This suggests that current climate models accurately represent the contributions of various influences on global climate change — and are capable of correctly predicting future climate warming.
Alaskan glaciers melting 100 times faster than previously thought
National Geographic 7-25-19
A new way of measuring how some glaciers melt below the surface of the water has uncovered a surprising realization: Some glaciers are melting a hundred times faster than scientists thought they were.
In a new study published today in Science, a team of oceanographers and glaciologists unpeeled a new layer of understanding of tidewater glaciers—glaciers that end in the ocean—and their dynamic processes.
“They’ve really discovered that the melt that’s happening is fairly dramatically different from some of the assumptions we’ve had,” says Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder who was uninvolved with the study.
Siberian smoke heading toward U.S. and Canada
PHYS ORG 7-31-19
In fact, this year has been worse than most. Scientists have seen an unprecedented number of wildfires across the region since June. More than 2.7 million hectares (6,671,845 acres) of remote forest is currently burning across six Siberian and Far East regions, according to Russia’s Federal Forestry Agency. That’s roughly the size of Massachusetts. … “The smoke looks to be arriving late tonight (July 30), but definitely by July 31, 2019,” said Colin Seftor, atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The date on the image refers to west of the dateline (the Siberian portion of the image.) The smoke released by any type of fire (forest, brush, crop, structure, tires, waste or wood burning) is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter
Paul Beckwith: “I declare a global climate change emergency to claw back up the rock face to attempt to regain system stability, or face an untenable calamity of biblical proportions.”
Kevin Hester: “There is no past analogue for the rapidity of what we are baring witness to. There has been a flood of articles … 2C is no longer attainable and that we are heading for dangerous climate change”
Magi Amma: We need to turn on a dime at mach nine! …
• 1 gigatonne equals one billion tons
• 1 gigatonne of carbon equals 3.67 gigatonnes of CO2
• 1 part per million of atmospheric CO2 is equivalent to 7.81 gigatonnes of CO2