Rotating power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, early Monday morning, meaning thousands went without electricity for periods of time as temperatures fell into the teens near Dallas and 20s (about minus 5 degrees Celsius) around Houston.
Austin’s electric utility Austin Energy told residents the outages may be longer than usual, prompting angry social media replies from Texans who said they’d been without power for five or more hours.
“Typical events allow short durations of each outage, but outages are longer if the ERCOT grid requires — which is what we’re seeing in today’s event,” Austin Energy wrote on Twitter.
The utility advised residents to keep their keep their thermostat set to 68 degrees or lower, and to avoid using their oven or washing machine. Businesses were likewise advised to minimize operations to conserve energy.
As the Republican-called witness at a recent hearing, I was denounced by the Democrats for denying a fossil-fueled “climate crisis” that, as their witnesses testified, results in violence against women, asthma and obesity in children, and deadly storms. But few actually questioned me. After all, “the debate is over.”
So instead, the latest belle of my party’s ball, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left the dais to urge protestors outside to drown me out. She’d previously written Google and Facebook, asking them to block me and the CO2 Coalition of 50 unalarmed scientists I direct from speaking at conferences they sponsor.
At the hearing, I presented data from the United Nations contradicting the accepted wisdom that extreme weather is destroying the planet and is traceable directly to a man-made climate crisis. There are no such trends in rates of sea-level rise, hurricanes, floods, or droughts. One Democrat who stuck around to actually question me simply asserted that our coalition is funded by energy companies. I wish! Another wanted to know, “Do you believe in climate change or not?” When I asked him to define it, he cut me off with: “That answers it all…That gives us a hint where you’re coming from.”
Indeed it does. Where I’m coming from is academia, where defining the scientific terms we discuss is elemental.
The whole affair shows just how much has changed. A decade ago I’d been the one pummeling a Republican-called witness, a little-known pollster named Kellyanne Conway, in my role as counsel to a Democratic committee chairman. And the last time I’d been a witness, as director of a foreign policy group in 1994, I’d been called in by Democrats who were backing our “no arms to dictators” bill. But now I am a heretic for using scientific facts to dispute exaggerated talking points.
Did climate change cause these fires, and how will they affect climate change?
These fires were not caused by climate change. They were, by and large, set by humans. However, climate change can make fires worse. Fires can burn hotter and spread more quickly under warmer and drier conditions.
When it comes to the future of climate change, widespread fires contribute a dual negative effect. Trees are valuable because they can store carbon dioxide, and that storage capacity is lost when trees burn. Burning trees also pumps more carbon into the atmosphere.
Plastic was the furthest thing from Gregory Wetherbee’s mind when he began analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains. “I guess I expected to see mostly soil and mineral particles,” said the US Geological Survey researcher. Instead, he found multicolored microscopic plastic fibers.
The discovery, published in a recent study (pdf) titled “It is raining plastic”, raises new questions about the amount of plastic waste permeating the air, water, and soil virtually everywhere on Earth.
“I think the most important result that we can share with the American public is that there’s more plastic out there than meets the eye,” said Wetherbee. “It’s in the rain, it’s in the snow. It’s a part of our environment now.”
Rainwater samples collected across Colorado and analyzed under a microscope contained a rainbow of plastic fibers, as well as beads and shards. The findings shocked Wetherbee, who had been collecting the samples in order to study nitrogen pollution.
Rainwater samples collected across Colorado and analyzed under a microscope contained a rainbow of plastic fibers. Photograph: USGS
Mayor unveils plan aiming for 100% zero-emissions vehicles by 2050 amid sweeping climate package for the city
Los Angeles’ car-choked arteries will run clean within decades, according to a green reform package unveiled by mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday.
Speaking only a week after New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced his own framework climate legislation, Garcetti presented plans to revolutionise local car culture and green the city’s buildings, which together account for three-quarters of LA’s emissions.
“Los Angeles needs to lead, but the whole world needs to act. This plan gives us a fighting chance,” Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s sort of a ‘greenprint’ for every other city in the country and the world, hopefully.”
The legislation, which builds upon a previous 2015 sustainability plan, calls on the city to hike its percentage of zero emission vehicles from 1.4% in 2018 to 25% by 2025, 80% by 2035 and 100% by 2050. To do this, the City Town Hall intends to raise its number of publicly available electric-vehicle chargers from 2,100 to 28,000.
The “Keep it In the Ground,” anti-oil and gas industry movement is going after the industry with more legislation disguised to address health and local control issues, despite that California already has the most environmentally regulated oil and gas production in the world, regulated by more than 25 agencies.
“Keep It in the Ground” is a global protest movement opposing fossil fuel development.
California was the fourth-largest producer of crude oil among the 50 states in 2017, after Texas, North Dakota, and Alaska, and, as of January 2018, third in oil refining capacity after Texas and Louisiana.
AB 345 by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), would increase setback distance between oil production facilities and private and public property to 2,500 feet for every well, existing or planned in the state.
According to the Western States Petroleum Association and the California Independent Petroleum Association, this bill, if passed, would effectively end oil production in many parts of the state and threaten the future of production IN ALL PARTS OF THE STATE, for example:
87% of all wells in the City of Los Angeles would be shut in
66% of the well in Los Angeles County would be shut in
Il y a urgence à agir pour réduire les émissions de CO2. La marche et le vélo sont certes préférables à la voiture particulière. Mais parmi les différents types de voitures, quelle est la solution la plus efficace pour réduire les émissions de CO2 ?
Il existe un indicateur particulièrement intéressant pour tenter d’y répondre : la quantité d’énergie consommée pour réaliser par exemple 200.000 kilomètres. Energie non seulement pour propulser la voiture, mais aussi pour fabriquer la voiture elle-même et extraire dans les mines les matières premières nécessaires. Le bilan carbone est bien entendu corrélé au bilan énergétique. Les experts du groupe Volkswagen (VW) ont fait le calcul et ont présenté les résultats le 12 mars 2019 à l’occasion de la conférence de presse annuelle de ce mastodonte dont les décisions influencent l’industrie automobile mondiale.
Verdict : la voiture aux carburants synthétiques (eFuel et eCNG) consomme trois fois plus d’énergie primaire que la voiture électrique. Et celle à l’hydrogène, 1,7 fois plus. Ces 70 % supplémentaires représentent un impact à la fois économique et carbonique. La fabrication de la pile à combustible et du réservoir capable de résister à une pression de 700 atmosphères est énergivore. La voiture à hydrogène la plus vendue au monde (quelques milliers d’exemplaires) pèse 1.850 kg, soit 3 kilos de plus que la Tesla Model 3 Long Range (100 % batterie), qui a la même autonomie. Mais, c’est surtout le mauvais rendement de la chaîne hydrogène qui plombe le bilan global.
BEIJING (Reuters) – China added 194 million tonnes of coal mining capacity in 2018, data from the energy bureau showed on Tuesday, despite vows to eliminate excess capacity in the sector and to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Total coal mining capacity in the country was at 3.53 billion tonnes per year by the end of 2018, according to a statement from the National Energy Administration (NEA). That compares to 3.34 billion tonnes at the end of 2017.
Confidential documents prepared in advance of a two-day EU summit in Brussels have exposed an East-West divide in Europe on climate change, with Germany siding with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in their refusal to commit to climate neutrality by 2050.
The leaked documents, seen by EURACTIV, show the amendments proposed by each country in preparation for the final statement of the leaders summit that opens in Brussels on Thursday (21 March).
And when it comes to climate action, the papers reveal a growing rift between two distinct groups of countries.
On the one hand, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and Denmark have all backed a European Commission plan to decarbonise the EU by 2050, linking it specifically to the Paris Agreement objective of keeping global warming below 1.5°C.
A French proposal, for instance, underlines that Europe should strive for climate neutrality “by 2050, in line with the 1.5 degree objective of the Paris Agreement”.
It then calls on EU member states “to prepare a discussion in the European Council in June to define the announcements of the EU at the September Climate Summit in New York”. Both amendments were rejected in the final draft.
On the other hand, Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have refused to specifically link EU climate action with the 1.5°C objective. They also oppose any time-bound commitment to the EU’s climate neutrality objective, deleting any reference to 2050 for reaching that goal.
We’ve all come across the images of polar bears drifting on ice floes: emblematic victims of the global warming that’s melting the polar ice caps, symbols of the threat to the earth posed by our ceaseless energy production—above all, the carbon dioxide that factories and automobiles emit. We hear louder and louder demands to impose limits, to change our wasteful ways, so as to save not only the bears but also the planet and ourselves.
In political discourse and in the media, major storms and floods typically get presented as signs of impending doom, accompanied by invocations to the environment and calls to respect Mother Nature. Only catastrophes seem to grab our attention, though, and it’s rarely mentioned that warming would also bring some benefits, such as expanded production of grains in previously frozen regions of Canada and Russia. Nor do we hear that people die more often of cold weather than of hot weather. Isolated voices criticize the alarm over global warming, considering it a pseudoscientific thesis, the true aim of which is to thwart economic modernization and free-market growth and to extend the power of states over individual choices.
Not being a climatologist myself, I’ve always had trouble deciding between these arguments. And then I met Judith Curry at her home in Reno, Nevada. Curry is a true climatologist …
En Belgique francophone, l’intérêt pour la question climatique ne cesse de croître. A la faveur du succès remporté par les écolos aux élections communales d’octobre dernier, les partis francophones se sont lancés dans une surenchère de promesses. A cela viennent se greffer les marches pro-environnement enthousiastes mais néanmoins naïves de lycéens qui, en matière d’énergie et de climat, connaissent très peu de choses. Avec un peu plus de connaissances, ils demanderaient des fenêtres hermétiques et à double vitrage dans leurs classes, au lieu de panneaux photovoltaïques, on y reviendra. En quelques jours on est passé d’un gouvernement critiqué pour être timide à une proposition de loi climat qui n’a pas d’équivalent dans le reste du monde. Car ne nous y trompons pas, la frénésie climatique est belge. Même si on ne devrait pas être étonné que Trump n’ait pas prononcé le mot climat dans son récent discours de l’Union, ce que j’observe professionnellement dans le monde ne correspond en rien à ce que vit la Belgique. Il y a lieu de s’interroger sur les motifs réels de ce déferlement ; ce n’est pas audible pour l’instant mais on devra y répondre un jour.
Cyprus and ExxonMobil on Thursday announced a gas find estimated between 5-8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in an offshore field inside the island’s exclusive economic zone.
The discovery was made in the Glafcos (Glaucus) 1 well in Block 10 of the EEZ.
“Based on preliminary interpretation of the well data, the discovery could represent an in-place natural gas resource of approximately 5 trillion to 8 trillion cubic feet (142 billion to 227 billion cubic metres). Further analysis in the coming months will be required to better determine the resource potential,” the company said in a statement.
Princeton professor emeritus William Happer’s role in forming a White House climate security committee didn’t sit well with a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, which called the eminent physicist a “denialist.”
The headline prompted a backlash from those who object to applying a derogatory label associated with Holocaust disbelief to scientists and others who challenge worst-case climate-change scenarios.
A growing number of climate advocates say increasing the price of fossil fuels is the surest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but leaders in the House and Senate are resisting calls for a carbon tax in Vermont.
During the last two legislative sessions, lawmakers introduced several bills that would have assessed a new tax on carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Last week, on the opening day of the legislative session, 40 or so people rallied in the Statehouse cafeteria against a carbon tax.
Three decades after a top climate scientist warned Congress of the dangers of global warming, greenhouse gas emissions keep rising and so do global temperatures.
Thirty years ago, a NASA scientist, James Hansen, told lawmakers at a Senate hearing that “global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause-and-effect relationship with the greenhouse effect.” He added that there “is only 1 percent chance of accidental warming of this magnitude.”
By that, he meant that humans were responsible.
His testimony made headlines around the United States and the world. But in the time since, greenhouse gas emissions, the global temperature average and cost of climate-related heat, wildfires, droughts, flooding and hurricanes have continued to rise.
The truth about climate change is nuanced: it is real, and in the long term it will be a problem, but its impact is less than we might believe. And yet we are too eager to believe the problem is far worse than science shows, and – conversely – that our solutions are far easier than reality dictates.
BRUSSELS – The latest global climate summit in Poland has generated familiar predictions of doom and disaster from environmental activists. Climate change seems to freeze our capacity for critical thinking: we are too eager to believe the problem is far worse than science shows, and – conversely – that our solutions are far easier than reality dictates.
Last year’s oceanic heat wave wasn’t as destructive as one the year before, scientists said.
The Great Barrier Reef fared better during an oceanic heat wave last year than during sizzling weather a year earlier that caused hundreds of miles of corals to bleach, according to a study published Monday that suggests the massive structure may be growing more tolerant to climate change.
The report in the journal Nature Climate Change analyzed how corals along the Great Barrier fared in back-to-back mass bleaching events. The reef ― a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest living structure on the planet ― was cooked by overheated seawater in 2016 and again in 2017, with images of sickly white coral horrifying people around the globe.
Germany’s task force on planning the definite phase-out of coal-fired power production has scrapped plans to present a decision before the end of this year.
Several days after three eastern German federal states had demanded better and more detailed plans to support coal mining regions, the so-called coal commission has decided to “conclude its work on 1 February 2019”.
The task force set up a working group from its ranks to draw up further concrete proposals for coal regions and to hold talks on these with both the federal and state governments, the commission said in a press release.
Talk about cold turkey! The coldest Thanksgiving in 100 years, and quite possibly the coldest Thanksgiving ever, has hit the Northeast United States today.
The unprecedented cold snap comes courtesy of a large Canadian chill working its way across the country on its way to the Atlantic. According to the Weather Network, the deep freeze is the result of a large, low pressure system moving south from the Arctic across the Great Lakes. Combine that with a wicked wind chill, and many Americans are looking at the coldest Thanksgiving in a century.
by Bob Weber, November 12, 2018, updated, in HuffingtonPost
There are too many polar bears in parts of Nunavut and climate change hasn’t yet affected any of them, says a draft management plan from the territorial government that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking.
The proposed plan — which is to go to public hearings in Iqaluit on Tuesday — says that growing bear numbers are increasingly jeopardizing public safety and it’s time Inuit knowledge drove management policy.
“Inuit believe there are now so many bears that public safety has become a major concern,” says the document, the result of four years of study and public consultation.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
A draft plan from the Nunavut government says growing bear numbers are increasingly jeopardizing public safety.
China produces about two thirds of the whole world’s supply of lithium ion batteries, the most common battery type used in electric vehicles. Furthermore, these highly valuable batteries make up a staggering 40 percent of the cars’ value. As it stands, Europe is far from being able to compete with China when it comes to the production of lithium ion batteries. In fact, currently the entire continent is estimated to hold just 1 percent of the market.
First, Nordhaus shows that aggressive mitigation policies can be a cure worse than the disease, and he specifically includes the United Nation’s latest goal in his examples of such misguided goals. Second, Nordhaus’s estimate of the optimal carbon tax (for the year 2025, for example) has almost tripled in less than a decade. Third, far from being tied to specific analyses of particular threats, Nordhaus’s global damage estimate was largely driven by a simple survey of experts, and this figure was furthermore manipulated arbitrarily by Nordhaus in light of new developments. The public would be very surprised to learn just how crude the “settled science” underlying various proposals to limit climate change really is.
La géologie, une science plus que passionnante … et diverse