October 02, 2018
Scientific American: "California coastal cities should be prepared for the possibility that oceans will rise more than 10 feet by 2100 and submerge parts of beach towns, the state Coastal Commission warns in new draft guidance."
"The powerful agency, which oversees most development along 1,100 miles of coast, will consider approving the guidance this fall. A staff report recommending the changes was released last week."
"Earlier commission guidance put top sea-level rise at 6 feet by 2100. But according to the new report, there’s the 'potential for rapid ice loss to result in an extreme scenario of 10.2 feet of sea level rise' by the end of the century."
"Even without the 10-foot rise, the draft guidance cautions, as much as two-thirds of Southern California beaches 'may be completely lost due to rising sea level.'”
September 27, 2018
Sacramento Bee: "'Creating an all-renewable grid 'is definitely feasible,' said Severin Borenstein, faculty director of the Energy Institute at UC Berkeley. 'The question is, how expensive is it going to be.'"
"Californians pay on average a total of 15.2 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, or about 50 percent above the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. On the other hand, Californians use roughly half as much electricity per capita as the average American, according to California Energy Commission data."
"Borenstein said the biggest obstacle to hitting 100 percent will be storage. Natural gas-fired plants, which account for 33 percent of the state’s electricity, can be ramped up and down as demand fluctuates. But wind power can only be generated when it’s windy; solar power only works when it’s sunny. They can’t be stored up, and sometimes supply doesn’t conveniently sync up with demand."
"For instance, Borenstein said wind generation is most plentiful at night — when skies tend to be windier — but that’s when electricity consumption drops. Solar matches up better, but there are still times when demand is high but supply is scarce, such as early evening."
"That doesn’t mean going all-renewable will be impossible, though. Borenstein said California’s 'knowledge economy' is the perfect laboratory for investing and perfecting new technologies that could solve the problem."
"'We could get new technologies for storage that we haven’t even thought of yet,' he said. 'That’s exactly what California should be doing, and is good at.'"
"In that sense, he said the real benefit of SB 100 is as a spur to innovation. California barely accounts for 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases; by itself the state can’t make a real dent in global warming. But if the state can master the technological challenges of an all-renewable grid, it can show the way for other states and countries.
“'If it turns out we figure out ways to do this cost effectively, that is going to ripple out ... and move the rest of the world toward getting off fossil fuels,' Borenstein said."
August 20, 2018
Digital Trends: “'I think Texas will come to fuel cell vehicles through a different route because they have so much wind power, which means they have excess,' Malone pointed out. 'I’m pretty sure they have excess capacity and they don’t know what to do with it. But one of the things you can do is split water to make hydrogen. In Texas, you can store that hydrogen in underground salt caverns. We’re not talking about kilowatts or gigawatts of power; we’re talking upwards of terawatts of power that can be stored. Hydrogen becomes the battery in many ways.'
"As of today, there are two fuel cell vehicles on sale in California. Both the Honda Clarity and the Toyota Mirai are enjoying sales success in areas where hydrogen infrastructure exists. Hyundai had a fuel cell Tucson SUV in 2017 and plans to return with the Nexo crossover in 2019.
“'BMW is coming to market,' Malone said. “'In about 2019, you have Mercedes-Benz with its plug-in fuel cell car. Audi is coming to market with a vehicle. It talked about a serious production run. Recently, you had Honda and GM announce a jointly owned subsidiary to build fuel cells in Michigan or Ohio. If you look at that announcement as I recall it, GM also talked about the fact that this is a power unit and reserved the right to use it for non-vehicular purposes or non-transportation purposes.'
"One planned showcase for hydrogen power is the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
"'Tokyo is spending over $300 million to showcase this technology,' Malone said. 'We’re talking thousands of vehicles and hydrogen stations funded by Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. You will also have 100 buses and they’re going to power the athletes’ village using stationary fuel cells and hydrogen.'”
August 17, 2018
Washington Post: "The headlines of record-crushing heat in the Northern Hemisphere began in June and haven’t stopped midway through August. Scores of locations on every continent north of the equator have witnessed their hottest weather in recorded history.
"The swelter has intensified raging wildfires in western North America, Scandinavia and Siberia, while leading to heat-related deaths in Japan and eastern Canada."
August 11, 2018
Wall Street Journal: "China is home to 39 of the world’s 450 nuclear reactors and has another 19 reactors under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. The country intends to build another 203 reactors as an alternative to coal-fired power plants that contribute to air pollution. Russia and India, which have 37 and 22 reactors, respectively, are each building six reactors as part of longer-term plans to more than double their existing capacity.
"Capacity in the Middle East is forecast to jump from 3.6 gigawatts this year to 14.1 gigawatts by 2028, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as the region looks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. . . .
“There’s no doubt that global energy requirements are increasing dramatically,” said Peter Bacchus of Bacchus Capital Advisers, an advisory firm in London. “Uranium has to be part of the solution.”
August 07, 2018
New York Times: "Scientists say climate change is a central factor in creating the atmospheric ingredients that make wildfires like California’s more extreme. Warmer global temperatures, driven by the greenhouse gases emitted from man-made activity like burning coal and driving cars, has led to droughts as well as more intense heat waves that last longer. The result: increasingly intense fire seasons that start earlier and last longer."
“'You combine drought and heat, you get record wildfires. It’s not rocket science,' said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University."
August 03, 2018
Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We have faith that future generations will know that here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.”
July 25, 2018
Bloomberg: "A heatwave across swathes of North America, Europe and Asia, coupled with a worsening drought in some areas, is causing spikes in the prices of anything from wheat to electricity. Cotton plants are stunted in parched Texas fields, French rivers are too warm to effectively cool nuclear reactors and the Russian wheat crop is faltering.
"The scorching heat is extracting a heavy human cost – contributing to floods in Japan and Laos and wildfires near Athens. Relief from soaring temperatures, which topped 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Arctic Circle, may not arrive for at least two weeks."
July 01, 2018
New York Times: "Last year I traveled to southern Guatemala, the source of one of the largest migrations of unauthorized immigrants to the United States in recent years. It’s clear why people are leaving: Guatemala is a country rife with political conflict, endemic racism against indigenous people, poverty and, increasingly, gang violence.
"But there’s another, lesser-known dimension to this migration. Drought and rising temperatures in Guatemala are making it harder for people to make a living or even survive, thus compounding the already tenuous political situation for the 16.6 million people who live there.
"In the town of Jumaytepeque, which is in Central America’s dry corridor, a group of farmers took me to see their coffee crops. Coffee was responsible for the majority of the community’s income but had been decimated by a plague known as coffee rust, or la roya. Plagues like these aren’t necessarily caused by climate change, but it exacerbates them, and roya is now infecting plants at higher elevations as those heights become warmer. Making matters worse, stress from the drought has made these plants more vulnerable to the plague.
“'We can’t make a living purely off coffee anymore,' one young farmer told me in the dappled shade of his coffee plantation, pointing to the limp, yellow roya-pocked leaves all around us. Young people like him, he explained, either move to the cities and try to make a go of it amid the gang violence, 'or they go north,' he said, to the United States."
June 11, 2018
Wall Street Journal: "In many places, opting for renewables 'is a purely economic choice,' said Danielle Merfeld, the chief technology officer of GE’s renewable energy unit. 'In most places, it is cheaper and other technologies have become more expensive.'”
"Recent power auctions have suggested that renewable energy prices have further to fall. Earlier this year, an auction in Saudi Arabia awarded a contract to build a 300-megawatt solar facility for $17.90 a megawatt hour. Very low labor costs in the Middle East and India are resulting in record-breaking low bids for solar.
"A Mexican auction last year drew international bids for power at an unsubsidized price of below $21 per megawatt hour. That was substantially below the spot market price for electricity, which averaged around $70 per megawatt hour last year, said Veronica Irastorza, an associate director of economic consulting firm NERA and a former Mexican undersecretary of energy planning.
"In Canada, an auction in Alberta in December awarded four wind contracts for an average of $37 a megawatt hour, subsidy-free. The Albertan government planned to award contracts for only 400 megawatts, but bumped it up to 600 megawatts when it saw the prices offered, which were slightly below the average price for electricity on the province’s grid in 2018."