Overhaul of Grid Will Take Years

October 26, 2019

Utility Dive: "Utility and commission officials agreed on one thing at the Friday meeting: Climate change has put California at greater fire risk, and an overhaul of PG&E's system will take years."

Water Scarcity and Energy Cost

October 22, 2019


New York Times: "Worldwide, desalination is increasingly seen as one possible answer to problems of water quantity and quality that will worsen with global population growth and the extreme heat and prolonged drought linked to climate change."

“'It is a partial solution to water scarcity,' said Manzoor Qadir, an environmental scientist with the Water and Human Development Program of United Nations University. 'This industry is going to grow. In the next five to 10 years, you’ll see more and more desalination plants.'”

"Yet the question remains where else desalination will grow. 'In low income countries, almost nothing is happening,'” Dr. Qadir said.

"The primary reason is cost. Desalination remains expensive, as it requires enormous amounts of energy. To make it more affordable and accessible, researchers around the world are studying how to improve desalination processes, devising more effective and durable membranes, for example, to produce more water per unit of energy, and better ways to deal with the highly concentrated brine that remains."

Economics of Fracking

October 21, 2019

Wall Street Journal:  "Tudor Pickering estimates that if fracking were banned, natural-gas prices in the U.S. would jump to somewhere between $9 and $15, up from $2.32 per million British thermal units on Friday. The firm figures that oil, which ended Friday at $53.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, would rise to the $80-to-$85 range and could risk shooting to $150 during market shocks."

L.A. Times Editorial Rejects Freeway Expansion

October 07, 2019


Los Angeles Times:  "Although proponents rebranded the High Desert Corridor as an innovative multimodal transportation initiative, complete with a train line, a bike route and renewable energy transmission facilities, its centerpiece until recently was still the freeway. But the project raised many serious questions, including:"

"Why would California plow new highways through open space to enable more cars to travel to far-flung subdivisions when the state is trying to persuade people to drive less to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming?"

"Why, when Los Angeles County is spending billions of dollars to build light rail and subway lines to provide alternatives to commuting by car, would the region support a project that perpetuates driving and will eventually become another traffic-clogged nightmare?"

"And what will it take for state and local leaders to follow through on their ambitious climate goals and stop building a car-centric transportation system that sprawls ever outward?"

Dire Consequences for World's Oceans

September 25, 2019

New York Times: "Earth’s oceans are under severe marine_debris_hawaii_cropped.jpg strain from climate change, a major new United Nations report warns, which threatens everything from the ability to harvest seafood to the well-being of hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts."

"Rising temperatures are contributing to a drop in fish populations in many regions, and oxygen levels in the ocean are declining while acidity levels are on the rise, posing risks to important marine ecosystems, according to the report issued Wednesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking."

Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

Bill Gates on Nuclear Energy

September 22, 2019

NEI: "In his 2018 year-in-review blog post, Gates said: 'Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day.' But to Bill Gates, nuclear energy is not just a technology that can help us meet climate change goals; it also can be used to reduce global poverty. Gates believes that if we are able to expand access to affordable and clean electricity, it would drastically improve living conditions for millions and would ultimately be a huge step in lifting those people out of poverty."

Oil Industry Takes on Electric Cars

September 18, 2019

Politico: "The oil industry is trying to crush the booming electric car movement."

"Groups backed by industry giants like Exxon Mobil and the Koch empire are waging a state-by-state, multimillion-dollar battle to squelch utilities’ plans to build charging stations across the country. Environmentalists call the fight a reprise of the 'Who Killed the Electric Car?' battles that doomed an earlier generation of battery-driven vehicles in the 1990s."

Oil Prices Surge After Saudi Attack

September 16, 2019


Wall Street Journal: "The weekend attacks knocked 5.7 million barrels a day off the kingdom’s oil production. That is equivalent to almost 6% of daily world-wide consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. . . ."

“'This is a significant escalation in the region,' said Chris Midgley, director of analytics at S&P Global Platts. 'If you start taking supply out of the biggest producer in the world, that is crucial.'”

Hurricanes Becoming More Intense

September 03, 2019


NPR:  "CHANG: So let me ask you, are hurricanes becoming more intense and more destructive in general, because it certainly feels like that? I mean, is it normal to have a new Category 5 storm every year?"

"BERARDELLI: It's not normal. In fact, the chance any one year of a Category 5 is about 20%. We've seen five Category 5s in four years."

"CHANG: Yeah."

"BERARDELLI: And your other question was, are we seeing an increase? Yes, we are - in the strongest of storms. There was a study done, and since 1975, they said there was a substantial and observable increase in the proportion of Category 4s and 5s - in fact, an increase of about 25% to 30% per degree Celsius of global warming, so that's 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. So, yes, there is a substantial increase in global Cat 4s and Cat 5s because of a warmer climate."

"CHANG: OK. And how does that work? How does climate change affect the severity of a hurricane?"

"BERARDELLI: Every single year, we set new records for ocean heat content. So although the global temperatures may go up-and-down every year, the ocean does not go up-and-down. It just only goes up, and that's because 93% of the excess heat that we are trapping because of greenhouse gases is stored in the ocean - 93%. Well, that has to come out somehow, and that is high-octane fuel for hurricanes. So the more heat that there is in the ocean, especially near the surface of the ocean, the stronger these systems tend to get. And that's what we're seeing."


Facts on Ice Melt

August 17, 2019



National Snow & Ice Data Center: "Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet)."