CO2 Emissions Increase Sharply in 2018

January 08, 2019

Rhodium Group: "After three years of decline, US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose sharply last year.  Based on preliminary power generation, natural gas, and oil consumption data, we estimate emissions increased by 3.4% in 2018. This marks the second largest annual gain in more than two decades — surpassed only by 2010 when the economy bounced back from the Great Recession."

New York Times: "Under the Paris climate agreement, the United States vowed to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.  The Rhodium Group report warns that this target now looks nearly unattainable without a flurry of new policies or technological advances to drive down emissions throughout the economy."

Bipartisan Climate Legislation Introduced

December 30, 2018

The Hill:  "A bipartisan group of lawmakers is introducing a landmark bill that would charge fossil fuel companies a tax for their carbon dioxide emissions."

"The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, announced by two Republicans and three Democratic members of the House on Tuesday, would charge $15 for each ton of carbon emitted into the air and would increase that fee by $10 every year afterward, in an effort to fight climate change. Other than administrative costs, all of the money would go back to taxpayers.

"Supporters say the bill would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 10 years, and 91 percent by 2050. That’s a bigger cut than former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan or the United States’ commitment under the Paris climate agreement — a pact President Trump has promised to exit."

Citizens Climate Lobby: The Basics of Carbon Fee and Dividend

REMI Study: "The Economic, Climate, Fiscal, Power, and Demographic Impact of a National Fee-and-Dividend Carbon Tax"

Speeding Freight Train

December 07, 2018


New York Times: "Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are growing at an accelerating pace this year, researchers said Wednesday, putting the world on track to face some of the most severe consequences of global warming sooner than expected."

"Scientists described the quickening rate of carbon dioxide emissions in stark terms, comparing it to a “speeding freight train” and laying part of the blame on an unexpected surge in the appetite for oil as people around the world not only buy more cars but also drive them farther than in the past — more than offsetting any gains from the spread of electric vehicles."

Fourth National Climate Assessment

November 24, 2018

Washington Post: "The federal government on Friday released a long-awaited report with an unmistakable message: The effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening."

New York Times: "But in direct language, the 1,656-page assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health and environment, including record wildfires in California, crop failures in the Midwest and crumbling infrastructure in the South. Going forward, American exports and supply chains could be disrupted, agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels by midcentury and fire season could spread to the Southeast, the report finds."

Wall Street Journal: "The impact of global climate change is being felt across the country and, unchecked, could cause U.S. economic losses totaling hundreds of billions of dollars a year by the end of the century, says a new U.S. government report released Friday."

Fourth National Climate Assessment

Twelve Years to Catastrophe

November 14, 2018


Homer Microgrid News & Insight: "One of the more sobering conclusions of the IPCC report is that we are likely to reach a global average temperature increase of 1.5 ºC between 2030 and 2052.  2030 is twelve years from now.  The implication is that we need to make radical changes, starting immediately, if we expect to stay below the critical 1.5 ºC threshold."



Rapid Increase in Large Wildfires

November 14, 2018



New York Times: "The town of Paradise was essentially wiped off the map, with more than 13,000 homes gone, more than 80 people killed, hundreds still missing, thousands homeless — the deadliest fire in state history." 

New York Times: "California’s fire record dates back to 1932; of the 10 largest fires since then, nine have occurred since 2000, five since 2010 and two this year alone, including the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in state history."

Severe Climate Change Impacts by 2040

October 08, 2018

New York Times: "A landmark report from the United Nations’ Cover.jpgscientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has 'no documented historic precedent.'”

"The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population."

"The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies."

IPCC Report

Most Americans Believe Environmental Laws Are Worth the Cost

October 07, 2018

Pew Research Center: "A majority of U.S. adults (59%) say stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost, compared with roughly a third (34%) who say such regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy."

Prepare for 10 Feet of Sea Level Rise on California Coast

October 02, 2018

Scientific American: "California coastal cities should be prepared for the possibility that oceans will rise more than 10 feet by 2100sea_cliff.jpg 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.'”

Driving Innovation in the Energy Sector

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."