August 2011 newsletter

Good News vs. Bad News: First the Bad– (just to get it out of the way)

CHINA WIND: The number of wind turbines in China reached nearly 34,500 at the end of 2010, more than 85 percent of which were produced by Chinese companies. Four Chinese wind turbine makers are listed among the world’s top 10, and Chinese wind power equipment is becoming increasingly popular abroad.  China’s newly installed wind power capacity reached 18.9 gigawatts in 2010, and the total capacity jumped to 44.7 gigawatts, both ranking first in the world.


CHINA SOLAR: As recently as 1995, the United States maintained a dominant global solar market share, manufacturing 43% of the world’s PV panels. In steady decline, US market share shrank to 7% by 2010.



It appears that Coal & Gas will continue to be used no matter what (unless we see some huge catastrophe that is directly related to climate change). The US and Australian; Russian; Mongolian; Chinese; Eastern European  and now Canadian coal industries see billions of tons of coal to be mined and  huge profits. Hard to stop that tide of money and political power and the wishes of poor people to have lights and appliances.

So let’s make a deal – the global coal & gas industry agree that all global new sites will use Carbon Capture & Sequestration by 2020and all existing sites by 2030.  CCS must capture 95% of the CO2.  In return; we who fear climate change stop blocking coal mining and burning.  BUT the Governments of the world Must enforce this plan.  Natural gas has less emissions of everything so should be more cost effective than coal burning.  Even so the cost of electricity will rise 35%.  Meanwhile, we keep building offshore wind and huge solar and transmission lines and storage.

Example 1: Tests Begin at Wyoming Carbon Storage Site as Challenges Loom

Even if the project succeeds in identifying a massive (2.5 miles deep) underground storage location for CO2, that’s only half the battle in commercializing CCS technology

The effort is part of the Wyoming Underground Carbon Storage Project, or WY-CUSP. Fourteen years in the making, the project is being closely watched to see if it can overcome the financial and technical challenges that have plagued other carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) plans in the United States.

Up until last month, American Electric Power’s Mountaineer CCS plant in New Haven, W.Va. had grabbed the lion’s share of industry attention. It was the nation’s most advanced attempt at capturing CO2 from the 31-year-old coal plant’s exhaust gases and burying it in the deep-rock sandstone there. But on July 13, citing an uncertain U.S. climate policy and the continued economic downturn, AEP shelved the project.

Ron Surdam, director of the University of Wyoming’s Carbon Management Institute (CMI), which manages WY-CUSP, believes his team’s project is worthy of a different fate than AEP’s pilot. “We think we’ve got a world class place to store CO2,”

Example 2: Meanwhile in Canada:

The first large-scale effort to capture carbon dioxide emissions in the Canadian oil sands surmounted a crucial hurdle this summer with the signing of government agreements to underwrite nearly two-thirds of the $1.35 billion project’s cost.

The Quest Carbon Capture and Storage project still must pass regulatory hurdles before a consortium led by Royal Dutch/Shell makes a final decision to go forward with its share of the investment. Although Quest would rank among the half-dozen largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the world, sequestering 1.2 million metric tons of CO2 per year in the deepest saline aquifer of Alberta, environmentalists point out the amount is just a small fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions from the province’s oil sands operations.

Alberta’s oil sands, also known as tar sands, are one of the world’s largest petroleum reservoirs. It was long thought to be too expensive to extract oil from the mixture of sand, clay, and water there but the higher global oil prices of the past decade made it feasible. As a result, Canada catapulted to the top ranks of nations in proven oil reserves, behind only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

But all of the mining, cooking, and upgrading required to convert the sticky bitumen from the sands into crude oil releases 1.6 times more greenhouse gas than conventional oil production, according to the Canadian government’s environmental agency.     The Quest project is aimed at capturing the emissions that result from an intermediate step of the oil sands process, called upgrading.     The bitumen that is either mined or steamed out of the sands (at great energy cost) may be upgraded on site or transported vast distances by pipeline.

Germany Sees Thousands of Miles of New Power Lines on Its Road to Renewable Energy (& Large Co$ts).

(Note – this is true for the USA also)

A “no-nuclear” Germany would have to build more than 2,800 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines to achieve its new goal of doubling its current renewable power capacity to reach 35 percent by 2020. And it would have to keep building from there.

Long new lines would carry wind power across the nation to industrial and population centers along the Rhine River from existing wind power farms in the former East Germany and proposed offshore wind turbine clusters. Other direct-current (DC) connections may run under the North Sea, allowing Germany to use Norway’s abundant hydropower reservoirs to store surplus wind power at night and draw on the hydropower during the day.

Ahead of Germany (& USA) lie daunting requirements to install new renewable energy and grid technologies, muster investments, and achieve political consensus on the location of 200-foot-tall transmission towers and their cables that will pass by or through cherished forest and farm lands, picturesque villages and vineyards.

Because of legal wrangling, these kinds of [transmission] projects can often take years or even decades to complete,” said Christoph Nesshöver of the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne in an interview in March with the German media company Deutsche Welle. “To remain credible, the government has to do something on this front; otherwise, the expansion won’t happen.”


Shutting Down U.S. Nuclear Plants Would Have Daunting Effect On Economy and Environment

(So what scares you more?  Climate change impacts or Nuclear power?  Tell us.)

PITTSBURGH—Shutting down nuclear power plants will have significant economic and environmental consequences, according to a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and DAI Management Consultants, Inc. Shifting from nuclear to other types of power plants could affect the reliability of the electricity supply, electricity costs, air pollution, carbon emissions, and the reliance on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, the researchers said.

“Turning off a single large nuclear power plant could require dozens of coal and gas-fired plants to ramp up production to make up the difference,” said Paul Fischbeck, a professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon. “These plants use fossil fuels, cost more to operate, and emit pollution that can lead to acid rain and ozone, and CO2, a greenhouse gas.”

Fischbeck, a risk expert, added that some of the differences are large. “Replacing the Brown’s Ferry plant in Alabama with a mix of coal and gas power plants would cause CO2 emissions to increase by approximately 24 million tons each year. That’s the same as the annual emissions of over 4 million cars,” he said.

►New Study Blames Human Beings for Half of Arctic Ice Melt

About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation’s leading climate research center.

The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution.

The study used supercomputers and one of the world’s most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“There’s no doubt about it – sea ice is going away,” she said. “What we found was that about half of that trend is related to the increasing greenhouse gases.” The other half of the sea-ice loss, as observed over the late 20th century, was “just related to variability in the system.”

►  Global warming could deliver a jolt to coffee lovers::

( Forget melting glaciers ; this is Serious…! )

Up to 60 per cent of the world’s coffee-growing regions will no longer be viable by 2050 thanks to climate change, according to a recent estimate from the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative.

And that, says Trillium Asset Management researcher Jonas Kron, represents a major financial risk for companies who count on coffee for their profits. Trillium and Calvert Investment Management, Inc. called on U.S. consumer products giant Smucker’s to produce detailed disclosure of climate-related risks as part of its financial statements.     “I’m not prone to hyperbole, but climate change is going to be the biggest financial issue for the next generation,” said Kron, adding that Smucker’s got 40 per cent of its revenues and 48 per cent of its earnings from coffee last year.



Finally:  Good (not so bad) News::

PEAT – it is not just for plants. Forests are not the only habitat whose conservation matters to the climate. Economist 12/ 2010

RUSSIA does not normally spring to mind as being in the forefront of the fight against climate change. The citizens of Moscow, however, need no explanation of one aspect of the problem—the importance of wetlands. In 2010,  they had an abrupt and lethal lesson on the dangers of peat-bog fires. An unusually hot summer set such fires across the country and the peatlands around Moscow generated smog that blanketed the city with carbon monoxide and soot.  It is clear that Peat  releases prodigious quantities of climate-changing carbon dioxide when they burn. And even in the absence of fire, draining peat lands—for example, for agriculture—liberates a lot of carbon dioxide.. All told, the global total is about 1.3 billion tonnes—6% of man-made carbon-dioxide emissions even without the effect of fire. That is far more than the contribution made by aviation.  So keep them wet and protected !



Probing the Role of the Sun in an Era of Global Warming; by michael d. lemonick:…  Yale Environment 360 is a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Some skeptics have suggested the real culprit behind rising temperatures is increased solar activity. But a wide variety of data and experiments still provide no solid evidence to refute the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are the major reason the planet is heating up.


The “Galileo Movement’s” is a climate denier group  in Australia. Here is what they say – note this is the same misleading argument worldwide. And an assessment of how they stack up against the body of Earth and atmospheric science, based on an investigation by of several science sources.

Claim: CO2 is Nature’s colorless, odorless, tasteless gas essential for all life on Earth. It’s not toxic. It doesn’t make land, water or air dirty or unsafe to use. It does not cause disease.

  • CO2 comprises less than 0.04 percent of the air.

Assessment: True but irrelevant in the global warming debate.

Nitrogen, oxygen and argon together make up close to 100 percent of the atmosphere. But all three are invisible to incoming “short-wave” radiation from the sun and outgoing “long-wave” radiation from the Earth’s surface. They play no role in regulating the planet’s atmospheric temperature.


But carbon dioxide and other trace gases in the atmosphere do absorb the outgoing long-wave radiation.

So while their concentrations are miniscule, their effect is anything but: If the atmosphere didn’t have those trace amounts of greenhouse gases, New York City would be covered in ice sheets – not sweltering  – on a typical summer afternoon. The globe’s average temperature would be almost 60 degrees Fahrenheit lower.


Similarly, toxicity is not an issue in the climate change debate. Yes, crops need CO2. Breathing a little more of it while out on the links won’t impair your golf game. But earlier findings that suggested higher CO2 levels could increase crop yields have been disproved by recent research showing that other nutrients are more often the limiting factor.


The relevant questions for climate science are how CO2 changes atmospheric temperatures and circulation and alters the oceans’ chemistry and heat capacity.

Source: Scott Mandia, State University of New York, Suffolk


Claim: CO2 stays in the air only five to seven years, possibly less than 12 months before Nature cycles it into plants, animals and oceans.

  • Of Earth’s annual production of CO2, humans produce just 3 percent.

Assessment: True but misleading.

In this case, the claim confuses residence time of individual molecules in the air with the much longer perturbation to the whole system.


Carbon dioxide is continuously cycling among the earth, plants and animals, the atmosphere and the ocean’s surface, with the deep ocean serving as a gigantic long-term reservoir.


Up until the last two centuries, this carbon cycle had been in close balance for the last 10,000 years. But society has pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 278 parts per million at the start of the industrial revolution to 392 parts per million today, a 40 percent increase.


What’s more, the bulk – some 57 percent – of carbon emitted from tailpipes and smokestacks is not even in the atmosphere. It has cycled into the ocean, and scientists generally agree that most of our carbon emissions will ultimately come to a rest in its deepest depths. But that will take  centuries. In the meantime, those extra CO2 molecules will slosh around from earth to atmosphere to upper ocean and back, absorbing energy, acidifying the seas and changing the planet in profound and potentially unwelcome ways. In other words, CO2 emitted today will still be impacting the planet for hundreds of years.

Source: Fortunat Joos, University of Bern, Switzerland


Claim: Measurements reveal that CO2 levels are a consequence of temperature, not the cause. Temperature drives CO2 levels.

Assessment: True before 1800. But false today.

Some 800,000 years’ worth of ice core records indicate that temperature rises did drive an increase in CO2 levels. But that was before humans started digging up huge quantities fossil fuels and transferring all that sequestered carbon to the atmosphere.


It is worth noting, however, that even in the past CO2 had an impact on temperatures, given its role as a greenhouse gas.


It’s also worth noting that ancient temperature and CO2-level changes happened over thousands of years. The Earth needed, for example, 5,000 years to bring atmospheric CO2 concentrations up 80 ppm after the last glacial period.

With the onset of industrialization, the tables turned. Humans have increased atmospheric CO2 levels almost 80 ppm in just 60 years. Now humans are the drivers of CO2 level, not temperature.


And what frightens climate scientists is that temperature hasn’t caught up yet.

Sources: NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory; Scott Mandia, State University of New York, Suffolk; Eric Steig, University of Washington (via


Finally:  We did Not make these Up !

Perry on why he split with Al Gore over climate –  I certainly got religion. I think he’s gone to hell.”

Bachmann Says She’d Consider Everglades Drilling..   SARASOTA, Fla. — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says she would consider drilling for oil and natural gas in the Everglades if experts tell her it can be done responsibly (the alligators can’t wait to meet her).

“And I guarantee you the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) will have doors locked and lights turned off and they will only be about conservation,” she said earlier today at a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids. “It will be a new day and a new sheriff in Washington, D.C.”

(Note: Over the 40-year history of the EPA, there’s simply no evidence of the kind of mass murdering of jobs that politicians claim. )

►Donald Trump has pledged to use “any legal means” to block the building of an offshore windfarm near his championship golf course in Aberdeenshire, claiming the development would spoil his view.  The Guardian showed a picture of   Donald Trump’s golf resort under construction  with diggers stripping grasses from the coastal dunes.



♥ We keep seeing the deniers claim that one volcano puts out more CO2 than we have reduced.  Not true.   Since they don’t like science;   they must make up their claims.     





Ck out this new book-   “The Inquisition of Climate Science”  by James Powell – $19

One of the most effective things we can do is to call our Elected representatives: . You don’t need to know the bill name or be an expert ; – just say  your opinion.   You can be sure the Flat earth people call frequently.     A staff member will answer the phone. It’s their job to take calls from constituents, so don’t be shy. To make the most impact, make it personal. EG:  I am concerned about climate change;    Please follow the Science ;   We need to take action…

Senator Robert Casey: (202) 224-6324

Senator Pat Toomey: (202) 224-4254

These calls really have an impact !


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  • August 2011 newsletter – Chester County Citizens for Climate … | Wind Power Guide Blog, September 4th, 2011 on 7:26 am

    […] ►CHINA WIND: The number of wind turbines in China reached nearly 34500 at the end of 2010, more than 85 percent of which were produced by Chinese companies. … Ahead of Germany (& USA) lie daunting requirements to install new renewable energy and grid technologies, muster investments, and achieve political consensus on the location of 200-foot-tall transmission towers and their cables that will pass by or through cherished forest and farm lands, picturesque villages and … View post: August 2011 newsletter – Chester County Citizens for Climate … […]