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Friday, August 31, 2012

Carbon Capture and the Climate Crisis:


Carbon Capture and the Climate Crisis:

Can Removing CO2 from Energy Emissions - or Directly from the Air Itself - Mitigate Climate Change?
Register Now

ImageSome leading scientists have formed businesses venturing to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air and sell it for reuse. Can this be achieved at a large enough scale to impact the global climate? The process is scientifically possible, but a lot rides on whether the cost of removal is low enough to make these businesses profitable.

Meanwhile, efforts to scrub CO2 from emissions at coal, oil, and natural gas plants have already received some attention. How advanced and widespread are those projects, and what kind of impact can we expect from this form of carbon capture?

Join us as we examine the questions around both a potentially important climate solution and an expanding business space:
  • How effective is filtering CO2 right out of the air? How does it work?
  • What motivates fossil fuel plants to invest in technology that captures CO2?
  • Can carbon capture be profitable on a large scale? How soon?
FEATURING...
  • David Keith, PhD, President, Carbon Engineering, Professor of Applied Physics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Marc Gunther, Journalist and consultant in business and sustainability, contributing editor at FORTUNE magazine, and author of Suck It Up: How capturing carbon from the air can help solve the climate crisis.
  • Dr. Peter Weywode, Head of Innovation Management, Siemens Oil & Gas Division, responsible for turbomachines, new products and solutions, and sustainable technology and products.
  • Matthew Stepp, Senior Analyst, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Guest Post: The U.S. Drought Is Hitting Harder Than Most Realize

Guest Post: The U.S. Drought Is Hitting Harder Than Most Realize

Submitted by Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity,

This is an important update on the U.S. drought of 2012, the combined record-setting July land temperatures, and their impact on food prices, water availability, energy, and even U.S. GDP. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-us-drought-hitting-harder-most-realize

A slow-moving Isaac brings flooding to Gulf states

A slow-moving Isaac brings flooding to Gulf states
(Phys.org)—Isaac - once a Category 1 hurricane and now a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (60 knots) - continues to create havoc across the Gulf Coast, from eastern Texas to Florida. While "only" reaching Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale upon landfall on Aug. 28, Isaac is a slow mover, crawling along at only about six miles (10 kilometers) per hour. This slow movement is forecast to continue over the next 24 to 36 hours, bringing a prolonged threat of flooding to the northern Gulf Coast and south-central United States. http://phys.org/news/2012-08-slow-moving-isaac-gulf-states.html#nwlt

Carbon release from collapsing coastal permafrost in Arctic Siberia

Carbon release from collapsing coastal permafrost in Arctic Siberia
In this week's issue of Nature a study lead by Stockholm University, with collaborators from Russia, US, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Spain and Denmark, show that an ancient and large carbon pool held in a less-studied form of permafrost ("Yedoma") is thaw-released along the ~ 7000 kilometer desolate coast of northernmost Siberian Arctic.  http://phys.org/news/2012-08-carbon-collapsing-coastal-permafrost-arctic.html#nwlt

U of T atmospheric physicist discusses ozone, climate change and the Quadrennial Ozone Symposium

U of T atmospheric physicist discusses ozone, climate change and the Quadrennial Ozone Symposium
As leading international scientists gather in Toronto to discuss new findings on ozone and climate change for the 22nd Quadrennial Ozone Symposium, U of T News spoke with Professor Kimberly Strong about her research, the Arctic ozone hole and atmospheric research at U of T. http://phys.org/news/2012-08-atmospheric-physicist-discusses-ozone-climate.html#nwlt

Report: Natural gas production far less impactive than consumption

Report: Natural gas production far less impactive than consumption
A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory found that the carbon emissions and other environmental consequences from natural gas actually come primarily from consumption than production.
Full Articlehttp://www.pennenergy.com/index/petroleum/display/4963116572/articles/pennenergy/petroleum/exploration/2012/august/doe-report_finds_natural.html?cmpid=EnlDailyPetroAugust302012

FEDERAL COURT HOLDS TVA LIABLE FOR KINGSTON COAL ASH SPILL



FEDERAL COURT HOLDS TVA LIABLE FOR KINGSTON COAL ASH SPILL
A federal district court on Thursday ruled in favor of more than 800 plaintiffs when it held the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) liable for the December 2008 failure of coal ash containment dikes at its Kingston Fossil plant in Roane County, Tenn., that resulted in the spill of more than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge. Read More »
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CARBON DIOXIDE INJECTION BEGINS AT FULLY INTEGRATED COAL-FIRED CCS PROJECT



CARBON DIOXIDE INJECTION BEGINS AT FULLY INTEGRATED COAL-FIRED CCS PROJECT
Injection of carbon dioxide began last week at one of the world’s first fully integrated coal-fired carbon capture, transportation, and geologic storage projects. The "Anthropogenic Test" conducted by the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) transports carbon dioxide via a 12-mile pipeline from a 25-MW post-combustion carbon capture facility at Southern Co.'s 2,657-MW Plant Barry in Bucks, Ala., and sequesters it within a saline Paluxy Formation at the nearby Citronelle Oil Field operated by Denbury Resources. Read More »http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/4936.html?hq_e=el&hq_m=2513241&hq_l=6&hq_v=30108e0773

Russia announces enormous finds of radioactive waste and nuclear reactors in Arctic seas


Russia announces enormous finds of radioactive waste and nuclear reactors in Arctic seas

ingress_image
The K-27 nuclear submarine, which was sunk by the Soviet Navy in 1981 for disposal, poses a possible risk of exploding beneath the sea. The submarine was not among radioactive hazards cataloged by Russian Authorities.
Photo: The Russian Northern Fleet: Sources of Radioactive Contamination
Enormous quantities of decommissioned Russian nuclear reactors and radioactive waste were dumped into the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia over a course of decades, according to documents given to Norwegian officials by Russian authorities and published in Norwegian media. http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2012/Russia_reveals_dumps

Editor's Note: 8/30

Readers - I am away on business travel today. Will resume posting this evening.
Michele Kearney

Corn Exports Shrivel as U.S. Ethanol Demand Grows

Corn Exports Shrivel as U.S. Ethanol Demand Grows
by Mike Orcutt
As the world's biggest exporter of corn diverts more and more of its crop to make fuel, it's sending less to the global marketplace.
Read More »http://www.technologyreview.com/photogallery/429040/corn-exports-shrivel-as-us-ethanol-demand-grows/?nlid=nldly&nld=2012-08-30

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

GAO Report Released: Interior’s Reorganization Complete, but Challenges Remain in Implementing New Requirements

GAO Report Released: Interior’s Reorganization Complete, but Challenges Remain in Implementing New Requirements

Recently the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report, titled
Interior’s Reorganization Complete, but Challenges Remain in Implementing New Requirement GAO-12-423 (July 30, 2012). This 143 page report, available here, was conducted by the GAO in the wake of the Deepwater Drilling incident in order to:
assess[ ] (1) Interior’s reorganization of its oversight of offshore oil and gas activities; (2) how key policy changes Interior has implemented since this incident have affected Interior’s environmental analyses, plan reviews, and drilling permit reviews; (3) the extent to which Interior’s inspections of drilling rigs and production platforms in the Gulf identify violations or result in civil penalty assessments; (4) when stakeholders provided input to Interior on proposed oil and gas activities, and the extent which they believe Interior considered their concerns; and (5) key challenges, if any, Interior faces in overseeing offshore oil and gas activities in the Gulf.
Based on its research the GAO recommended that the Department of the Interior improve the efficacy of its inspections with the "timely input of violation correction data, its capacity for categorizing oil and gas activities according to risk, and its strategic planning for information technology and workforce efforts."

Congressional Research Service Report Released: Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Congressional Research Service Report Released: Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress,in August released a report titled, Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress (August 15, 2012). The brief 34 page report authored by Peter Folger, Betsy A. Cody and Nicole T. Carter was written to discuss:
how drought is defined (e.g., why drought in one region of the country is different from drought in another region), and why drought occurs in the United States. How droughts are classified, and what is meant by moderate, severe, and extreme drought classifications, are also discussed. The report briefly describes periods of drought in the country’s past that equaled or exceeded drought conditions experienced during the 20th century. This is followed by a discussion of the future prospects for a climate in the West that would be drier than the average 20th century climate. The report concludes with a primer on policy challenges for Congress, such as the existing federal/non-federal split in drought response and management and the patchwork of drought programs subject to oversight by multiple congressional committees.

Heatwaves to move toward coasts, study finds

Heatwaves to move toward coasts, study finds
(Phys.org)—A new study by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, suggests that the nature of California heatwaves is changing due to global warming. Heatwaves to move toward coasts, study finds (Phys.org)—A new study by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, suggests that the nature of California heatwaves is changing due to global warming.

Climate change stories from the abyss

Climate change stories from the abyss
An international team of scientists have shed new light on the world's history of climate change. http://phys.org/news/2012-08-climate-stories-abyss.html#nwlt

In Arctic, Greenpeace picks new fight with old foe

In Arctic, Greenpeace picks new fight with old foe
(AP)—Global warming has ignited a rush to exploit Arctic resources—and Greenpeace is determined to thwart that stampede. http://phys.org/news/2012-08-arctic-greenpeace-foe.html#nwlt
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Christopher Knittel: Don’t Blame It on the Rain–The Ethanol Mandate Is a Bad Idea in Any Year

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 10:45 AM PDT
MIT Sloan Prof. Christopher Knittel
From Huffington Post
The long drought will have real consequences for the nation’s food and energy markets. But it also creates an opportunity for Washington to take a hard look at the Bush-era mandate known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which requires that 10 percent of the gasoline we put in our cars be comprised of ethanol, most of which is made from corn.
Because both sides in the debate over the standard tend to exaggerate, we conducted extensive research into the issue. We conclude that the ethanol mandate has some significant negative consequences and few redeeming features. Even without a drought, the policy is inefficient; with a drought it is much worse. Two economic myths drive support for the ethanol mandate.
Read the full post at The Blog
Christopher Knittel is the William Barton Rogers Professor of Energy Economics at MIT Sloan School of Management

How Climate Change May Affect Nuclear Power Plants

How Climate Change May Affect Nuclear Power Plants
Posted: 29 Aug 2012 04:21 AM PDT
Many nuclear power plants rely heavily on access to nearby sources of cold water to keep the system cool. Many of these power plants were built several decades ago and some of them are not well prepared for the warmer weather we are now experiencing.

http://theenergycollective.com/globalwarmingisreal/107461/how-climate-change-may-affect-nuclear-power-plants?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Energy+Collective+%28all+posts%29

Lake level dwindling near Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant

KFDI - ‎5 hours ago‎
1, if current weather patterns persist. Wolf Creek officials say it would be difficult to operate the plant if the drought continues for the next several months. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the water office says the reservoir was about 75 percent full on Aug.

Drought raises concern about Kansas nuclear plant

Kansas.com - ‎14 hours ago‎
http://bit.ly/PoF9zd · http://www.kansas.com · http://www.ljworld.com. BURLINGTON, Kan. — Drought conditions are draining a reservoir used to cool the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant, but officials of the eastern Kansas plant say there are no worries about ...

Wolf Creek Nuclear power backup water supply drying up

KSN-TV - ‎18 hours ago‎
New Strawn, Kansas -- Could the exceptional Kansas drought cause problems at the only nuclear power plant in Kansas? Maybe. "Rather than speculating on what might happen, what I think is important to know is that Wolf Creek has sufficient water to ...

KCTV5Recent newspaper article had people worrying about power supplies

KCTV Kansas City -
COFFEY COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -. A newspaper article had phones ringing off the hook at Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant from people concerned the dangerous drought could poach their power. Turns out the plant has a backup plan that's putting the water ...

Reservoir near nuclear plant sees water levels dip

Bizjournals.com (blog) 
A reservoir that's one option to help cool the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant will be almost dry by Nov. 1 if the weather doesn't change, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. However, a Kansas City Power & Light Co. spokeswoman told the Kansas City ...

Dropping levels of reservoir that cools Wolf Creek nuclear plant raises operation ...

KWCH -
BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — The continuing drought is causing concern about operating the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant. Officials say the dwindling water levels of a reservoir used to cool the plant near Burlington do not pose any safety risk. Related; Link: ...

Drought could bring troubles for Wolf Creek nuclear plant

Bizjournals.com -
The dwindling water levels in a reservoir near Burlington, Kan., don't pose a safety risk to Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant, but limited water access could make it more difficult to operate the plant. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that according to a new ...
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Global Warming, Coal Combustion and Sea Level Rise


Posted: 29 Aug 2012 06:46 AM PDT
The Arctic was in a cooling phase from 1900 to 1925, a warming phase from 1925 to 1960, a cooling phase from 1960 to 1990, and a warming phase from 1990 to Present, all while CO2 ppMv was steadily increasing.  An indication of warming in the Arctic is the sea ice volume (extent x thickness) decreasing since about 1960. http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/107316/global-warming-coal-combustion-and-sea-level-rise?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Energy+Collective+%28all+posts%29

Climate change and wildfire: How vulnerable are we?

Climate change and wildfire: How vulnerable are we?

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists concluded in 2007 that climate change poses almost as serious a threat to human survival as nuclear weapons do. Citing both perils in its decision to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin noted:http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/climate-change-and-wildfire-how-vulnerable-are-we

Historic Fuel Efficiency and Auto Pollution Standards Finalized

Historic Fuel Efficiency and Auto Pollution Standards Finalized

The finalization of historic new federal automobile standards covering new passenger vehicles sold between 2017 and 2025 is one of the biggest moves ever taken to reduce U.S. oil use and a huge step on the path toward halving the country’s projected consumption within 20 years, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said today. http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/cafe-finalization-0383.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ucsusa%2Frss+%28Union+of+Concerned+Scientists%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Latest Science on Climate Change, Coastal Flooding and Hurricanes

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2012 assessment report on extreme events associates historical increases in coastal flooding and intense precipitation with human-driven climate change.http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/latest-science-on-climate-change-coastal-flooding-hurricanes-0384.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20ucsusa%2Frss%20%28Union%20of%20Concerned%20Scientists%29&utm_content=Google%20Reader

China's Worsening Food Safety Crisis by Yanzhong Huang

China's Worsening Food Safety Crisis

This Drought Is So Bad Salt Water Is Flowing Up the Mississippi, Threatening NOLA's Water Supply

This Drought Is So Bad Salt Water Is Flowing Up the Mississippi, Threatening NOLA's Water Supply

And that's the last thing the city needs as it braces for Hurricane Isaac.
Saltwater has been flowing from the Gulf up the Mississippi River, and that's as much of a problem as you might think.
Due to the historic drought still searing the Midwest and taxing the heart of our agricultural economy, the Mississippi River is at its lowest flow rate in years. In Memphis, for instance, the river is 8.9 feet below baseline. While the low flow has been grounding barges and creating pockets of quicksand, it is also allowing the Gulf of Mexico to flow nearly 90 miles upstream from the mouth of the Mississippi.
Why? Salt water is denser than fresh water, which means if you mix the two, the salt water sinks. The Gulf is salt water. The bottom of the Mississippi is lower than the surface of the Gulf. Following that gradient, the dense gulf waters actually flow up the Mississippi, crawling along the riverbed. Theoretically, the salt water can flow 350 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi, the point where the bottom of the river reaches an elevation higher than the surface of the Gulf. But the salty waters never makes it this far, as the downward flow of the Mississippi holds them back. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/08/this-drought-is-so-bad-salt-water-is-flowing-up-the-mississippi-threatening-nolas-water-supply/261688/

The Mystery at the Heart of This Year's Record-Setting Arctic Ice Melt

The Mystery at the Heart of This Year's Record-Setting Arctic Ice Melt

You have probably heard that the Arctic has less sea ice right now than humans have ever recorded. The new record, set yesterday, beat the previous low, which was measured in September 2007.
"By itself it's just a number, and occasionally records are going to get set," said National Snow and Ice Data Center scientist Walt Meier in an official statement. "But in the context of what's happened in the last several years and throughout the satellite record, it's an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing."
There are two odd things about this sad record of global change.
First, it's only late August, several weeks before the traditional time when the sea ice melting stopped. That could mean that the melt is stopping earlier and could begin to recover earlier. Or we may have several weeks to go of melting, in which case, this year's low could not just break but shatter 2007's record.
Second, if the melt continues for days or weeks more, the melt will end up catastrophically lower than anyone anticipated.http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/08/the-mystery-at-the-heart-of-this-years-record-setting-arctic-ice-melt/261684/

At Least 41 Dead after Venezuela Oil Refinery Explosion

At Least 41 Dead after Venezuela Oil Refinery Explosion

Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery has been shut down following a gas explosion that killed 41 people and injured 86 others some 240 miles west of Caracas, news agencies reported. The Saturday blast at the Amuay refinery was the result of a gas leak, which seriously damaged a national guard post and housing complex, according to Venezuelan oil officials.  Nearly 220 homes in the immediate area were damaged in the explosion, while 18 troops and 15 of their family members were killed when the explosion took out the guard post and nearby…Read more...http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/At-Least-41-Dead-after-Venezuela-Oil-Refinery-Explosion.html

Bill Gates' New Toilet Tech


 
International competition for sustainable sanitation solutions tailored for 2.5 billion people who live without flush toilets and clean waterhttp://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/green-tech/conservation/gates-names-winners-in-reinvent-the-toilet-challenge/?utm_source=energywise&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=082912

US automakers wake up to clean cars

US automakers wake up to clean cars
 http://phys.org/news/2012-08-automakers-cars.html#nwlt

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Uncovering the Real Price of Peak Oil

Uncovering the Real Price of Peak Oil
Oakshire Financial
We've been using uranium primarily because you can't make nuclear bombs out of thorium, and the U.S. was building up its nuclear arsenal from World War II on. This is how uranium came to be used for nuclear power plants instead of thorium, but that's a ...http://oakshirefinancial.com/2012/08/28/uncovering-the-real-price-of-peak-oil/

August 22 is Earth Overshoot Day

August 22 is Earth Overshoot Day

In 8 Months, Humanity Exhausted Earth's Budget for the Year
Today, August 22, is Earth Overshoot Day, marking the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. We are now operating in overdraft. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day/?goback=.gde_2320350_member_150861566
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Two More Lows for Arctic Sea Ice

Two More Lows for Arctic Sea Ice
Posted: 28 Aug 2012 06:09 AM PDT
The loss of Arctic sea ice is progressing more rapidly and clearly than just about any other indicator of global climate change. As I’ve discussed previously, the minimum summer sea ice extent (i.e. the two-dimensional area of the floating ice cap) set new record lows in 2002, 2005 and 2007. Similarly, the total volume of sea ice set record lows in 2007, 2010 and 2011. For the first time since 2007, both the sea ice extent and volume have set new record lows in the same year (see figures). And what’s more, they did it with weeks remaining in the melt season, which usually ends in mid-September. So the records have been broken this year, but we don’t know yet just how low the extent and volume will go.http://theenergycollective.com/seidel/107161/two-more-lows-arctic-sea-ice?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Energy+Collective+%28all+posts%29
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Access to water key for food security: FAO chief

Access to water key for food security: FAO chief

Stockholm (AFP) Aug 27, 2012
Global food security starts with ensuring access to water, the head of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said at the beginning of World Water Week Monday. "There is no food security without water security," said FAO director-general Jose Graziano Da Silva in Sweden, which is hosting the annual event organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). With crop growhttp://www.seeddaily.com/reports/Access_to_water_key_for_food_security_FAO_chief_999.html
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