These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.
They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.
China puts climate above reckless growth
“We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption.”
China’s environment minister on Monday issued an unusually stark warning about the effects of unbridled development on the country’s air, water and soil, saying the nation’s current path could stifle long-term economic growth and feed social instability.
We need them over here to talk to HM Opposition.
The Chinese have plenty to worry about
China in recent years has moved into the world champion position as the worlds top emitter, by a considerable margin:
“Rapid growth and reckless roll-outs” are no doubt a fair part of the problem, as is the continued expansion of the use of coal, China’s emphasis on renewable notwithstanding. Ambitions about improving energy intentions in relation to GDP are going nowhere.
So their new-found priority to the environment is not before time.
Models guiding climate policy are “dangerously optimistic”
You’ve heard that climate models are crook at predicting the future before, but perhaps not from a climate scientist saying they are too optimistic. Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at the University of Manchester, UK tells us that:
if we want to aim for a high chance of not exceeding a 2°C increase in global temperature by the end of the century, our energy emissions need to be cut by nearer 10% annually rather than the 2–4% that economists say is possible with a growing economy.
“The output from today’s models is politically palatable,” said Anderson. “The reality is far more depressing, but many scientists are too afraid to stand up and speak out for fear of being ridiculed. Our job is not to be liked but to give a raw and dispassionate assessment of the scale of the challenge faced by the global community.”
You might say he’s signed up to the fierce urgency of now.
Canaries in the mine
There are always plenty of articles reminding us that the climate is changing before our eyes. Here are some:
Owls don’t change colour, of course – it’s hereditary, but with warmer winters in Finland the proportion of brown as against grey owls has increased.
China is running short of wheat
China is a large wheat producer, five times larger than Australia and is largely self-sufficient, but now it is running short.
DROUGHT across five provinces responsible for more than half China’s 100 million tonne wheat crop could trigger a major foray into global markets – including Australia – by a nation which prides itself on being largely self sufficient in wheat.
Shandong Province, which traditionally grows 20 per cent of China’s wheat, is facing its worst drought in 200 years. In other areas the big dry is the worst in 60 years.
It’s not only people that need the wheat:
Wheat is mostly used to feed China’s rapidly expanding pig and poultry sector meat, with domestic supplies supplemented by US corn imports, but with US prices now around $7 a bushel.
The worry is that China has the cash to enter world markets and seriously push up the prices.
Climate Progress looks at food prices
Climate progress has a succinct summary of what is going on:
What is driving up food prices to record levels? As I’ve discussed in CP’s food insecurity series, it’s harvests ruined by extreme weather, coupled with rising oil prices, increasing demand from population growth and changing diets in a global market made all the tighter by unsustainable biofuels policies.
That was then, this is now
And destroy some prime dairying country in the process.
Greenbox – the country’s first “smart energy retailer”
Greenbox reckon they’ve cracked the business model of how to make money out of customers using less electricity. It’s hard to know exactly what they plan to do, but it seems to involve knowing the cost of energy usage in real time and sourcing the cheapest wholesale energy. Someone is bound to ring you up during the evening news soon to tell you all about it.
Thanks to John D for the heads-up.
Using air to store power
According to the New Scientist the Brits are looking at using air to store intermittent renewable energy.
You just cool it to a liquid form at -190C, then use ambient temperatures to heat it, driving a wind turbine. Simple! The liquid air is known as cryogen.
Unlike pumped-storage hydropower, which requires large reservoirs, the cryogen plants can be located anywhere.
Bulli is the new electric Kombi
Courtesy of a comment by BilB on another thread, I’d like to finish by highlighting the new VW Bulli. This is what it does:
The new ‘Bulli’ concept offers a flexible layout, seating for six, a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery, an 85 kW electric motor with 260 Nm torque,140 km/h (87 mph) top speed and a range of 300 km (186 miles).