UN Security Council accepts climate change as a threat to global security
The best outline I could find was at Deutsche Welle. What we got was a Presidential Statement rather than a resolution, but one that had to be voted on and accepted by members. Russia had been opposed, saying it would lead to increased politicisation. China wanted climate change addressed as part of the development agenda. There are two main outcomes:
The final statement expressed “concern that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security.”
It also requested UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include information on possible climate change impacts in his regular reports on global trouble-spots.
There’s more background here, when the cause seemed lost.
Electricity generation by fuel type
Barry Brook at BraveNewClimate has some new graphs. The one I want to highlight shows electricity generation by fuel type:
At 2006 the information is a bit dated, but red (coal) is definitely bad. Take your pick of green or blue as good, but please don’t argue about it.
Carbon capture and utilisation
With all that coal being burnt we have to worry about what happens to the CO2. On an earlier thread Fran linked to an article telling us that the prospects of carbon capture and sequestration had taken a hefty blow. Now we are told that we will have to wait a while for carbon capture and utilisation to be commercialised:
A dream climate change cure to turn planet-warming greenhouse gases into useful products from jet fuel to plastics will take years to develop from the lab and pilot projects, a report found on Thursday.
Still “years” is better than the decades CCS will take, even if they do work seriously on it.
Hybrid power stations
Most coal-fired power stations could drill down locally and find geothermal resources around 120°C to 150°C at relatively shallow depth, enough to preheat the water used in turbines, thus improving the thermal efficiency at these plants from around 35% to the high 40s. By this means, it is claimed, the emissions profile of some existing coal-fired power stations could be lowered towards those of gas-fired generators.
Solar is also a prospect as a hybrid partner:
Indeed hybridisation – be it solar/coal, geothermal/coal, solar/gas – seems to be all the rage.
Top floors with solar panels were found to 5F cooler. Don’t get too excited. Savings are equivalent to a 5% discount on the solar panels.
A solar tower in Arizona will be more than twice as high as the Empire State building.
A new aluminium-celmet battery could increase the capacity of electric vehicle onboard battery packs 1.5 to 3 times, or propel a Tesla Roadster from 589 to 1,178 km.
German utility RWE has pulled funding for the world’s largest wave project in Scotland in favour of a tidal plant. This may signify that investor interest in marine power is moving away from wave towards tidal technology.
Also the World Bank is funding a $300 million 150MW geothermal plant in Indonesia.
Fox only talks about global warming when it’s snowing
That’s right, when it’s cold it’s global cooling, when it’s hot it is just hot.
Per kind favour of John D the Northern Sea Route (along the Siberian coast) has now opened, the Northwest Passage (through the channels of the Canadian Arctic Islands) should not be far behind. So we will almost certainly have another year with both passages open. The pink lines (1979 to 2000 median) show that both passages would normally be substantially blocked at this time of the year.
Sea levels, again
I’ve been thinking of an overview post on sea level rise. RealClimate has a post on the Houston and Dean paper purporting to show deceleration of sea level rise last century (already debunked by Tamino). I found two statements interesting:
It is known that the twentieth-century acceleration is largely found in the Southern Hemisphere
we indeed predict a much larger acceleration of sea level rise in the 21st Century than is observed in the 20th Century. That is a direct logical consequence of the fact that we expect much larger warming in the 21st than in the 20th.
The real action is yet to come when decay of the major ice sheets becomes the dominant factor. The question is how much, how soon. In this post Pfeffer et al maintain that the upper bound of expectations for 2100 is two metres. For reasons I elaborated then I suspect he’s right.
Much depends on Antarctica. Recent research indicates that it contributed more than previously thought to sea level rise in the Eemian. But that is likely to play out over centuries.
Meanwhile the Climate Commission (interesting website) has released a climate change impact statement for the Illawarra and NSW south coast which has been picked up by the media:
The report finds low-lying residential areas around Lake Illawarra could be flooded, along with 50 kilometres of rail line, as the sea level rises by 1.1 metres.
The world’s largest carbon farm
The Federal Government are chipping in two-thirds of the purchase price of Hendry Station, to de-stock and form the world’s largest carbon farm. R M Williams will provide the other $13 million.
Traditional owner Barry Abbott is angry. He wants to acquire the property and continue run cattle.
Bruce Breaden, a former director of the Central Land Council, was disappointed the Aboriginal people were not able to buy the station but welcomed the new opportunities and regretted the Aboriginal people were unable to buy it themselves.