I’ve used a random image for the featured image of this post. I was going to use the one that once was my gravatar (to the left) but the original is quite small and it came up fuzzy. Actually I haven’t seen my gravatar for a long time, and haven’t gotten around to doing anything about it. In fact I’m not sure what to do. It just disappeared one day along with a percentage of all other gravatars. I don’t see tigtog’s or Kim’s, for example. There is just an empty square where they should be.
Can anyone help?
Europe goes wind and solar
Nearly 70% of new electricity capacity in Europe was solar and wind. Gas also claimed a large share.
It’s expected that renewable electricity sources will meet 34% of demand in Europe by 2020, with 25 of 27 countries to surpass their targets beforehand.
I notice that coal is still hanging in there, with 5% of new capacity.
In the comparison with 2000 wind, gas and solar are the big movers, but coal is disappointingly resilient. With wind, solar and gas prices all declining to record lows hopefully the wind-back of nuclear will not see a resurgence of coal.
Electric green taxiing for aircraft
Budget airline easyJet chalks up across the fleet 3.5 million ground-miles a year in taxiing. Now they are planning to trial electric taxiing which could save 4% of fuel.
The airline is also planning to fly lightweight “ecoJets” 25% quieter, emitting 50% less carbon dioxide and 75% less nitrous oxides.
We need to get on our bikes
The Belgians have found that a slight shift in traffic composition from cars to motorcycles significantly reduces congestion and emissions. They found that:
if 10 percent of all private cars were replaced by motorcycles in the traffic flow of the test area, total time losses for all vehicles decreased by 40 percent and total emissions reduced by 6 percent (1 percent from the different traffic composition of more emission-reduced motorcycles and 5 percent from avoided traffic congestion). A 25 percent modal shift from cars to motorcycles was found to eliminate congestion entirely.
If not motorbikes, then at least smaller cars is what we need. Or so the article says.
Wind farms to go elsewhere
Elsewhere from Victoria, that is. what a surprise!
Pacific Hydro is pulling out, no-one else is interested, up to $3 billion worth of wind energy projects may be abandoned.
Grattan Institute again
In the last post I linked to the Grattan Institute Report.
At Climate Spectator, Tony Wright of Beyond Zero Emissions, really unloaded saying the report “contains misleading comparisons, flawed analysis and glaring omissions on the vital energy issues confronting Australia.”
The authors had their eyes wide shut about the reducing cost of solar, the existence of solar baseload and new storage technologies. They were wrong about recommending the elimination of feed-in-tariffs and in unreasonable in asserting that mapping of renewable resources is the major requirement for renewable deployment. We know where the good wind and sun is, he says. The report is excessively sanguine about geothermal, CCS and nukes, and as to gas, the report reflects the fact that Tony Wood used to work for Origin and BHP Billiton which recently bought big in shale gas interests in the US and is a major funder of the Grattan Institute.
Tony Wood has responded, saying that Matthew Wright’s criticisms are either incorrect or miss the point. Inter alia he makes direct reference to Helen Morrow’s piece The right way to value solar. It’s too detailed to summarise here, but is well worth reading. He says it is highly unlikely that we can decarbonise our electricity system in less than 40 years at affordable cost with wind and solar. And don’t rule out nukes.
Indeed, the central argument is that we are faced with great uncertainty, and should neither pick the winner nor eliminate the loser.
Human evolution and climate change
One of the first significant articles I ever read on climate change asserted that the evolution of Homo sapiens as a species was sculpted by ice ages. Here the theme emerges again. New reserch from Canada’s Simon Fraser University suggests:
environmental variation significantly influenced the number and intricacy of food-gathering tools that historical hunter-gatherers made.
It’s really about the evolution of human culture rather that the evolution of our genes.
“The basic pattern is that people living in harsh, risky environments, such as the Arctic, produced and used many more complex tools than people living in less harsh and risky environments, such as tropical rainforests.”
I don’t see the last bit as a conundrum, just a fact:
The conundrum — while evolution has enabled ancestral hominins (humans) to adapt well to diverse ecological niches, modern humans are now transforming local ecosystems and the global climate at the peril of their own existence.
All species change their environments, it’s a matter of degree.
Mediaeval warming explained
It seems that the Medieval Climate Anomaly can be explained
by a simple thermodynamical response of the climate system to relatively weak changes in radiative forcing combined with a modification of the atmospheric circulation, displaying some similarities with the positive phase of the so-called Arctic Oscillation, and with northward shifts in the position of the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio currents.
So there you have it!
Action on soot, methane and hydrofluorocarbons
Hilary Clinton launches a coalition of the United States, Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Sweden and Ghana to curb black carbon (soot), methane and hydrofluorocarbons. The UN Environment Program will serve as the coalition’s secretariat and the US and Canada have stumped up all of $15 million to get it rolling. If successful I’m sure that’s excellent value for money.
This report sees it as the US bypassing Congress again. Apparently Obama said last month that divisions in Congress are “too deep” to tackle climate change.
Led by our noses and driven by the hip pocket nerve
That’s how public opinion shifts, according to empirical research:
A time-series analysis indicates that elite cues and structural economic factors have the largest effect on the level of public concern about climate change. While media coverage exerts an important influence, this coverage is itself largely a function of elite cues and economic factors. Weather extremes have no effect on aggregate public opinion. Promulgation of scientific information to the public on climate change has a minimal effect. The implication would seem to be that information-based science advocacy has had only a minor effect on public concern, while political mobilization by elites and advocacy groups is critical in influencing climate change concern