Category Archives: Uncategorized

China Builds 24 Billion Watts of Solar in Just Two Months as Trump Attacks Renewables and Defends Coal

Between the present U.S. Executive Branch and China, we can really tell which government is serious about being a moral leader on the critical issue of climate change and which government continues to wallow in the land of backwards thinking and heartless denial. For as the Trump Administration is doing everything it can to defend the coal-fired ‘Satanic mills’ that are so radically transforming the world for the worst while attacking renewable energy, China is continuing to build the solar farms that are capable of replacing them like gangbusters.

More than 10 Billion Watts Per Month

In June, China added a staggering 13.5 billion watts (gigawatts) of solar panels to its present large and growing solar fleet. In July, the country added another 10.5 gigawatts of solar. The two month total of 24 gigawatts is more than half the size of the total U.S. solar fleet of 44.4 gigawatts. In other words, China just added more solar capacity in two months than the U.S. added in all of the past two years.

(New solar market guidance for China shows an expected 180 to 230 GW of solar capacity by 2020. The present build rate indicates that even this range may be conservative. Image source: Renew Economy.)

As a result of this amazing build pace, China has already smashed through its 2020 solar goal of 105 gigawatts. The country now boasts a solar fleet of 112.3 billion watts. Long range forecasters now expect China to approach or exceed 200 gigawatts of solar by 2020 — or more than 20 percent the size of China’s present (and shrinking) coal fleet. And if China somehow maintained its amazing rate of solar installation during June and July, the country would exceed 200 gigawatts of national solar capacity by May of 2018.

No one presently expects that to happen. But China has surprised the world before. This is exactly the kind of surprise that a world wallowing in the ever-worsening impacts of climate change so desperately needs.  And the irony is that this new hope for rapid carbon emissions reductions is coming from China. Not the supposedly enlightened and progressive United States which is presently afflicted by the absolute worst form of backward-looking executive leadership imaginable.

Moral Leadership on Climate Change or Loss Thereof

I’m betting the people of the U.S. don’t want to be led down the path toward a new dark age of every worsening climate change and a fossil fuel resource curse write large by Trump. That we would much rather do our part to save the world from ramping climate destruction while taking leadership roles in the very new industries that U.S. innovation helped to create.

(Whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic about Earth’s climate sensitivity, the pathway toward worst case climate change [otherwise known as business as usual] lies in a world that continues to burn coal. So Trump’s defense of coal and attacks on renewables are, in essence, a defense of the worst case when it comes to climate change related disasters. Image source: The Brookings Institute.)

So what do we do?

We let the world know that Trump’s brand of leadership is not acceptable to Americans. That the true government leaders in the U.S. are those like California and Vermont and New York. That we support the future industries like those being pioneered by Musk and so many others. That we do not fear the future so much as recognize and embrace its mighty and admittedly difficult challenges. That we rise to the occasion by fighting for carbon emissions reductions and we do not falter.

Links:

China Added 10.5 Gigawatts of Solar in July

Trump’s Attack on Renewable Energy

Scott Pruitt’s Big Coal Lie

Renew Economy

The Brookings Institute


Source: Robert Scribbler

Trump’s USDA Pick is Poster Boy for GOP War on Science

Sam Clovis is trump's choice for chief scientist in the USDA, but he's not scientist, he’s a homophobic radio host.🤔pic.twitter.com/DynFQCz5Sg — Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) August 22, 2017 Ignorant, anti-science, homophobe, early, loyal Trump supporter – what’s not to like? Those republican Senators, including Senator Flake and Corker, who have expressed doubts about Trump’s leadership, have […]
Source: Climate Crocks

South Miami’s Solar Mandate Sets Example for Other Coastal Cities Facing Existential Threat From Sea Level Rise

Back in July, South Miami decided to require that all new homes built within city limits place solar panels on their roofs. The decision was made in an attempt to help slake the warming related impacts of sea level rise on the city by working to reduce carbon emissions.

South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard recently noted:

“We’re down in South Florida where climate change and sea level rise are existential threats, so we’re looking for every opportunity to promote renewable energy. It’s carbon reduction, plain and simple. We have a pledge for carbon neutrality. We support the Paris Climate Agreement.”

South Miami joins six California cities now also providing rooftop solar mandates. These include San Francisco, Culver City, Santa Monica, San Mateo, Lancaster, and Sebastapol.

(How quickly greenhouse gas emissions are reduced has a considerable impact on the impact of future sea level rise. South Miami gets it. But what about the rest of the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts?)

With threats from rising oceans to coastal cities worsening, Miami’s decision is one that resonates with the interests of thousands of communities around the world. Nuisance flooding and increased instances of tidal flooding are on the rise pretty much everywhere. Meanwhile, some cities and island nations are in the process of being wiped off the map entirely as the pace of sea level rise quickens globally.

Coastal cities now have a vested interest in reducing carbon emissions as swiftly as possible. And Miami, like a number of cities in California, recognize that smart policy moves by municipalities can help to speed an energy transition away from the fossil fuels that now account for the vast majority of global carbon emissions.

Links:

South Miami Just Made a Huge Solar Rooftop Decision

South Miami is Going Solar

The Present Threat to Coastal Cities From Antarctic and Greenland Melt

Alaska Towns at Risk From Rising Seas Sound Alarm as Trump Pulls Federal Help


Source: Robert Scribbler

Confederacy. Klan. Coal. Trump/Putin bent on Picking Losers.

Charleston Gazzette-Mail (West Virginia): Trump administration officials have told the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to halt a review of the increased public health risks faced by Appalachian residents who live near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites, the academies revealed in a statement issued Monday. Word of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office […]
Source: Climate Crocks

Eclipse a Test for Solar Energy

Adjustment will be a pretty simple matter that most people will not notice. Reuters: HOUSTON (Reuters) – As Monday’s total solar eclipse sweeps from Oregon to South Carolina, U.S. electric power and grid operators will be glued to their monitoring systems in what for them represents the biggest test of the renewable energy era. Utilities […]
Source: Climate Crocks

Greenland by Drone

One new tool I took to the Greenland ice this summer – a drone. Game changer.Filed under: Crock of the Week
Source: Climate Crocks

Science Predicts an Eclipse. And More Global Warming. Believe Them.

New York Times: When medicine delivered a wave of vaccines in the 20th century, doctors predicted that widespread use would cause childhood deaths from illnesses like whooping cough and diphtheria to fall. The public trusted the doctors, and those deaths plummeted. So what predictions has climate science made, and have they come true? The earliest, […]
Source: Climate Crocks

The Present Threat to Coastal Cities From Antarctic and Greenland Melt

Seas around the world are rising now at a rate of about 3.3 milimeters per year. This rate of rise is faster than at any time in the last 2,800 years. It’s accelerating. And already the impacts are being felt in the world’s most vulnerable coastal regions.

(Rates of global sea level rise continue to quicken. This has resulted in worsening tidal flooding for coastal cities like Miami, Charleston, New Orleans and Virginia Beach. Image source: Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise, and Superstorms.)

Sea Level Rise and Worsening Extreme Rainfall are Already Causing Serious Problems

Last week, New Orleans saw pumps fail as a heavy thunderstorm inundated the city. This caused both serious concern and consternation among residents. Begging the question — if New Orleans pumps can’t handle the nascient variety of more powerful thunderstorms in the age of human-caused climate change, then what happens when a hurricane barrels in? The pumps, designed to handle 1.5 inch per hour rainfall amounts in the first hour and 1 inch per hour rainfall amounts thereafter were greatly over-matched when sections of the city received more than 2 inches of rainfall per hour over multiple hours.

Higher rates of precipitation from thunderstorms are becoming a more common event the world over as the hydrological cycle is amped up by the more than 1 degree Celsius of temperature increase that has already occurred since 1880. And when these heavy rainfall amounts hit coastal cities that are already facing rising seas, then pumps and drainage systems can be stressed well beyond their original design limits. The result, inevitably, is more flooding.

(Dr Eric Rignot, one of the world’s foremost glacial scientists, discusses the potential for multimeter sea level rise due to presently projected levels of warming in the range of 1.5 to 2 C by mid to late Century.)

New Orleans itself is already below sea level. And the land there is steadily subsiding into the Gulf of Mexico. Add sea level rise and worsening storms on top of that trend and the crisis New Orleans faces is greatly amplified.

All up and down the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, climate change driven sea level rise and a weakening Gulf Stream are combining with other natural factors that can seriously amplify an ever-worsening trend toward more tidal flooding. It’s a situation that will continue to worsen as global rates of sea level rise keep ramping higher. And how fast seas rise will depend both on the amount of carbon that human beings ultimately dump into the Earth’s atmosphere and on how rapidly various glacial systems around the world respond to that insult (see discussion by Dr. Eric Rignot above).

Presently High and Rising Atmospheric Carbon Levels Imply Ultimately Catastrophic Sea Level Rise — How Soon? How Fast? Can We Mitigate Swiftly Enough to Prevent the Worst?

Presently, atmospheric carbon forcing is in the range of 490 parts per million CO2 equivalent. This heat forcing, using paleoclimate proxies from 5 to 30 million years ago, implies approximately 2 degrees Celsius of warming this Century and about 4 degrees Celsisus of warming long term. It also implies an ultimate sea level rise of between 60 and 180 feet over the long term. In other words, if atmospheric carbon levels are similar to those seen during the Miocene, then temperatures are also ultimately headed for those ranges. Soon to be followed by a similar range of sea level rise. In the nearer term, 1.5 to 2 C warming from the 2030s to late Century is enough to result in 20 to 30 feet of sea level rise.

Of course, various climate change mitigation actions could ultimately reduce that larger heat forcing and final related loss of glacial ice. But with carbon still accumulating in the atmosphere and with Trump and other politicians around the world seeking to slow or sabotage a transition away from fossil fuels, then it goes to follow that enacting such an aggressive mitigation will be very difficult to manage without an overwhelming resistance to such harmful policy stances.

(Antarctic ice loss through 2016. Video source: NASA.)

That said, warming and related sea level rise will tend to take some time to elapse. And the real question on many scientists’ minds is — how fast? Presently, we do see serious signs of glacial destabilization in both Greenland and West Antartica. These two very large piles of ice alone could contribute 34 feet of sea level rise if both were to melt entirely.

Meanwhile, East Antarctica has also recently shown some signs of movement toward glacial destabilization. Especially in the region of the Totten Glacier and the Cook Ice Shelf. But rates of progress toward glacial destabilization in these zones has, thus far, been slower than that seen in Greenland and West Antarctica. Present mass loss hot spots are in the area of the Thwaites Glacier of West Antarctica and around the western and southern margins of Greenland.

(Greenland ice loss through 2016. Video source: NASA.)

With global temperatures now exceeding 1 C and with these temperatures likely to exceed 1.5 C within the next two decades, it is certain that broader heat-based stresses to these various glacial systems will increase. And we are likely to see coincident melt rate acceleration as more glaciers become less stable. The result is that coastal flooding conditions will tend to follow a worsening trend — with the most vulnerable regions like the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts feeling the impact first. Unfortunately, there is risk that this trend will include the sudden acceleration of various glaciers into the ocean, which will coincide with rapid increases in global rates of sea level rise. In other words, the trend for sea level rise is less likely to be smooth and more likely to include a number of melt pulse spikes.

Such an overall trend including outlier risks paints a relatively rough picture for coastal city planners in the 1-3 decade timeframe. But on the multi-decade horizon there is a rising risk that sudden glacial destabilization — first in Greenland and West Antarctica and later in East Antarctica will put an increasing number of coastal cities permanently under water.

Rapid Mitigation Required to Reduce Risks

The only way to lower this risk is to rapidly reduce to zero the amount of carbon hitting the atmosphere from human sources while ultimately learning how to pull carbon out of the atmosphere. The present most rapid pathway for carbon emissions reductions involves an urgent build-out of renewable and non-carbon based energy systems to replace all fossil fuels with a focus on wind, solar, and electrical vehicle economies of scale and production chains. Added to various drives for sustainable cities and increasing efficiency, such a push could achieve an 80 percent or greater reduction in carbon emissions on the 2-3 decade timescale with net negative carbon emissions by mid Century. For cities on the coast, choosing whether or not to support such a set of actions is ultimately an existential one.

Links:

Fragmenting Prospects For Avoiding 2 C Warming

NASA Antarctic Ice Loss

Scientists Just Uncovered Another Troubling Fact About Antarctica’s Melting Ice

It Wasn’t Even a Hurricane, But Heavy Rains Flooded New Orleans as Pumps Faltered

Why Seas are Rising Faster in Miami

Miocene Relative Sea Level

Temperature on Planet Earth

Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise, and Superstorms


Source: Robert Scribbler

NPR on Greenland Wildfires

All Things Considered: More than two weeks after they were first spotted, wildfires on the western coast of Greenland are still burning, worrying local residents and drawing the attention of scientists. The fires are roughly 90 miles northeast of the second-largest Greenlandic town, Sisimiut, as we previously reported. There are currently three growing hot spots, […]
Source: Climate Crocks

Can Modular Nuclear Make Sense?

Can nuclear be part of a no-carbon future? The answer is yes, if only because China has decided that it will. Meanwhile, still a lot of concept-proofing to do before we can expect utilities to buy in to “new” nuclear. Here’s an example. Forbes: NuScale Power is a company with a mission – to build […]
Source: Climate Crocks