Thursday, May 10, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 5-10-07

  • I keep forgetting to link to the great overviews and analyses of the last IPCC report done by Joseph Romm at Climate Progress and to the great takedown of shoddy correlation analysis (did you know ice cream consumption and commitment to mental institutions are correlated?!) at RealClimate. I should do something about that sometime.
  • Another thing I haven't paid enough attention to--the growing rebel movement in Nigeria, which just might take its oil fields offline. Might move us to alternatives faster, but the short-term wouldn't likely be fun.
  • CA's got so many problems right now, but when the folks there hear about the likelihood of the icepack in the Sierra Nevadas (the one that provides drinking water?) melting away before the century is over, they might get downright upset.
  • Hate to keep whacking on China . . . oh, okay, no, I don't . . . but some folks there are actually cluing into the weather disasters staring at them right now, not at the end of the century. That country is a giant mess and nothing is slowing them or keeping the maniacs running the nation from putting more coal on their fire . . . literally.
  • More on the national security threats posed to the US by global warming, despite the Tinker Bell clapping from the wingnuts, here.
  • The EU is our best national actor right now, but some of the worst coal-fired plants are in Greece, Germany, Poland, and Spain, according to the WWF (not World Wrestling Federation) International.
  • OTOH, Denmark seems bent on putting all the rest of us to shame. Not only has it built the world's largest offshore wind park in the North Sea, it intends to get 75% of its electricity from it by 2025. (Of course, having the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer in your country might have a little to do with it.) And some little Danish island has managed to get itself completely powered solely by renewable energies. I hate show-offs.
  • A new analysis finds that "Enhanced government support, power deficits, and advanced customer requirements are encouraging greater developments in the small fuel cells market. Recent inclement weather and government laws mandating the installation of environment-friendly systems are bolstering sales of small fuel cells." The market is expected to hit $1.7b. by 2013, just in case you're looking for investment opportunities.
  • Along the same line, a guy at Carnegie-Mellon may be finding new materials that will make hydrogen more stable and cost-efficient than the stuff we're using now, allowing better storage and use in vehicles than the compressed gas tanks that have sort of inhibited development. Let's just make sure they stop explosions.
  • You might not think warming waters shooing away walleye in lakes is that big a deal, but to the tourist and recreation industries in northern MN and WI, it is. That's why this story is also a big deal.
  • You might also think, particularly from reading this blog, that the big disputes in our states over water use are BETWEEN states, but this story from NV shows you that there will likely be just as contentious fights WITHIN states.
  • I've been trying to ignore this idiot bill in the US Senate raising mpg requirements on US cars by 10 mpg . . . in 13 years!!! Plus, they don’t have to start until 2011!! And the Christian Science Monitor sees nothing wrong with headlining the story “Fuel Economy Back on US Agenda.” Do you really need any more explanation why things are sliding so far so fast?
  • Finally, better get that trip back East done pretty soon. NASA is predicting that summer temps that way may be as much as 10 degrees higher in 2080 than at present. 100-110 degrees in DC, Chicago, and Atlanta. Good lord. I used to walk the mile from the Metro to my house in MD and have to wring out my shirt first thing after getting through the door in the summer. If this happens, I'd have to wring out my undies. And, since nobody wants that, let's get moving, people.