Enviro News Wrap: How Solar Survives a Changing Market; Koch and the Tar Sands; Sea Level Rise; Military Prepares for Global Warming, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- Sea level rise may not be as immediately bad as some models suggest (but it will still be bad): a new study projects that sea level will not rise by 2 meters in the next 40 years, but it will most likely rise 2 meters by 2100.
- Oil prices are falling, but I still paid $4.25 for a gallon of gas last weekend and the weekend before that. That's what we call sticky prices, or what I call elevated prices for no reason, which is what I call stealing.
- There is this little known thing call Net Energy Metering(NEM). It is a law that allows a certain amount of citizens in a state to have energy generation at their home and sell energy back on to the grid to the Utility (like PG&E) at retail rates ($0.08/-$0.60/kWh) instead of at commercial rates ($0.02-$0.05/kWh) or not at all. This is what makes small solar and wind projects financially viable. In California the NEM law restricts the number of people that can have NEM with a 5% rule (5% of generation). California is approaching that 5% but a rule is going through the process for approval at the CPUC to double the amount of people that can have NEM in California. Utilities are fighting like mad to kill the new rule, because then PG&E, SCE, SDG&E and LADWP can finally kill residential solar in California once and for all.
- Researchers are discovering that people's political views change with such subtle things as voting in a church or school. This means that the facts are not just the facts, it is more important to hypnotize the voters than advocate for sound policies. We must use this to our advantage, I think the other side already knows about this.
- Global Dimming: certain types of pollution decrease the atmospheric temperature by creating clouds and reflecting sunlight before it can warm Earth's atmosphere. If we decreased these harmful pollutants at a greater rate than greenhouse gasses then global warming would be exacerbated.
- With our natural environment declining in richness we are also losing our identities, with what are we replacing our connection to our natural environment?
- At least one US solar panel manufacturer has found a way to survive. And a solar install company is doing well enough to go IPO after only 6 years.
- We need a healthy financial system to address our environmental ills, and big banks losing lots of money all the time and restricting the credit market is not the path to sustainability. JPMorgan has illustrated recently why we need strong oversight of our banks so that they work in our favor. If corporations are people, then they should be diagnosed with violent-anti-social-behavioral-disorder.
- NASA scientist James Hansen is now willing to attribute specific weather events to global warming. The current drought in Texas is one such example. Extreme weather events have increased 10 fold between 2003 and 2008. If Hansen's claim stands this will be the first time that a specific severe weather event will be linked to global warming.
- The US Military is increasing its adoption of renewable energy as fast as it can; the military does not have the money to handle permanently elevated oil prices, mass population migrations, increased severe weather events and wars over resources and land.
- People all around the world are realizing that they are not prepared for climate change, one way to think about it is that all your struggles with nature will get much worse and the cost will be noticeable. And if you live off the land it is easy for one harsh storm or season to wipe away your way of life.
- The startlingly tasteless and ill-advised ad campaign by Heartland Institute comparing people concerned about global warming to terrorists and mass murderers is still experiencing backlash with more donors ending their relationships with the institute.
- The Koch brothers have apparently they have been behind Canadian Tar Sands since the beginning.