Saturday, April 4, 2009

****Warring over warming

The political war over global warming legislation is getting louder on Capitol Hill.

Germany: The World's First Major Renewable Energy Economy

Germany is accelerating its efforts to become the world's first industrial power to use 100 percent renewable energy -- and given current momentum, it could reach that green goal by 2050.

World coal-fired power plants capacity to grow by 35% in next 10 years

World coal-fired power plant capacity will grow from 1,759,000 MW in 2010 to 2,384,000 MW in 2020. Some 80,000 MW will be replaced.

Time: Arctic Ice Melting Faster Than Expected

Arctic sea ice is melting so fast most of it could be gone in 30 years, according to a new report.,8599,1889370,00.html

New fuel economy standards sued as too weak

Some environmental groups have said the new standards are a small step in the right direction, but the Center for Biological Diversity said Thursday they're actually weaker than the requirements that the Bush administration proposed last year for 2011 vehicles.

Cap-and-trade advocates press on after budget battle

Don't bury cap-and-trade legislation just yet. That was the message from several moderate Senate Democrats yesterday who a day earlier had joined with Republicans in a 67-31 Senate vote against fast-tracking a climate change bill so that it did not have to face a filibuster.

Your final battle, your final chance for Earth: Gates Planning Major Changes In Programs, Defense Budget

take large whacks at others, including some with powerful constituencies on Capitol Hill and among influential contractors, making his announcement more of an opening bid than a decisive end to weeks of sometimes acrimonious internal Pentagon debate.

****Congress' message: We can't do it all at once.

The $3.5-trillion plan approved this week is close to the president's, but it shows that lawmakers are wary of trying to do too much at once on healthcare, energy, education and the economy.,0,346219.story

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sierra snow pack 81 percent of normal, water restrictions still expected

There appears to be plenty of snow in the Sierra Nevada, but California water officials said Thursday it falls short of the amount needed to replenish the state's reservoirs.

New Rise in Rates for Water Is Expected nyc

Drastic water cuts expected for the Bay Area

Get ready for singed lawns, dusty cars and pricier produce.

Countries Face Off at United Nations Conference on Population Control and Abortion

fault lines have appeared between states that see people as a resource to be promoted, and those that see people as a burden to be controlled.

NNNOOOO!!! Pelosi vows global warming bill by 2010`

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has set her sights on passing a global warming bill by the end of the year, pushing past strong misgivings from moderate Democrats in the House and Senate.

Technology Is the Answer to Climate Change

Wall Street sees 'bucks to be made' in House climate plan

In the midst of a worldwide economic crisis, city officials and Wall Street executives are talking about turning the battered U.S. financial center into a global hub of green finance and environmental commodities trading.

The Feasibility of Using Desalination to Supplement Drinking Water Supplies in Eastern Virginia

The Feasibility of Using Desalination to Supplement Drinking Water Supplies in Eastern Virginia

Fixing Our Water Crisis Can't Be Done by the Corporations that Are Exacerbating It

If we learned anything from the World Water Forum it should be that the privatization model has failed and a grassroots movement is needed.  http://

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Slowing down on posting for a while. Double Shifts at the White House

Troy, who with Connie and me have been maintaining the Vigil is away for several weeks.   Hence my computer time is cut to nil.  I'm sure I'll sneak some time in, but not much.

Startling new evidence about Three Mile Island disaster raises doubts over nuclear plant safety

Thirty years ago this week, Randall and Joy Thompson were hired to monitor radiation releases after the Three Mile Island reactor meltdown. What they saw didn't match what officials say happened -- but, fearing for their lives, they gave up trying to tell their story.

***** Report Praises Renewable Energy Over Nuclear

A report released Tuesday by Maryland PIRG, a consumer advocacy and environmental group, says that renewable energy sources can make more electricity for less money than nuclear power plants.

Europe readies for effects of climate change

The types of impact the researchers observed include more frequent hot- and cold-weather spikes, heightened intensity and variability in precipitation extremes, the swift melting of European glaciers and sea ice, significant changes in river systems and distribution across Northern and Southern Europe, and rising sea levels.

Global Warming Accelerates

As sea levels rise faster than expected, political and social catastrophes loom.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Green new deal could ease triple crunch in finance, environment and resources

The UK economy faces a triple crunch: a recession triggered by a major credit crisis, the looming reality of runaway climate change and critical resource depletion. As a result we face serious challenges to our livelihoods and increasing threats to our fuel and food security.

Andrew Simms: the environment could bail out the economy

in 17th-century Britain there were around 90,000 windmills. Now there were plans to build perhaps 4,000 bringing the total to 5,000.

Hurdles Remain for Nuclear Comeback in Europe

The much-touted European "nuclear renaissance," a key element in the European Union's climate-change policy, still needs to overcome formidable obstacles to become a reality -- most notably in Germany.

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Start Loving

Scientists take another stab at nuclear fusion

After more than a decade of work and an investment of $3.5 billion, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say they have created a super laser that will enable them to build a miniature sun within the lab in the next two years.

Northeast compact inspired climate change bill

A groundbreaking climate change bill unveiled yesterday by leading House Democrats takes some inspiration from a pact among 10 Northeastern states that was the first in the United States to place a mandatory cap on carbon emissions and begin trading pollution allowances.

Syria Goes Green

While environmental issues have traditionally received little attention in the Middle East compared with the coverage they get in the United States and western Europe, this could now be changing.

Airlines May Use Biofuels on Commercial Flights Within 5 Years

Airlines may win approval to start using biofuels for their flights as early as 2010 and find commercially viable solutions within five years as they seek to cut carbon emissions and trim dependence on petroleum-based fuel, the International Air Transport Association said.

Rivers in Wales could run dry by 2050 thanks to global warming

The Environment Agency has warned that river levels could drop up to 80% by 2050 because of climate change. And the agency has warned that Wales could be worse affected because of the country's geology.

House fast-tracks major changes on energy and climate

But how much will they cost Americans, particularly during a recession?

House Democrats release draft energy, climate bill

Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today unveiled a 648-page draft global warming and energy bill (pdf) that is being praised by environmental groups but presents significant political challenges.

Ocean-Power-Meets-Bike-Chain Company Gets $14M

Electric Power Research Institute has estimated wave and tidal power could provide up to 10 gigawatts of power by 2025.

Nuclear plants aren't as benign as described

The energy needs of Oswego County are poorly served by the construction of yet another dangerous and expensive nuclear plant. The community would benefit far more from the creation of green jobs that would deliver needed energy efficiently, safely and more cheaply than nuclear power.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Obama signs wide-ranging conservation law

President Barack Obama signed legislation on Monday expanding and protecting US public parks and wilderness areas from oil and gas development, billed as the largest US conservation measure in more than 15 years.

Democrats Unveil Climate Bill

The debate on global warming and energy policy accelerated on Tuesday as two senior House Democrats unveiled a far-reaching bill to cap heat-trapping gases and quicken the country's move away from dependence on coal and oil.

Oil & Gas Drilling Labeled Major Threat to Eastern Forests

Experts within the U.S. Forests Service call oil and gas development "a major threat to our forest lands" due to an array of poorly understood impacts on water and wildlife, according to agency workshop papers released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Proton Will Make Electric Vehicles For Dutch Firm

Proton's managing director, said after the signing that the estimated income from the deal is conservative and based on the 40,000 cars it is expected to produce for Detroit Electric. He declined to disclose the margins Proton expects from the deal.

Solar power drops to $1 per watt, nears parity with oil.

Why isn't the major media trumpeting the astonishing news that the price of solar power has dropped close that of oil? We can now finally wean ourselves of dependence on foreign oil.

BBC: Green economy 'could create jobs'

Up to 15,000 jobs could be created each year in London by 2025 as a result of Boris Johnson's plans to cut energy and tackle climate change, says a report.

United Kingdom: Government slammed over paltry Green New Deal

The government was today accused of failing to deliver on its promise of a Green New Deal after new research suggested that just 0.6 per cent of the country's economic stimulus package will be focused on new green measures.

Wana bankrupt warmaking???? ACT TODAY (Tues): Congress votes on global warming budget this week!

ACT NOW: Congress votes on global warming budget this week!
  Dear Start,

Thanks to your efforts this week, both the House and Senate Budget Committees managed to fight back a serious lobbying push to strip global warming from the President's budget. This was a major hurdle, but the fight is far from over! The budget will head to the floor for a vote this week, and we have to act now.

This is such a critical vote, because without budget funding, we won't likely see global warming legislation pass this year. We can't procrastinate about global warming any longer. We MUST take bold action THIS YEAR.

We don't have much time - Congress will be voting any day now on the President's budget, including action on global warming - we have to act NOW.

Call Congress right now and tell your Representative to pass a budget that includes limits on global warming pollution. Making a call is easy, fast, and extremely effective. Simply follow the steps below:

1) Call (202) 224-3121

2) Ask the operator to put you through to your Representative's office. If you don't know who your Representative is, then give the operator your zip code and they will let you know and put you through.

3) Someone will either answer the phone or you will be able to leave a message. Here's what you can say:

"I urge the Representative to support the President's budget, including action to cap global warming pollution."

4) Let us know that you made the call by clicking the button below.

I made the call

Greenpeace activists just like you have already sent more than 34,500 letters to Congress urging them to keep action on global warming pollution in the budget. With the vote coming up any day now, we need you to go a step further and call now. Please make your voice heard today.

For our future,

Samantha Rodgers
Greenpeace Field Organizing Director

The ethanol industry is taking a beating from the bad economy

Ethanol producers want the Environmental Protection Agency to raise from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of ethanol blended with gasoline, saying it would increase demand for their fuel by 6 billion gallons annually.

Monday, March 30, 2009

***** NASA's Hansen: Coal is killing America (at RISK to his career)

A year ago, I wrote to (British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Britain. I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd and other leaders. The reason is this - coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet

USA Today: Nuclear power inches back into energy spotlight

Utilities are poised to build a new generation of nuclear plants 30 years after the Three Mile Island accident, whose anniversary was Saturday, halted new reactor applications. The momentum is being driven by growing public acceptance of relatively clean nuclear energy to combat global warming.

Beginning the March to Copenhagen: Climate Negotiations Getting Serious

But if last year was the "dry run", this year will be need to be the real thing.

*****Consensus Could Be a Conundrum for Climate-Change Bill

When Henry A. Waxman tries to get a global warming bill out of his House Energy and Commerce Committee this spring, much will depend on the views of moderate and conservative Democrats whose votes could be critical in moving the legislation forward.

Moment of Truth Arrives for Action on Climate Change

On Capitol Hill, some are saying legislation on the economy must come first, or health care or education — suggesting that Congress does not have the time or bandwidth to deal with climate and energy this year, too.

Obama praised for climate change policy

Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursik, whose country holds the European Union's rotating presidency, said Europe "has gained a strong partner" in fighting global warming.

****Winds of Change Evident in U.S. Environmental Policy

After years of chafing under political appointees who viewed stricter environmental regulation with skepticism, long-serving federal officials are seeing work that had been gathering dust for years translate quickly into action.

Westport pilot has witnessed effects of Arctic melting

Most of us know the ice caps are melting, but Leo C. Brooks, a senior captain for Continental Airlines, has witnessed the evidence firsthand on his flights over the North Pole and Greenland.

Irish renewable energy firm makes $1 billion investment in Chile

Leading Irish renewable energy firm Mainstream Renewable Power has backed Chile's suitability for wind energy by ploughing $1 billion over the next five years to build wind farms in the country, the company has said in a statement.

How to go carbon negative

By combining technology for CO2 capture and storage (CCS) with the use of biomass, future energy production can remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Animations of soil erosion.

'We're the first generation that has had the power to destroy the planet. Ignoring that risk can only be described as reckless'

'There are many half-baked attempts to naysay the science, but they always unravel on inspection'.

Greenpeace report, Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable U.S.A. Energy Outlook

details how the United States can cut greenhouse gas emissions to the levels we must reach in order to prevent the worst effects of global warming and simultaneously build a sustainable economy.

Design to Win: Philanthropy's Role in the Fight Against Global Warming

The report details clean energy strategies for China and India, and how to implement market-based solutions to preserve tropical forests in Africa, Asia and South America.

The facts are outstripping the worst-case scenarios. The costs of inaction or inadequate actions are unacceptable.

Such was the relief at the willingness of the US to act on climate change that its delegation was welcomed with applause by negotiators from other countries.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mining industry leaders express concern about mountaintop removal issue

U.S. Senator John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., pointed out that the EPA's letter to the Corps "was specific to only one permit application in Ethel," and that the nation has more than a 200-year history of mining West Virginia coal, "and that is not going to change any time soon," Rockefeller was quoted as stating in a press release.

Nuclear industry's new burst of energy

The impetus is climate change. Nuclear power is touted as the one major electricity source that's emission-free and reliable, able to generate massive amounts of power night and day, in wind and calm.

*** Leaders to meet in summer for special climate change talks

The new summit – which is being called on the initiative of President Barack Obama as part of a US drive to get a new international agreement on tackling global warming – is to take place alongside the annual G8 gathering of world leaders on the island of La Maddalena off Sardinia.

***Obama Sets International Climate Forum

But Obama officials believe the talks could help forge a basis for a broader U.N. climate agreement in December, when negotiators will meet in Copenhagen to develop a pact aimed at cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

NYT: Cost Works Against Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources in Time of Recession

Yet as Congress begins debating new rules to restrict carbon dioxide emissions and promote electricity produced from renewable sources, an underlying question is how much more Americans will be willing to pay to harness the wind and the sun.

***Nuclear-Power Industry Enjoys Revival 30 Years After Accident

NYT: Thirty years after the accident at Three Mile Island, the nuclear power industry is moving ahead with plans to build a string of new reactors in the U.S., though the revival faces many uncertainties.

***The coming nuclear renaissance

Yet far from being washed up, atomic power seems poised for a renaissance. Consider: According to a new Gallup poll, 59 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy - a new high - and 27 percent say they strongly favor it. The attitude is bipartisan, with majorities of both Republicans and Democrats supporting nuclear power.

World faces 'water bankruptcy'

In a first-ever pledge for American presidents, Barack Obama in his inaugural address included a promise to the world's poor nations -- "to work alongside you to ... let clean waters flow."

'Extreme Ice': Seeing is believing on glacial melting

Probably no bit of information presented at the Aspen Environment Forum was as sobering as the screening of the film "Extreme Ice" at the Wheeler Opera House Thursday night.

G20 protest: Thousands march for 'jobs, justice and climate'

Police estimate crowd numbers in London at 35,000, which would exceed organisers' hopes

***Obama team debuts at UN climate talks

BONN, Germany (AP) — President Barack Obama's climate change team made their international debut Sunday at a major U.N. conference — and delegates were eager to find out whether Obama could translate his aggressive domestic agenda into a worldwide deal to fight global warming.

***Cave ‘batteries’ will store wind power

Now two British companies are putting money into a technology that could overcome this problem. Electricity from wind farms will be used to compress air, which will be stored in caverns below ground.

Environmentalists hail Earth Hour as a big success

WWF called the event, which began in Australia in 2007 and grew last year to 400 cities worldwide, "the world's first-ever global vote about the future of our planet."

"Last night's message from the masses was loud and clear: Delay no more, real action now!" Kim Carstensen,