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Rockefeller Fund Built on Oil to Abandon Fossil Fuels
From: Bloomberg  Posted: September 22nd 2014

"The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, built with profits from their great-grandfather’s Standard Oil Co., is selling investments in the fossil fuel industry in a move to pressure companies that are adding to climate change."

"The fund, today joined a group of institutions and individuals announcing they will end abandon companies reliant on coal and tar sands. Total divested funds reached $50 billion this week, and advocates today pledged to triple the total by next December."

"“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he [John D. Rockefeller] would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Stephen Heintz, the president of the Fund, said in a statement."

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Climate Summit Guilty of a Major Sin of Omission
From: The Guardian  Posted: September 22nd 2014

"The Global Ocean Commission is dismayed that the ocean appears to have been relegated to the status of an afterthought, something to bring up occasionally in the context of other, apparently more essential, concerns"

"Science is showing us that there can be no solution to the climate challenge without a healthy ocean, which is currently in sharp decline. The ocean absorbs a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions, and has taken on 90% of the extra heat generated since the industrial revolution."

"By omitting the ocean, the summit is sending a very negative message. As an event billed as an opportunity to catalyse commitments to action in the areas most important for keeping global temperature increase below 2C. Yet the message is painfully clear: despite the science, for some at least the ocean is not a top priority for climate action."

25,000 Cell Battery Power Plant Switched On
From: Clean Technica   Posted: September 19th 2014

"A huge battery plant with 25,600 lithium-manganese cells was switched on in Germany recently. Samsung made the cells. It is the largest commercial battery plant in Europe. The purpose for the plant is to fill in gaps in electricity production that occur sometimes. The area where it is located gets 80% of its electricity from wind turbines. It is expected that soon 100% of the area’s electricity will be generated by wind power."

"Up to now the power grid has been largely stabilized by inflexible coal-fired power plants, which can only use a fraction of their output for control power. This blocks space in the grid, increasingly forcing wind and solar generation to be taken offline."

"It will be fascinating to see how much battery power production might ramp up in the next five to ten years. Battery storage might become fairly common, both for utilities and homeowners."


How Fossil Fuels make Inequality Worse
From: Climate Progress  Posted: September 17th 2014

"There’s a whole line of thinking, popular with the fossil fuel industry and its allies in politics and business, that though climate change is real, the costs of addressing it are too high, especially for the world’s poor."

"Entrepreneurs are turning to distributed sources of clean energy to spread electricity in poor countries, overwhelmingly out of the desire to power the poor — not to solve climate change."

"'Ownership of valuable deposits of fossil fuels is also concentrated among the wealthy,' said Robert Pollin, of the University of Massachusetts’ Political Economy Research Institute. 'Very few people own these massive assets, meaning oil, natural gas, and coal.' he told ThinkProgress. 'They’re owned by very wealthy people and they get the profit.'"


Direct Link Between Earthquakes, Oil and Gas Drilling Process
From: Climate Progress  Posted: September 16th 2014

"A team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have found evidence 'directly linking' the uptick in Colorado and New Mexico earthquakes since 2001 to wastewater injection, a process widely used in the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and conventional drilling."

"The USGS scientists monitored the .... Raton Basin, which goes from southern Colorado into New Mexico. They pointed out that the Basin had been 'seismically quiet' until 1999, when companies began 'major fluid injection' deep into the ground."

"Earthquakes began in 2001 when Colorado wastewater injection rates were under 600,000 barrels per month, and and since then there have been 16 earthquakes that could be considered large (above a magnitude of 3.8, including two over a 5.0 magnitude), compared with only one — a 4.0 magnitude quake — in the 30 years prior."

Why is nobody listening?
From: CEH  Posted: September 15th 2014

Recently the Bench Marks Foundation identified 'the devastating impact of coal mining on previously arable land; the impact of air, water and soil pollution on farming activities and human health; mining companies’ poor compliance with legal and regulatory requirements for environmental protection; the almost total lack of compliance monitoring and enforcement by the Department of Mineral Resources; and the “extremely cavalier attitude [of the South African mining industry] towards the closure of mines and the rehabilitation of the environment'"

"There are ways to regulate coal mining to prevent it from causing such extensive, widespread and irreversible damage to our fresh water resources, most precious arable land and critical biodiversity areas. At the moment, the kind of coordinated government action that is needed to achieve this is completely absent."

The article goes on to assert that coal mining is a necessary evil for the time being, presumably in the belief that renewables are not yet market ready for widespread deployment. Why then are they currently providing 22% of global electricity and growing at a furious rate? .....[Ian]

Fracking May Be Worse Than Burning Coal
From: Bill McKibben  Posted: September 8th 2014

"Over time, academic research has done what its supposed to do, providing an ever-narrower range of numbers. In April, Howarth published a review of all the data sets so far, and they showed that his original numbers were pretty likely correct: up to 5 percent of the methane probably leaks out before the gas is finally burned."

"In the official Obama story (one being echoed in Hillary Clinton’s climate talking points), natural gas is a “bridge” to a world of solar and wind power, which isn’t quite ready yet. But in fact, in just the same years that we’ve learned to frack we’ve also learned an awful lot about how to scale up wind and sun. And that means that far from being a bridge, the big investments in natural gas may actually be a breakwater that keeps this new wave of truly clean energy from washing onto our shores."

"Once you’ve built the pipelines and gas-fired power plants, the sunk investment makes it that much harder to switch: suddenly you have a bunch of gas barons who will fight as hard as the coal barons Obama is now trying to subdue."

San Diego Installs Solar-to-EV Chargers
From: Smartmeters.com  Posted: August 30th 2014

"San Diego is cementing its reputation as the electric vehicle (EV) capital of the United States with the highest levels of EV drivers per capita. The city’s latest innovation is installing five solar-to-EV charging stations at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park."

"In addition to charging EVs the solar facilities store solar power for future use and provide renewable energy to the nearby community. At peak production, the Solar-to-EV project produces enough energy to power 59 homes."

"The popularity of the Solar-to-EV charging stations at the Zoo has proven San Diego’s leadership in the EV market and supports a greater mission of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating the clean transportation economy."

South Africa is missing out on EVs. Both Johannesburg and Cape Town have better solar insolation than San Diego.... [Ian]

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Green technologies now produce 22% of world's electricity
From: The Guardian   Posted: August 28th 2014

"Wind, solar and other renewable power capacity grew at its strongest ever pace last year and now produces 22% of the world's electricity, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday in a new report."

"More than $250bn (R2.7trillion) was invested in 'green' generating systems in 2013, although the speed of growth is expected to slacken, partly because politicians are becoming nervous about the cost of subsidies."

"The current growth rate for installing new windfarms and solar arrays is impressive but the IEA believes it is not enough to meet climate change targets."


Fracking Link to Birth Defects
From: Bloomberg  Posted: August 26th 2014

"The first research into the effects of oil and gas development on babies born near wells has found potential health risks, though researchers themselves say more studies are needed before drawing conclusions."

"While the findings are still preliminary, any documented hazards threaten to cast a shadow over fracking "

"Lisa McKenzie, of the Colorado School of Public Health, and her colleagues discovered more congenital heart defects in babies born to mothers living near gas wells in Colorado.This follows studies that suggest infants born near fracking sites in Pennsylvania were more likely to have low birth weight, a sign of developmental problems, and in Utah, local authorities are investigating a spate of stillbirths after tests found dangerous levels of air pollution from the oil and gas industry."

IPCC: Global warming human-caused, dangerous
From: abc NEWS  Posted: August 26th 2014

"Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous - and it's increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says."

"The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the Nobel Prize-winning group."

"There is little in the report that wasn't in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas."


570 Methane Seeps Discovered Offshore of US East Coast
From: BBC News  Posted: August 24th 2014

"Researchers say they have found more than 500 bubbling methane vents on the seafloor off the US east coast. The unexpected discovery indicates there are large volumes of the gas contained in a type of sludgy ice called methane hydrate."

"Previous surveys along the Atlantic seaboard have shown only three seep areas beyond the edge of the US continental shelf."

The seeps could well have been leaking methane for decades or centuries and most does not reach the surface. But oxidation of methane produces CO2, which further reduces the ocean's ability to absorb the main cause of climate change and increases ocean acidity...........[Ian].

SA approves treaty for $100bn hydropower project
From: MoneyWeb  Posted: August 21st 2014

"Cabinet approved a treaty signed with the Democratic Republic of Congo to begin development of a hydropower project that will eventually cost about $100 billion (R1.07 trillion) and generate 40GW of electricity."

"The Grand Inga complex will be built in six phases before reaching full capacity, according to Congo’s Energy Ministry. The treaty provides for the power to be shared among nations in the region."

"I’m not so sure about the timelines, but it’s a matter of great urgency, Jeff Radebe said. There are discussions between the two countries on the funding. It will involve lots and lots of money."

Sakti3 Claims Battery Breakthrough
From: Scientific American  Posted: August 20th 2014

"Two of the most sacred numbers in the electric-vehicle industry are 300 miles (500km) and $100 (R1070). The first is generally considered to be the distance electric cars need to travel on a single charge, the second the cost per KWh of the batteries if EVs are to become to replace ICE driven cars on a mass scale."

"Sakti3’s technology is a solid-state battery produced with the same thin-film deposition process used to make flat panel displays and photovoltaic solar cells. The cell contains no liquid electrolyte; an interlayer acts as both the separator, which keeps the positive and negative electrodes from coming into contact, and the electrolyte, allowing desirable ion transfers to take place."

"Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of Sakti3, says it will commercialize its technology in a couple of years, and the first application will be consumer electronics. If all goes according to plan, electric-vehicle batteries will follow. And if Sakti3 delivers what it says it has, it could be the kind of battery to give us the 300-mile, $25,000 electric car."



The State of the Climate Debate
From: Ian Perrin  Posted: June 13th 2014

"Kevin Anderson's blog of 5th June examines the US commitment to cut its emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and concludes that: The maths accompanying obligations to avoid 'dangerous climate change' demand fundamental change rather than rousing rhetoric and incremental action."

" View a 7 minute video clip of Michael Mann explaining the IPCC's conservatism and note that even the IPCC tells us that South Africa can expect temperature increases of 3 to 5C, without emissions reduction and that in turn implies consequences for food production."

"Ezra Klein, until recently a highly regarded political commentator with the Washington Post, wrote a piece entitled '7 Reasons America will fail on climate change' and Joe Romm of Climate Progress responded. Here we look at each of his 'Reasons' in turn and Joe Romm's response to each. "


Obama: ‘If Congress Won’t Act Soon To Protect Future Generations, I Will’
From: Joe Romm  Posted: February 13th 2013

"For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods – all are now more frequent and more intense."

"We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late."

"I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."


TEDX study reveals more detail about the dangers of gas drilling
From Ian Perrin  Posted: 14th November 2012

"The study shows that air sampling near natural gas operations reveals numerous chemicals in the air, many associated with natural gas operations. Some of the highest concentrations in the study were from methane, ethane, propane, and other alkanes that occur as a result of natural gas operations"

"Although concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in this study appear low, they may have clinical significance."

We thank them sincerely on behalf of all South Africans for the effort they are making to understand the effects of drilling and fracking for natural gas that will result in better protection for our workers and communities alike. [Ian]

Greenhouse Gas Theory explained
From Ian Perrin  Posted: 24th October 2012

You might have gained the impression climate change caused by rising amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere is a contentious theory added only recently to our scientific understanding.

Not so – we can trace the basis for it all the way back to Isaac Newton's work in the early 1670's and the first, generally accepted theory around 1859, more than 150 years ago."

Here's our plain English version of the history of its development and some detail on the scientists involved.

We Must Heed James Hansen
From: Joe Romm & Michael Mann  Posted: 9th August 2012

"During the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that 'it is time to stop waffling…. The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here.'" Much criticism followed.

"Hansen, it turns out, was right, and the critics were wrong. Rather than being reckless, as some of his critics charged, his announcement to the world proved to be prescient – and his critics were proven overly cautious."

"Given the prescience of Hansen’s science, we would be unwise to ignore his latest, more dire warning."

"The time for debate about the reality of human-caused climate change has now passed. We can have a good faith debate about how to deal with the problem – how to reduce future climate change and adapt to what is already upon us to reduce the risks that climate change poses to society. But we can no longer simply bury our heads in the sand."

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