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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."


Why the Scientific Case Against Fracking Keeps Getting Stronger
From: Mother Jones  Posted: August 15th 2014

Prof. Anthony Ingraffea explains how two major problems, earthquake generation and the accidental emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, have been examined by science over recent years and in the case of the quantity of fugitive methane emissions tells us "I think the best estimate right now is somewhere around 5 percent"—an amount, he says, that would be more than big enough to doom the idea of natural gas as a bridge fuel to a clean energy future.

In 2013, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan stated that 'curbing emissions of methane is critical to our overall effort to address global climate change.'

On earthquakes, the article contains an interesting graphic on how they can be triggered, particularly if disposal wells are drilled close to a fault line.

The article contains a podcast with Prof. Ingraffea and begins to discuss fracking after 2 minutes of preamble.

Poisoned People
From: Greenpeace  Posted: August 14th 2014

"Every time my child goes to the hospital it’s because of the dust. The doctors say his chest is full of it. The doctors asked me where I lived and I told them. My other child also has problems with his nose because it is always running – the dust affects him too."

"After studying air quality in the Witbank area for almost two years, a team of scientists from the European Union came to an alarming conclusion. Looking at their data, they found that Witbank’s air was the world’s dirtiest – even when compared to the likes of Beijing."

"It’s no coincidence that Mpumalanga is also home to eleven of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations. A twelfth is currently being built and when completed, Kusile will be one of the world’s largest, burning 17 million tons of coal a year. It will also ramp up South Africa's carbon emissions by another 10% -- cementing our position as one of the world's highest contributors to climate change."

Please support Greenpeace and sign their petition by clicking on the image or 'READ MORE' and the link at the foot of their main article .... [Ian]"


Extreme weather becoming more common
From: Clean Technica   Posted: August 14th 2014

"Investing In Africa climate adaptation also aids development, according to a new UNEP study."

"African growth and development are being strangled by climate change, which poses major challenges to already fragile situations at the household, national and regional levels. Keeping Track is the first concise handbook of practical examples of successful low-cost adaptations from sub-Saharan Africa. It captures current and predicted impacts of Africa climate change on livelihoods, agriculture, and human and ecosystem health there. It also serves as a practical action guide."

One finding - "After decades of development progress, Africa faces population doubling to 2 billion and a 20-50% decline in water availability by 2050."provides an example of the coming challenges.


James Cameron's 'Dangerous' Message
From: Fortune  Posted: August 10th 2014

"This is the biggest problem our civilization is facing, and they just felt that they needed to quit their day job and go do this. I respect that kind of passion."

"They were able to attract the likes of Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Harrison Ford, Jessica Alba, Michael C. Hall, Ian Somerhalder, Olivia Munn and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also signed on as an executive producer."

"We’re especially interested in converts — people who believed because of a lifetime of political and social perspective that they grew up with, and then all of a sudden they’re thinking for themselves. They’re confronted with the facts and the consequences and they become converts. Those are the people that we want because we need a lot more converts."


UK Fossil Fuel Muddle
From: The Guardian/Ian Perrin  Posted: August 1st 2014

The UK's new Energy Minister, Matthew Hancock, has announced the bidding for new onshore oil and gas licences and emphasised that these will not be allowed to spoil Britain's finest landscapes.

If we are to avoid climatic chaos, it is carbon that can never be burned. Why is the UK looking for more, when we know we must not burn most of what we already know is there? Some argue that fracked gas can form a bridge out of dirtier fossil fuels to a cleaner energy system.

But that means re-engineering its energy infrastructure twice in 30 years or less, maybe much less. That's not going to happen. The UK is seeking to tinker with symptoms rather than dealing with the cause of the problem - fossil fuels.


New Battery Boasts 7 Times More Energy Density
From: Gas 2  Posted: July 29th 2014

"A research team at the University of Tokyo School of Engineering has announced a new lithium ion battery that packs seven times more energy density .... than current lithium ion batteries"

"That shiny new Nissan LEAF could go over 500 miles (800km.) on a full charge instead of just 73 (117). And the Tesla Model S would be able to drive some 1,855 miles (3000km.) before needing to be plugged in."

"In addition, it promises significantly faster recharge times as well."

Our Ocean
From: SkS  Posted: July 29th 2014

"US Secretary Kerry hosted a remarkable conference in June called simply Our Ocean. It enlisted international policy makers, scientists, and the private sector to take action to ensure a healthy ocean for the future."

"We .... saw alarming photos of tiny sea butterfly (pteropod) shells that are already developing poorly because of acidity. The panelists made clear that acidification is a one-way street; once carbon dioxide makes its way into the sea, we cannot get it out."

"Unlike marine pollution and overfishing, which require multifaceted solutions, ocean acidification has only one primary cause: excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It therefore has an obvious solution: limit carbon emissions. As Secretary Kerry said, the challenges of climate change and ocean acidification 'actually have pretty obvious solutions that are staring us in the face. It’s not as if we’re sitting around scratching our heads saying, 'How do we solve the problem?''"

Wind Energy Cheapest
From: Energy Digital  Posted: July 23rd 2014

"According to the government of Denmark’s energy agency, onshore wind power is the cheapest form of new electricity generation. This puts it ahead of both renewable and non-renewable sources, including biomass, coal, and solar power."

"The Danish Energy Agency found that onshore wind plants coming online in 2016 will [produce electricity at] around $.05 (R0.53) per kilowatt hour. Denmark has been a big investor in wind power for decades—since around the 1970s—and has benefitted from the falling costs. Now, it hosts several big renewable energy companies such as Siemens and Vestas."

"Large dedicated biomass plants and converted biomass power stations were found to be the most expensive, with an operation cost of $.15 (R1.58) per kWh."


Solar Power Soon to Dominate
From: Clean Technica  Posted: July 22nd 2014

"If a growth rate of over 41% continues until 2022, then the world will be producing/installing over 0.5 terawatts of solar PV panels per year and maybe as much as 1.0 terawatt per year. At this rate, solar PV will become THE major source of power throughout the world."

"Further, when including any additional growth in production/installation, this will happen in a few years, easily within the next decade. Total global power use is less than 20 terawatts. (This is all of the world’s power use, not just electricity.)"

" Will it really take 50 years for solar PV to provide most of our power? Or will it only take 10 to 20 years? Think about it."


Sandra Steingraber

Concerned Health Professionals of New York
From: Ian Perrin  Posted: July 21st 2014

"Health experts and scientific researchers with Concerned Health Professionals of New York have released a major new compilation – a Compendium – of the scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking."

"Its findings are directly relevant to what is proposed for the Karoo, once allowance for the differences between the shales encountered in the Marcellus and those of South Africa is made."

"We would add the difficulty of policing the application of the regulatory authority which is proposed by our government."



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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