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Tilley's Track

by Prof Allen Tilley |

Disclaimer: the material in this section is not necessarily the policy of the Sierra Club. The referenced materials are the responsibility of the publishers/writers and Mr. Tilley’s analysis is intended to provoke thought and action, but not necessarily endorsed or held as policy by the Sierra Club.

About Allen Tilley

To receive these items in your email, please join the listserv called the Global Warming Study Group: GWSG lists.unf.edu/mailman/listinfo/gwsg   


Sent 9/21


1.  Ed Carter sends TIME’s Timelapse site, which allows you to view topographic changes from 1984 to 2012.  He recommends going to Explore the World and typing in a county or city to get an idea of how we are reshaping things.  http://world.time.com/timelapse/


2.  Satellite Beach is unusual among Florida’s communities built on barrier islands because it is holding discussions and doing serious planning for sea level rise.  Thanks to Janet Stanko for the item.  http://www.npr.org/2014/09/18/348985568/a-coastal-paradise-confronts-its-watery-future?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=us


3.    “Never before in history have human beings been called on to act collectively in defense of the earth.”  Desmond Tutu calls for the same actions which were effective against apartheid to be used against the fossil fuel industry.  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/21/desmond-tutu-climate-change-is-the-global-enemy


4.  Shaun Donovan, new director of the Office of Management and Budget, used his first speech to warn of the costs of not acting on climate disruption.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/20/3570075/shaun-donovan-costs-of-climate-denial/


5.  An International Energy Agency report a few months ago found that solar and wind power can be cost-competitive with fossil fuels in any country, with the proviso that they not be add-ons but part of a general revision of electricity systems.  http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/19/solar-wind-power-mainstream-can-cost-competitive-every-country/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=e0430dc699-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-e0430dc699-331994013


6.  Electric cars run off the grid are greener than gas fed.  The advantage varies by state, depending on their power generation profile.  http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/19/electric-cars-greener-course-getting-greener-every-day/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=e0430dc699-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-e0430dc699-331994013


7.  Democracy Now! will stream the Sept. 21 climate march live beginning at 10:30 EDT.  The weather is predicted to be cloudy and temperate with little chance of rain.    http://www.democracynow.org/live/peoples_climate_march  The Guardian will provide live coverage.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2014/sep/21/peoples-climate-march-live 


Sent 9/19


1.  A German utility has brought online a 5 megawatt battery backup system designed to balance supply as they transition to 100% wind power this year.  Wemag AG is already at 80% wind.   http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2370677/germany-charges-forward-with-opening-of-europes-largest-grid-battery-plant


2. A recent study, and the experiences of Denmark, Germany and other European countries, show that wind power can help produce a stable power grid.  Newer turbines can alter blade pitch and generator torque to produce variances in power output.  http://climatecrocks.com/2014/09/18/scientific-american-wind-power-to-stabilize-grid/


3.  Paul Krugman confronts two hoary talking points—that dealing with climate disruption cannot be done with renewables, and that it would be an economic disaster—with a couple of recent studies which show that it would be cheap or even free, and quite doable with current technology.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/opinion/paul-krugman-could-fighting-global-warming-be-cheap-and-free.html?emc=edit_th_20140919&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=43628374&_r=0   


4.  Electric water heaters make up about 18% of residential energy use.  By aggregating heaters and storing heat during times of high energy production, then allowing them to coast as energy is needed elsewhere, the heaters can act as one of the cheapest of energy storage systems at the grid level.  http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/aggregating-water-heaters-as-grid-batteries-steffes-secret-sauce?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDaily


5.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will join the climate action march in New York this Sunday.  The UN climate summit begins next Tuesday.    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/17/ban-ki-moon-climate-change-march 


Mary Robinson, the US climate envoy, is also marching, and says that the summit will see the world “change course.”  http://news.yahoo.com/world-change-course-climate-un-summit-223457907.html 


6.  Attempts to restrict coastal building are failing in the face of determined efforts to build at public expense and risk.  Florida is a leading horrible example.  http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/waters-edge-the-crisis-of-rising-sea-levels/#article-2-against-the-tide  The story does not cover the ongoing and partly successful attempts to render federal flood insurance and Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance actuarially responsible, moving financial risk back where it belongs: with the property owners. 


7.  The record extent of sea ice in the Antarctic may be the result of increased calving of icebergs and the influx of easily frozen fresh melt water.  http://www.citylab.com/weather/2014/09/antarctic-sea-ice-hits-a-record-max-and-thats-not-good/380412/


8.  Trees are growing faster than they were fifty years ago—the European beech, 77% faster. http://e360.yale.edu/digest/trees_growing_significantly_faster_in_warming_climate_study_finds/4249/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+YaleEnvironment360+%28Yale+Environment+360%29



Sent 9/17


1.  At least one common form of plankton has proved that it can readily adapt to higher temperatures and increasing acidity.  Because plankton are the base of the food chain it may allow other species to show an unexpected resilience in the new ocean we are brewing.  http://www.climatecentral.org/news/what-will-survive-in-hot-acidic-oceans-18027?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climatecentral%2FdjOO+Climate+Central+-+Full+Feed  Some tropical lizards, including our newly abundant brown anole, have proved surprisingly adaptable.  http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/9059/20140916/climate-change-forces-tropical-lizards-to-swiftly-adapt.htm


2.  The common expectation is that with climate disruption the wet regions will get wetter and the dry ones, drier.  That has held true for oceanic regions.  However, for the quarter of land mass which has shown a change in precipitation, only about half demonstrates this pattern.  The other half, including for example the Amazon and the US Midwest, shows the opposite, with the Amazon getting drier and the Midwest wetter.  http://phys.org/news/2014-09-thumb-climate-upside.html


3.  A new economic analysis finds that if we accomplish the transition from fossil fuels in the next fifteen years the global economy will be healthier than if we do not.  Sponsoring agencies include the UN, the OECD, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.  “Pricing CO2 is the key.”    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/16/climate-change-report-damage-overhaul-global-economy  The energy transition has often been predicted (especially by fossil fuel interests and other propagandists) to be ruinously costly.  The report finds that it can actually save money.  http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/fixing-climate-change-might-add-no-costs-says-report-114091700007_1.html  Some further conclusions of the report: green cities are cheaper; our power supply could be 50% renewable in fifteen years; the transition will require governmental actions.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/16/7-things-we-learned-from-lord-sterns-new-climate-economy-report


4.  President Obama has secured voluntary agreements from several large corporations to cut back or eliminate use of hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gasses.  The emissions avoided by 2025 amount to cutting 1.5% of the world’s 2010 greenhouse gas emissions.    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/us/hfc-emissions-cut-under-agreement.html?emc=edit_tnt_20140916&nlid=43628374&tntemail0=y&_r=0


5.  In a short video Jason Box explains the dynamics and implications of Greenland’s melt.  He also reacts to the news of methane seeps on the continental shelf.  http://climatecrocks.com/2014/09/16/slate-why-greenlands-dark-snow-should-worry-you/ 


Sent 9/14


1.  California is moving toward a database of all sea level rise planning in the state.  Currently, as in Florida and all other states, planning is going on in relative isolation and the state has no systematic way to track and coordinate activity.  Republicans voted against the measure on the grounds that less than an inch of sea level rise is likely this century but failed to block the legislation.  (The current rate is about an inch a decade and headed up.  The CA Republican Party wins the Cap and Bells for foolish sea level rise projections, though the competition is stiff.)  http://www.climatecentral.org/news/california-gets-serious-about-rising-seas-18010


2.  Naomi Klein measures the hypothesis that capitalism can pull us back from the climate disaster it has created as she considers the actions of Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Michael Bloomberg, billionaires who have declared their willingness to take on the problem.  Hypothesis disconfirmed, at least for climate activism among the very wealthy.  Klein tells the story of her own growing involvement with climate issues and how they became part of her struggles to have a child.  She has a new book out, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate; I am waiting for the Kindle release.  The article is a sample of the book.    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/13/greenwashing-sticky-business-naomi-klein


3.  Atmospheric scientist Katherine Hayhoe explains to Bill Moyers why she has moved from the natural sciences to the political science department at Texas Tech.  (She continues to direct the Climate Science Center.)  http://climatecrocks.com/2014/09/13/dr-katharine-hayhoe-interviewed-by-bill-moyers/  A brief bio of Hayhoe:  http://katharinehayhoe.com/?page_id=5 


4.  Living shorelines use native grasses, oyster beds, and other natural features to manage modest sea level rise.  The features trap sand and keep pace with the rise, while providing a habitat for marine life to survive the changing environment.  Along the southern US East Coast the Corps of Engineers and state authorities are quietly making it easier to create such shorelines as an alternative to bulkheads, which generally increase the damage of sea level rise and are more expensive.  “It’s either do this or lose our property altogether,” said a Pensacola property owner.  http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060005636


5.   The forthcoming Green Growth: A Program for Controlling Climate Change and Expanding Job Opportunities from the U of MA and the Center for American Progress proposes a kick start for a transition to renewable energy which combines 30% efficiency savings and support for new renewable energy sources.  The cost would be 40% less than the government invested in the oil and gas industry last year.  The plan would create 2.7 million green jobs, lowering unemployment by 1.5%.  It would also reduce our fossil fuel emissions by 40%.    http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/12/clean-energy-economy-2-7-million-green-jobs-40-less-emissions/?utm_source=Cleantechnica+News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=94e1134af7-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_b9b83ee7eb-94e1134af7-331994013


6.  Germany is now running on 30% renewable energy and has become a model for other nations, as well as a test case for how to integrate utilities into the new energy economy.  Energiewende is so popular that the country is experiencing demonstrations against any attempt by the government to slow down the transformation.    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/science/earth/sun-and-wind-alter-german-landscape-leaving-utilities-behind.html?emc=edit_th_20140914&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=43628374&_r=0





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