Coming on the heals of the EPA and CARB decisions, to include all production emissions when evaluating biofuels, a new study from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology says that it may be better to burn crops than turn them into biofuels. The UN has reported that world food prices are rising due to competition with government subsidized biofuel programs. Combined with new concerns over nitrous oxide production from agricultural crops, this may signal the death of America's foolish foray into crop based ethanol.
In a new report in Science, scientists present results matching neither the hypothesis of inter-hemispheric synchrony during the mid to late Holocene nor rhythmic asynchrony, downplaying the importance of global driving mechanisms. It seems that several glacier advances occurred in New Zealand during classic northern warm periods. Understanding the relationship between climate changes in the northern and southern hemispheres during the Holocene, along with their causes, remains a major problem of climate science.
NASA researchers report that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols. Though greenhouse gases are invariably blamed for global climate change, and the shrinking Arctic ice cover in particular, this new research indicates that as much as half the warming in the Arctic can be attributed to sort lived particulate pollution—basically soot. Unlike the dreaded gas, CO2, aerosols do not stay in the atmosphere very long, suggesting that the effects of any warming caused by aerosols would quickly be reversed if their emissions ceased.
The Earth Institute at Columbia University held a panel discussion recently on the subject of climate change. The main themes of the evening were the complexity and fluidity of climate science, interweaving policy, politics and science, and evolving public attitudes. Not surprisingly, being held in an academic environment, the audience at Columbia was firmly in the camp of climate change believers and was preoccupied mainly with deflecting attacks by deniers. Why do anthropogenic global warming proponents seem so paranoid about opposing views?
Currently the sun is in one of its least active periods since the Maunder Minimum, during the depths of the Little Ice Age. A quiet Sun comes along every 11 years or so—it's a natural part of the sunspot cycle, discovered by German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe in the mid-1800s. What does this have to do with global warming and climate change? It just may be why things keep getting colder as climate activists tell us Earth is melting down.
A recent article in the journal Science has provided a new, detailed climate record for the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), also know as the Medieval Warm Period. It was the most recent pre-industrial warm period, noted in Europe and elsewhere around the globe. The researchers present a 947-year-long multi-decadal North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) reconstruction and find a persistent positive NAO during the MCA. The interesting thing is that the MCA had basically been removed from the climate record by Michael Mann's infamous “hockey stick” history graph that was adopted by the IPCC a decade ago.
Most everyone has heard the recent announcement that Global Warming has been put on hold for 20 to 30 years. Earth's variable climate continues to make fools of climate scientists, obstinately refusing to follow the IPCC's climate change script. Why? Because the climate change doomsayers put their faith in computer models, not in hard science.
The Sunrise Powerlink is a proposed power transmission line that would wind its way 150 miles, from Imperial County east of San Diego, through Anza-Borrego State Park, and down into San Diego. Proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the line is needed to transport wind and solar energy from projects in Imperial County to San Diego. You would think that the eco-lobby would be 100% behind a transmission line dedicated wholly to carrying “Save the Earth” solar and geothermal power from plants in the desert to power users in San Diego—unfortunately the green lobby doesn't agree.
While the state of Arkansas likes to promote itself as a forward looking part of the US that welcomes high-tech and green industry it recently took a giant step into the past with regard to energy policy. Despite public outcry, on November 5, Arkansas environmental regulators issued an air permit to allow a unit of American Electric Power to begin construction of the 600 megawatt John W. Turk Jr. coal-fired plant.
Listening to the verbal posturing by some eco-activists and like minded politicians might give one the impression that, with the recent sharp drop in world oil prices, all pressure to accelerate domestic oil production has abated. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Once again the counter argument is made by the most unlikely of sources, the OEDC IEA—an organization that, along with the UN IPCC, helped serve as ground zero for the global warming hysteria outbreak of recent times.
It was announced at the end of October that Walter Alvarez won the Vetlesen Prize—geology's closest equivalent to a Noble Prize. Alvarez, along with his father, Nobel Prize wining physicist Luis Alvarez, proposed the Chicxulub impact, now enshrined in textbooks and the public mind as the “asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.” The prize was not for finding evidence of that event, which marked the end of the Cretaceous period, but for the larger impact of that discovery on geology as a science.
Despite the fact that gas prices have taken a precipitous fall to around the $2 per gallon level the moribund US auto industry is working hard to retool for a greener, more energy efficient hybrid future. Leading the parade is the recently revealed Chevy Volt from GM, now sporting what is rumored to be production bodywork. General Motors, the company once accused of killing the electric car, is now in the forefront of the plug-in hybrid revolution. And yes, revolution is not too strong a word for the effect that plug-in strong hybrids will have on the energy landscape of America and other developed countries.
Investors spent $320 million to build the Maple Ridge Wind farm, comprising 195 Vesta wind turbans each generating a maximum of 1.65 MW of electricity. Collectively, the turbines are capable of producing a maximum of 320 MW, which accounted for three quarters of the wind power capacity of New York when it became operational in 2006. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm, located in upstate New York, is a 50/50 joint effort of PPM Energy and Horizon Wind Energy. These companies are not philanthropies; they expect to get paid for producing electricity.
Lest you think that this site is all doom and gloom, concerned only with debunking eco-naysayers and energy illiterate politicians, this post contains some items of good news. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has kicked off a gigantic wind power project in the Texas panhandle, accompanied by a number of high-impact TV ads that seem to be aimed at moving the US Congress off its duff.