Climate News Roundup 5/20/2016

Les is away for a bit and I am substituting for him.  As usual, lots of climate-related news to share this week–some encouraging, some not so much, and some downright discouraging.  I’ll mix it up a bit so you don’t want to stop reading after a minute or two….

Two Virginia residents, one from our coastal area and one from our south-central rural area, penned an op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch, published May 16, chiding our governor for the inconsistency of his rhetoric and his actions vis-à-vis fossil fuel exploration and use.  http://www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/guest-columnists/article_1bbd2d5f-7046-5d74-8d9f-d5f247b0a16d.html

Virginians often point to North Carolina as more renewable-friendly.  Maybe not.  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article78472572.html

Concerning the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA) issued a press release to announce a recent Bath County Supervisors’ unanimous decision to express opposition to the ACP.  ABRA’s website has a lengthy list of official concerns by many public officials.  http://www.abralliance.org/acp-official_concerns/

Communities protesting fracking aren’t just in the U.S.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/20/3780097/fracking-north-yorkshire/

The District of Columbia Federal Court of Appeals has decided that the entire court will hear the Clean Power Plan case en banc.  The decision was on the court’s own initiative, which is relatively rare.  The Washington Post and Climate Progress articles explain:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/16/clean-power-plan-to-get-unanticipated-en-banc-review/
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/17/3778827/cpp-oral-arguments-punted/

From Take Part and Grist come articles examining where we were then and where we are now, 10 years after the release of An Inconvenient Truth:  http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/05/11/inconvenient-truth-then-and-now-what-s-changed-our-climate-2006 http://grist.org/feature/an-inconvenient-truth-oral-history/

Renewable Energy World and the Australian organization Solar Choice have reported that Germany produced almost over 90 percent of its energy from renewables on Sunday, May 8.  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/05/germany-achieves-milestone-renewables-supply-nearly-100-percent-energy-for-a-day.html;
http://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/news/renewables-supply-record-90pc-german-ower-demand-170516

Not to be outdone, Portugal recently achieved zero emissions for 107 hours, according to a Guardian article. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/18/portugal-runs-for-four-days-straight-on-renewable-energy-alone

Also from the Guardian, farming contributes greatly to air pollution in Europe and elsewhere.  Although many of us understand that fertilizer runoff contributes to water pollution and is bad for marine life, I suspect not too many of us realize that very tiny nitrogen particles can harm our lungs when we breathe them in.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/17/farming-is-single-biggest-cause-of-worst-air-pollution-in-europe

Speaking of agriculture, another Climate Progress article says this industry will have to do its bit to reduce carbon emissions.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/19/3779777/agriculture-emission-mitigation-gap/

Wired agrees:  http://www.wired.com/2016/05/chemical-reaction-revolutionized-farming-100-years-ago-now-needs-go/

In the more-bad-news department, the UN has released a study showing that we humans are degrading our environment faster than it can recover.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/19/humans-damaging-the-environment-faster-than-it-can-recover-report-finds

Let’s hear it for the growth of renewable energy!  From the Electric Governing Initiative comes word that wind and solar are “soaring”.  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/05/renewable-energy-is-soaring-are-we-ready.html

Reporter Joe Romm echoes the above giving data on 2016’s 1st quarter.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/16/3778542/grid-70-times-renewables-natural-gas/

Here’s an article about a cooperative effort between Cornell University and Iceland to model the use of geothermal energy as a way to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  Iceland is doing this as part of its Climate Action Plan (wouldn’t it be nice if the U.S. had one of those?) and has long used its massive geothermal resources to produce its electricity.  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/05/cornell-and-iceland-team-to-model-geothermal-energy.html

Another piece of hopeful news about implementation of the Paris Climate Accords comes from the World Resources Institute.  http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/05/what-s-next-eu-us-and-colombia-show-they-re-moving-forward-with-the-paris-agreement.html

In the not-so-good news department, a Washington Post article reports on the apparent instability of an East Antarctica glacier.  It’s a bit on the detailed side and a bit wonky, but the research it talks about should give us all pause about sea level rise.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/05/18/fundamentally-unstable-scientists-confirm-their-worries-about-east-antarcticas-biggest-glacier/

CNN reports that April was the latest month to break records in the high temperatures realm.  Overall, 2016 is looking to smash prior records.  http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/16/world/climate-change-april-hottest-month/index.html

Another Washington Post article reports on a thoughtful and insightful interview with the Director of the National Park Service (NPS) and some of implications for the NPS system for the many parks, monuments, and other destinations.  The Director also talks about who’s visiting the parks and what that means for the future.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/05/18/national-park-service-director-climate-change-among-the-biggest-challenges-ahead/

These news items have been compiled by Joy Loving, member of the CAAV steering committee and leader of Solarize efforts in the valley.

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