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Reposted from Daily Kos by boatsie
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Between 1999 and November 2009, Ohio lost 418,000 manufacturing jobs. And for a long time, well before the recession, Ohio's unemployment rate was higher than the nation's. At 9.4 percent, it still is, but improvement is on the way. And green energy is one reason.

Ohio is one of the many states—targeted by Republicans for whom anything green is a red flag—that has a renewable energy standard. Three years ago, Ohio mandated that, by 2025, 12.5 percent of electricity sold in the state must come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Another 12.5 percent must come from alternatives, such as nuclear power, natural gas and so-called "clean coal." That's going to be an uphill climb since currently Ohio only has 10 megawatts of installed wind-power operations and a little more than that in solar power. A single coal-fired plant typically has a rated capacity 600 megawatts or more.

But there's movement in the right direction in Ohio thanks to operations like Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co., the maker of bolts for wind turbines visited by Barack Obama two years ago just days before his inauguration. That visit was the first of many that the President has made throughout the country—mostly in the Midwest—to tout what is the closest thing the country has to an industrial plan: public investment in green manufacturing and related projects.

In the $800 billion stimulus package, $90 billion was appropriated for this: investments in residential weatherization, public transportation, innovation and manufacturing. Since then, there have been many complaints that most of the money has arrived too slowly, and that the jobs this investment was supposed to create have been too paltry.

The reality is that fully revving up green manufacturing will require many years of public and private investment. And as much as it galls deficit hawks, it will require a great deal more than $90 billion from Washington. The Chinese government is putting $738 billion into green energy alone over the next decade. That's in addition to the vast amounts it's putting into new and rebuilt infrastructure, including modern public transportation.

The environmental benefits of green investment speak for themselves. Less carbon dioxide will be flung into the atmosphere, less toxic waste will be produced, in short, there will be reduced impacts all around. But the impact that gets too little media attention—and then, usually, it's negative—is the long-term impact on jobs.

Cardinal Fastener is one small success story. As Maria Galucci at SolveClimate relates, by adding wind-turbine manufacturers to the list of buyers it sells its hot-forged bolts to, the company has been able to double its revenue in less than four years and add 25 workers to its 40-employee payroll.

The company's bolts will be used in the 55 turbines built by Vestas, the Danish wind manufacturing giant, for a 99-megawatt wind farm in northwestern Ohio by developer Paulding Wind Farm II LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy.

The fastener maker also works with nearly 15 other turbine builders, including Gamesa SA, a prominent Spanish firm, in addition to more than 100 global suppliers involved in the fabrication, transportation, construction and maintenance of the some 8,000 parts needed to build wind turbines.

Much like Cardinal Fastener, Ohio's 21,250 manufacturing companies are well positioned to add the clean energy supply chain to their traditional client base of automotive, aerospace and original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, industries. …
"We make a lot of stuff that goes into stuff—gears, transmissions, breaks, sheet metal," said Scott Miller, director of energy and environment programs at Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs. "A lot of that always went into the automotive sector, but these days those are the exact same components that go into a wind turbine."

Miller contributed to a February report by the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) ranking Ohio as the No. 2 state for wind turbine manufacturing behind California.

ELPC spokesperson Peter Gray said: "We're trying to show in realistic terms what green jobs and renewable energy means, specifically in the Midwest ... and especially in the supply chain, which sometimes gets overlooked."

The study highlights firms such as the century-old Cincinnati Gearing System, a precision gear and transmission maker that now directs nearly 25 percent of its business to demand for wind turbine engines. Crown Battery, an 80-year-old battery manufacturing facility outside of Toledo, added storage products for wind and solar energy systems to its production line in 2009.

Except for earmarked projects they can put their names on, most Republicans (and some Democrats) view public investment in anything that doesn't have a military purpose as anathema, un-American. In fact, without government subsidies and innovation funded by public monies, the U.S. economy would never have been as successful as it was.

Politicians, both the myopic and the malicious, together with their billionaire patrons, seek to do all they can to keep us on the dead-end path set for us by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago. Unless our smarter, more progressive leaders commit to vast sums for green investment and combine this public money with green policies, the economic deterioration plaguing us now will worsen, along with the environment.

Some will argue that now is not the time because the House of Representatives is in the hands of the most anti-environment, pro-oligarchy crew in more than a century. They will say the President isn't bold enough. Funny how our enemies never stop trying to accomplish their agenda because they are told it's impossible.  Do you suppose their unwillingness to surrender despite the odds is what has made them so successful?

The Green Diary Rescue, which appears every Saturday, begins below and continues in the jump.

Climate Change

Bill McKibben  explained how Glenn Beck Is Coming After 350.org: "This past Friday evening, Glenn Beck spent his program explaining about a "communistic" conspiracy that included 10 groups in America. One was 350.org, a global campaign to fight climate change that I helped found three years ago. He even put our logo up on his whiteboard - and next to it a hammer and sickle. Say this for Glenn Beck, he works fast. Less than 48 hours after we launched our campaign to let businesses say that the US Chamber of Commerce didn't represent them, Beck hit back. A true friend of Chamber (here's a picture of him, broadcasting from their roof; certainly worth the $10,000 he donated from his $32 million earnings), he put little old 350.org up on his board Friday night next to a hammer and sickle."

photo World Bank Action—London:
Free us from fossil fuels’ demands climate chain gang

boatsie reported on Fossil Fools: World Bank Day of Action: "Today is the International Day of action against the World Bank's ongoing and increasing funding of fossil fuels, and photos are streaming in from rallies in  London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Johannesburg and other cities across the globe. And as the United States waits—jittery prisoners, all, of learned helplessness and collective ennui—for the vast right wing climate denial machine to shoot down funding for the EPA, with threats of a government shutdown hovering over our amygdala-heavy heads,  the Sierra Club provides We, America's armchair eco ranters, with an online hyperlinked primer of  tools for virtual engagement. Replete with samples you can just cut and paste and a petition right on the same page if 1 click away is just too demanding of you."

logo photo credit: Sean Dreilinger

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Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by boatsie


And you thought it was Hot in your neck of the woods, this summer.  Just take a serious look at the Texas Broiler that's been set on Scorching all summer ...

Texas summer may be warmest in U.S. history
by Eric Berger -- mysanantonio.com -- September 2, 2011

Texas and Oklahoma have just endured the warmest summers on record for any state, climate officials say.

Preliminary estimates for both Texas and Oklahoma suggest they have blown away the warmest summer temperature ever recorded, 85.2 degrees, by Oklahoma in 1934.
[...]

That's their average temperature.  Must not cool off overnight much, eh?


Hmmm?  What happened back in the Mid-30's down Oklahoma/Texas way?



Black Sunday, April 14, 1935, Dodge City, Kansas -- Dust Bowl History


Is History repeating itself.  Or is History just creating a new epic cycle of inhabitability?

Dust Bowl 2: Drought detective predicts drier future for American Southwest
by Seth Shulman, grist.org -- Aug 12 2010

[...] The Southwest is as dry as it is because the local atmospheric flow tends to export far more moisture than storms can carry into the region. This is the case in other parts of the so-called subtropics, those areas directly north and south of the equatorial tropics. But as earth's atmosphere becomes laden with heat-trapping greenhouse gases, it will be able to retain even more moisture. That means more evaporation from lakes and rivers, more moisture loss from plants, and drier soil.

A critical player in this drying cycle is the planetary-scale circulation system known as the "Hadley cell." This vast atmospheric system links rising air near the Equator with descending air in the subtropics, giving rise to the subtropical jet streams.
[...]

The Hadley cell is growing. Its expansion above a larger swath of the American Southwest, along with a shifting of the jet stream and many storms northward, is a worrisome trend, says Seager. It means there is little chance that the Southwest can avoid becoming drier in the coming decades. In fact, when Seager's team analyzed some 49 computer projections of the region's likely future climate, using 19 major climate models, all but 3 scenarios agreed: drought ahead.


[ That's the message from Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The American Southwest, says Seager, is soon likely to experience a "permanent drought" condition on par with the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.]



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Reposted from Steven D by Scientician

From the latest issue of Science comes a study by paleoecologists at the University of Copenhagen's Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, that the Triassic extinction event was caused by global climate change, first brought about by CO2 emissions from volcanic activity that then warmed the oceans sufficiently to release previously frozen deposits of methane from the ocean floor.  From the Abstract:

The end-Triassic mass extinction (~201.4 million years ago), marked by terrestrial ecosystem turnover and up to ~50% loss in marine biodiversity, has been attributed to intensified volcanic activity during the break-up of Pangaea. Here, we present compound-specific carbon-isotope data of long-chain n-alkanes derived from waxes of land plants, showing a ~8.5 per mil negative excursion, coincident with the extinction interval. These data indicate strong carbon-13 depletion of the end-Triassic atmosphere, within only 10,000 to 20,000 years. The magnitude and rate of this carbon-cycle disruption can be explained by the injection of at least ~12 × 103 gigatons of isotopically depleted carbon as methane into the atmosphere. Concurrent vegetation changes reflect strong warming and an enhanced hydrological cycle. Hence, end-Triassic events are robustly linked to methane-derived massive carbon release and associated climate change.

In layperson's terms:

Micha Ruhl and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen's Nordic Center for Earth Evolution have published a paper in Science where they contend that the mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Triassic period, was due to a "sudden" increase in the amount of methane in the atmosphere due to the effects of global warning that resulted from the spewing of carbon dioxide from volcanoes.

... Ruhl et al contend that ... what happened, was that the small amount of atmospheric heating that occurred due to the exhaust from the volcanoes, caused the oceans to warm as well, leading to the melting of ice crystals at the bottom of the sea that were holding on to methane created by the millions of years of decomposing sea life. When the ice crystals melted, methane was released, which in turn caused the planet to warm even more, which led to more methane release in a chain reaction, that Ruhl says, was the real reason for the mass extinction that led to the next phase in world history, the rise of dinosaurs.

Methane is a far more powerful greengouse gas, roughly 20 times more powerful than CO2.  Thus, it accelerates warming much quicker than CO2 bu=y itself.  

So, how much methane was released at the end of the Triassic period?  A helluva lot (from the NY Times):

Two hundred million years ago, at the end of the Triassic period, a mass extinction, often attributed to major volcanic activity, wiped out half of all marine life on Earth. But new research published in the journal Science suggests that the extinction was more likely to have been caused by the release of at least 12,000 gigatons of methane from the seafloor into the atmosphere.

Numerically 12,000 gigatons = 12,000 BILLION Tons = 12,000,000,000,000 tons of methane.  In other words, TWELVE TRILLION TONS.

Guess what greenhouse gas is being released at an alarming rate as our oceans are warmed by the constant increase in CO2 emissions created by human activity?  That;s right!  Methane! In Siberia!

Arctic seabed stores of methane are now destabilizing and venting vast stores of frozen methane—a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The paper, in the prestigious journal Science, reports the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf—long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane—is instead perforated and leaking large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Melting of even a fraction of the clathrates stored in that shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming. Lead author Natalia Shakhova Shakhova of the International Arctic Research Center tells U of Alaska Fairbanks:

 

 "The amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world’s oceans. Subsea permafrost is losing its ability to be an impermeable cap."

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is a methane-rich area encompassing more than three-quarter million square miles of seafloor in the Arctic Ocean—three times larger than the nearby Siberian wetlands formerly considered the primary Northern Hemisphere source of atmospheric methane.

Shakhova’s research shows the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is already emitting 7 teragrams (1 teragram = 1.1 million tons) of methane yearly, about as much as the all the oceans of the world.

And not just Siberia, but from freshwater lakes and rivers too:

An international team of scientists, which includes John Downing, an Iowa State University professor in the ecology, evolution and organismal biology department, has found greenhouse gas uptake by land environments such as forests is less than previously thought because of methane emissions from freshwater areas. Methane is considered a greenhouse gas.

 The study, published in the journal Science, finds methane gas release from freshwater areas changes the net absorption of greenhouse gases by natural land environments by at least 25 percent. Before, estimates of carbon and greenhouse gas exchanges on continents did not account for the methane gas that is produced by lakes and running water.

 Downing compared the discovery to finding a large error in a financial budget.

 “This is really a pretty big error,” he said. “Imagine being off 25 percent in your accounting. It could sink your budget.”

 In the same way, Downing said, the study reveals that an underestimation in the amount of methane gas released by freshwater bodies may have made previous estimates about the rate of climate change inaccurate.

And, of course, from the oceans, such as the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean:

Scientists have uncovered what appears to be a further dramatic increase in the leakage of methane gas that is seeping from the Arctic seabed. [...]

The findings come from measurements of carbon fluxes around the north of Russia, led by Igor Semiletov from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

“Methane release from the East Siberian Shelf is underway and it looks stronger than it was supposed [to be],” he said.

So how much methane is trapped under our ever warming oceans today?  Well no one knows for certain.  Here's what the USGS has to say on the matter in 1992:

Gas hydrates occur abundantly in nature, both in Arctic regions and in marine sediments. Gas hydrate is a crystalline solid consisting of gas molecules, usually methane, each surrounded by a cage of water molecules. It looks very much like water ice. Methane hydrate is stable in ocean floor sediments at water depths greater than 300 meters, and where it occurs, it is known to cement loose sediments in a surface layer several hundred meters thick.

The worldwide amounts of carbon bound in [methane] gas hydrates is conservatively estimated to total twice the amount of carbon to be found in all known fossil fuels on Earth.

Recent estimates of methane gas hydrates (clathrates) under the ocean are quite immense

Vast quantities of methane are trapped in oceanic hydrate deposits, with estimates of 3,000, 10,000, or even 74,000 gigatons of methane carbon trapped as hydrate in ocean sediments. An increase in temperatures at the seafloor, driven by climate change, could dissociate some of these hydrates, leading to methane release into the ocean and perhaps eventually into the atmosphere. Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, there is concern that such a release could have adverse consequences.

So the estimates of methane trapped under our oceans is anywhere from Three Trillion Tons to 74 Trillion Tons.  Remember, a release of 12 Trillion Tons may have led to one of the five largest extinction events in earth's history.   So it would appear that we have sufficient methane hydrates available to accelerate global warming and climate change to levels not seen since the end of the Triassic Period, should the release of that methane continue to accelerate.  We know the methane is already leaking from the Arctic ocean and from the permafrost of Siberia where some of the most rapid warming on the planet is occurring.

We also know that oil and gas companies are actively seeking how to exploit deep sea floor methane hydrates.  Interest strong enough to propose international treaties to permit exploiting this "resource" in the Arctic and elsewhere:

Political and economic interest groups would argue that it is a waste not to use methane hydrates when the exploitation of this resource will aid development. They may use simplistic, populist demagogy to encourage public acceptance of methane hydrate extraction without complete understanding of the long-term consequences.

For these reasons, it is necessary to establish a mechanism to (1) promote research on the possible effects of extracting methane hydrates from the ocean floor; (2) provide clear property rights for methane hydrate deposits located in international waters; and (3) regulate the inducement of methane hydrate use in future power systems design.

This is not good news for the potential survival of millions of species on earth, including perhaps the current dominant species, homo sapiens sapiens.  It tells us that CO2 releases can warm the planet enough to trigger massive methane releases that then make a drastically warmer world an irreversible reality for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years.

The study could be foreshadowing the effect of climate change on Earth, Dr. Ruhl said. An increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from fossil-fuel use could warm up the planet enough to release methane from the ocean floors, he said.

“Methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, so potentially that could result in a strong increase in temperature and climate change,” he said.

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Reposted from xaxnar by boatsie

  Odds are, if you're in the U.S. right now, you're trying to cope with the record heat wave cooking most of the country.  You're probably sick of cliches like "Hot enough for you?" or "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Well, if some informed speculation reported in New Scientist bears up, you ain't seem nothin' yet. In a century, parts of the earth may become too hot for humans to survive without air conditioning.

    Titled Thermogeddon: When the Earth gets too hot for humans, the article follows up on a study by Steven Sherwood, an atmospheric scientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and co-author Matthew Huber of Purdue University in Indiana.  (* You may need to register for a free account to see the New Scientist article online unless you are a subscriber.) Here's the lead paragraph from the article:

IT IS the late 23rd century. Houston, Tel Aviv, Shanghai and many other once-bustling cities are ghost towns. No one lives in Louisiana or Florida anymore, and vast swathes of Africa, China, Brazil, India and Australia are no-go zones, too. That's because in all of these places it gets hot and humid enough to kill anyone who cannot find an air-conditioned shelter.
(more)
Poll

Death by thermal stress?

5%19 votes
5%16 votes
7%24 votes
9%31 votes
57%183 votes
3%11 votes
11%36 votes

| 320 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 04:06 PM PDT

East Africa: Famine II

by boatsie

Reposted from EcoJustice by boatsie


Khadra Suleiman, at Ali Hussein IDP camp, Somaliland. Ali Hussein camp is one of several large camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) on the edge of Burao town. Some people have come from Mogadishu and South Central Somalia to escape the conflict, others have come because of drought.. Mother-of-five Khadra Suleiman is struggling to cope with the rising cost of living in the camp – particularly the cost of food: .(continue reading Oxfam report 7/13/2011)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon this morning called an emergency session of the heads of UN agencies to lay out a ground plan to address the need for urgent assistance to the people in the region.

""We must do everything we can to prevent this crisis deepening," he said. "The human cost of this crisis is catastrophic. We cannot afford to wait."

The 30-mile-long Dadaab Refugee Camp is ground zero in the relief effort for victims of the East African famine, now being called the "worst humanitarian disaster in the World."  With a population of over 400,000, the three Dadaab camps   – Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley –  are now home to the third largest population center in Kenya, after Nairobi and Mombasa.

The famine's epicenter lies in the nomadic region along the shared borders of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. The lives of 11 million people are threatened by this crisis, attributed to the combined impact of the worst drought in 60 years and the high cost of food resulting from global food insecurity.  link

Somalia, already devastated by ongoing violence and displacements from two decades of civil war, is the worst impacted country, with close to 2000 Somalis arriving daily in Southeast Ethiopia and 1400 seeking assistance in Kenya.  (source)

“Looking around, we mainly see women and children,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Elhadj As Sy, who has just visited Dadaab. “They are again the ones that are hardest hit by this triple shock of drought – which is related to climate change – [plus] soaring food prices and the armed conflict in Somalia.”

In an interview with Al Jazeera,  Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) says existing camps have reached capacity and that the makeshift settlements of thousands of huts made from tree branches, covered by UN-supplied plastic sheets, are "catastrophes waiting to happen."

"The children are presenting with skin complications where their skin is peeling off mainly due to deficiency in micro-nutrients," Dr Milhia Abdul Kader said. "They are coming in a very bad shape. (Source: All Africa from Al Jazeera)

“The most impressive thing, for me, is that the poorest mothers in the worst cases of deprivation still love their children and want the best for them,” said Mr. As Sy. “They want them to be well fed, well-educated and to grow up with a future. To listen to all their stories, with smiles on their faces and hope for the future, is a true source of inspiration for all of us.”. Source: Relief Web

Climate Change & East Africa Drought

As they awaite the 2014 IPCC 4th report, climate scientists are not yet willing to officially attribute the two year drought to climate change, with many pointing to existing climate models which predict more precipitation for East African countries. Standing by the tenant that a single event can not be attributed to climate change, most attribute this extreme record-setting drought to an extremely strong La Niña event.

The current La Niña event, which began in 2010, is one of the strongest since the 1970s, says Jan de Leeuw,  ILRI operating project leader. Like El Niño, he says,La Niña occurs in cycles “we don’t understand ... We are in a period now of more frequent La Niña events, but such a situation was there from 1950 till 1976 also.”

NASA defines the current situation as follows: “The pool of warm water in the east intensifies rains in Australia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Domino-style, this pattern also increases the intensity of westerly winds over the Indian Ocean, pulling moisture away from East Africa toward Indonesia and Australia. The result? Drought over most of East Africa and floods and lush vegetation in Australia and other parts of Southeast Asia.”

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This week, I found a couple pleasant suprises coming out of Australia, so the post is a primer on what I know of the climate fight there.

First and most important was the announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Labor party, the centre-left big-tent party of Australia) that her government was going to pass a law implementing a national carbon tax:

Announcing details of the scheme today, Ms Gillard said the price on  carbon would be fixed for a period of three to five years before moving  to a cap-and-trade system.

"I'm determined to price carbon," Ms Gillard told a joint press  conference with Greens leader Bob Brown and Senator Christine Milne well  as independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor.


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Reposted from Scientician by Scientician

Welcome to Warming Wednesdays, for background on the idea, please see here!

As if on cue as I was looking for a good climate story for Warming Wednesdays, via the CBC I learned of this fascinating poll (PDF) that had identical polls run in Canada and the US within a couple months to provide a very interesting comparative result for attitudes toward climate change.

The poll questions seem to have originated on the US side, because the same poll has been run four times going back to 2008, which provides for some trending too, which brings us to the title:

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Owing to my limitations, I’m going to have to keep this one rather general. I can’t really speak / write with much measure of comfort or authority or depth on matters that pertain to global financial markets and institutional investment and the like. If left to my own devices, I’d otherwise steer clear of the topic area since it’s far more helpfully addressed by other contributors here.

However, for those of us who consider ourselves to be environmentalists, we do well to at least pay attention to the signals that big money interests are broadcasting, to the best of our abilities. I think the argument -- and an understated one at that -- can comfortably and credibly be made that our progress in environmental (read: energy, climate) policy is not hampered for want of ingenuity.

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