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Subject: IPCC Report On Climate Change
(Posted on Sep 27, 2013 at 03:00AM by Media Manager) Tags:

Human Influence on Climate Change


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.      

 


 

STOCKHOLM, 27 September -

IPCC report says Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident

in most regions of the globe, a new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate

Change (IPCC) concludes.

It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming

since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better

observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate

models.

Warming in the climate system is unequivocal and since 1950 many changes have been

observed throughout the climate system that are unprecedented over decades to millennia. Each of

the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding

decade since 1850, reports the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group I

assessment report, Climate Change 2013: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by

member governments of the IPCC in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Observations of changes in the climate system are based on multiple lines of independent

evidence. Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the

amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and the concentrations

of greenhouse gases have increased,” said Qin Dahe, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

Thomas Stocker, the other Co-Chair of Working Group I said: "Continued emissions of greenhouse

gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting

climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions."

“Global surface temperature change for the end of the 21st century is projected to be likely to

exceed 1.5°C relative to 1850 to 1900 in all but the lowest scenario considered, and likely to exceed

2°C for the two high scenarios,” said Co-Chair Thomas Stocker. “Heat waves are very likely to occur

more frequently and last longer. As the Earth warms, we expect to see currently wet regions

receiving more rainfall, and dry regions receiving less, although there will be exceptions,” he added.

Projections of climate change are based on a new set of four scenarios of future greenhouse gas

concentrations and aerosols, spanning a wide range of possible futures. The Working Group I report

assessed global and regional-scale climate change for the early, mid-, and later 21st century.

“As the ocean warms, and glaciers and ice sheets reduce, global mean sea level will continue to

rise, but at a faster rate than we have experienced over the past 40 years,” said Co-Chair Qin Dahe.

The report finds with high confidence that ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored

in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and

2010.

Co-Chair Thomas Stocker concluded: “As a result of our past, present and expected future

emissions of CO2, we are committed to climate change, and effects will persist for many centuries

even if emissions of CO2 stop.”

Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, said: “This Working Group I Summary for Policymakers

provides important insights into the scientific basis of climate change. It provides a firm foundation

for considerations of the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems and ways to

meet the challenge of climate change.” These are among the aspects assessed in the contributions

of Working Group II and Working Group III to be released in March and April 2014. The IPCC Fifth

Assessment Report cycle concludes with the publication of its Synthesis Report in October 2014.

“I would like to thank the Co-Chairs of Working Group I and the hundreds of scientists and experts

who served as authors and review editors for producing a comprehensive and scientifically robust

summary. I also express my thanks to the more than one thousand expert reviewers worldwide for

contributing their expertise in preparation of this assessment,” said IPCC Chair Pachauri.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment

Report (WGI AR5) is available at www.climatechange2013.org or www.ipcc.ch.


Key Findings

See separate Fact Sheet of Headline Statements from the WGI AR5 Summary for Policymakers,

available at www.climatechange2013.org.


Background

Working Group I is co-chaired by Qin Dahe of the China Meteorological Administration, Beijing,

China, and Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern, Switzerland. The Technical Support Unit of

Working Group I is hosted by the University of Bern and funded by the Government of Switzerland.

At the 28th Session of the IPCC held in April 2008, the members of the IPCC decided to prepare a

Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). A Scoping Meeting was convened in July 2009 to develop the

scope and outline of the AR5. The resulting outlines for the three Working Group contributions to the

AR5 were approved at the 31st Session of the IPCC in October 2009.

The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC WGI AR5 was approved at the Twelfth Session of IPCC

Working Group I meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, 23 to 26 September 2013 and was released on 27

September.

The Final Draft of the Working Group I report (version distributed to governments on 7 June 2013),

including the Technical Summary, 14 chapters and an Atlas of Global and Regional Climate

Projections, will be released online in unedited form on Monday 30 September. Following copyediting,

layout, final checks for errors, and adjustments for changes in the Summary for

Policymakers, the full report of Working Group I will be published online in January 2014 and in

book form by Cambridge University Press a few months later.

The Working Group I assessment comprises some 2,500 pages of text and draws on millions of

observations and over 2 million gigabytes of numerical data from climate model simulations. Over

9,200 scientific publications are cited, more than three quarters of which have been published since

the last IPCC assessment in 2007.

In this IPCC assessment report, specific terms are used to indicate the assessed likelihood of an

outcome or a result. For those terms used above: virtually certain means 99–100% probability,

extremely likely: 95–100%, very likely: 90–100%, likely: 66–100%. For more information see the

 


 

Subject: North American Climate Change in the Coming Century
(Posted on Sep 15, 2013 at 04:44PM by Media Manager) Tags:

North American Climate Change in the Coming Century


 
Status Report - Posted by Marc Boucher Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted July 24, 2013 5:28 PM

 

   NASA Precipitation changes.

Climate change map

 

 

 

 

 





 

 
NASA has released two videos showing projected precipitation and temperature changes in North America by 2100.


Projected U.S. Precipitation Changes by 2100


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipOcTpNl5rs&feature=player_embedded

The climate of the southwestern U.S. could be a lot drier by 2100. The climate of the northeastern U.S. could be a lot wetter.

New visualizations of computer model projections show how precipitation patterns could change across the U.S. in the coming decades under two different carbon dioxide emissions scenarios. The two climate scenarios, based on "low" and "high" levels of carbon dioxide emissions, highlight results from the draft National Climate Assessment.

Both scenarios project that dry regions get drier and regions that see more rain and snow would see that trend increase. The scenario with lower emissions, in which carbon dioxide reaches 550 parts per million by 2100, projects more subtle changes. The scenario with higher carbon dioxide emissions projects changes in average annual precipitation of 10 percent or more in some regions.

The visualizations, which combine the results from 15 global climate models, present projections of precipitation changes from 2000 to 2100 compared to the historical average from 1970 -1999. They were produced by the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., in collaboration with NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, both in Asheville, N.C.

The visualizations show the precipitation changes as a 30-year running average. The date seen in the bottom-right corner is the mid-point of the 30-year average being shown.

"These visualizations communicate a picture of the impacts of climate change in a way that words do not," says Allison Leidner, Ph.D., a scientist who coordinates NASA's involvement in the National Climate Assessment "When I look at the scenarios for future temperature and precipitation, I really see how dramatically our nation's climate could change."

Projected U.S. Temperature Changes by 2100


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39cBqY1sszY&feature=player_embedded

The average temperature across the continental U.S. could be 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by the end of the 21st century under a climate scenario in which concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide rise to 800 parts per million. Current concentrations stand at 400 parts per million, and are rising faster than at any time in Earth's history.

These visualizations -- which highlight computer model projections from the draft National Climate Assessment -- show how average temperatures could change across the U.S. in the coming decades under two different carbon dioxide emissions scenarios.

Both scenarios project significant warming. A scenario with lower emissions, in which carbon dioxide reaches 550 parts per million by 2100, still projects average warming across the continental U.S. of 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The visualizations, which combine the results from 15 global climate models, present projections of temperature changes from 2000 to 2100 compared to the  historical average from 1970 -1999. They were produced by the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., in collaboration with NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, both in Asheville, N.C.

The visualizations show the temperature changes as a 30-year running average. The date seen in the bottom-right corner is the mid-point of the 30-year average being shown.

"These visualizations communicate a picture of the impacts of climate change in a way that words do not," says Allison Leidner, Ph.D., a scientist who coordinates NASA's involvement in the National Climate Assessment "When I look at the scenarios for future temperature and precipitation, I really see how dramatically our nation's climate could change."

To learn more about the National Climate Assessment, due out in 2014, visit here:

http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-do/assessment


 

Subject: California Court of Appeals knocks back California Low Carbon Fuel Standard in POET suit
(Posted on Jul 21, 2013 at 01:26AM by Media Manager) Tags:



The California Fifth District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in POET, LLC v. California Air Resources Board, which challenged the Low Carbon Fuel Standard adopted by the Air Resources Board

 


JULY 18, 2013 - The Court ruled for POET on every one of its substantive challenges, reversed the decision of the Superior Court affirming the LCFS, and ordered that ARB’s approval of the LCFS be set aside.  The Court also ruled that ARB must, among other things, re-evaluate the LCFS’s overall environmental impacts, and allow public comment on several controversial issues including the carbon intensity values attributed to ethanol based on the theory of indirect land use change, which has been disputed and debunked by many in the scientific community.

The Court allowed ARB to continue to enforce the LCFS regulation for the time being, but also prohibited ARB from ramping up enforcement of the LCFS regulation beyond the current 2013 levels until it fully satisfies its legal obligations under CEQA and the APA.

POET responded: “We are pleased the court recognized the fundamental flaws in ARB’s process for implementing the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The Court ruled in our favor on every challenge we raised on appeal, each of which went to a different problem with the approval process. The Court has also made clear that ARB must re-evaluate the LCFS’s recognized potential to increase smog-forming pollutants, recirculate its environmental document evaluating the impacts of the LCFS and, significantly, allow public comment on several controversial issues, including the carbon intensity values attributed to land use changes.”

Analysis: Fifth Appellate District Finds CEQA Violations in Air Resources Board’s Adoption of Low Carbon Fuel Standards Regulations

To explore the ruling in more depth, we turned to long-time member of the Digesterati, Graham Noyes, a partner with Stoel Rives, to unravel the mysteries of the decision. He offered this analysis:

In Poet, LLC et al. v. California Air Resources Board et al., the Fifth Appellate District held the Air Resources Board (“ARB”) violated CEQA and the APA with its approval of the Low Carbon Fuel Standards (“LCFS”) regulations, and ordered the lower court to issue a peremptory writ of mandate, requiring ARB to take certain CEQA-related actions in any re-approval of the regulations.  In doing so, however, the Court concluded that the LCFS regulations could remain in effect while ARB took the actions necessary to comply with CEQA and the APA.  The Court also ordered that if those corrective actions were not taken, ARB would be ordered to set aside and suspend operation and enforcement of the LCFS regulations.

The LCFS regulations were adopted by ARB to reduce emissions from transportation and implement measures to achieve the goals of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 ( “AB 32”).  In enacting the regulations, ARB was required to comply with AB 32, California’s Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), and the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).

The Court concluded that ARB violated CEQA by: (1) prematurely approving the LCFS regulations before completing the necessary environmental review, (2) splitting the authority for project approval from responsibility for completing environmental review, and (3) improperly deferring formulation of mitigation measures.  As an initial matter, the Court confirmed that ARB’s actions were still subject to certain requirements of CEQA.  The LCFS regulations were adopted under a certified regulatory program, which exempted ARB from the requirements for preparing initial studies, negative declaration, or environmental impact reports.  Yet, ARB was still required to comply with other provisions of CEQA.

The Court agreed with Plaintiffs’ contention that ARB approved the LCFS regulations before it competed the environmental review process required by CEQA.  Specifically, the Board’s April 2009 passage of a resolution, which provided that the Board approved the LCFS regulations for adoption, constituted commitment “to the project as a whole or any particular features, so as to effectively preclude any alternatives or mitigation measures,” and approval pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15352, subdivision (a).  (Poet, LLC at 39 (citing Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood (2008) 45 Cal.4th 116, 139).)  It was of no consequence that ARB provided some authority to the Executive Officer of ARB to modify the regulations prior to “final adoption,” as he could not choose to abandon the regulations entirely.  Despite the fact that the final LCFS regulation as modified was not finally adopted until later in 2009, the agency had committed itself to the regulations in April 2009, and therefore “approved” the project prior to completing environmental review under CEQA.

Second, the Court agreed with Plaintiffs that ARB improperly split the project approval from the responsibility for environmental review.  ARB argued that it properly delegated responsibility for environmental review to the Executive Officer in finalizing the LCFS regulations.  Relying on its conclusion that ARB committed to and therefore approved the regulations prior to completing the environmental review, the Court reasoned that the Executive Officer could not be acting as a “decision-making body” pursuant to CEQA as that role had already been filled by the Board.  Simply, the Executive Officer did not have the authority to approve or disapprove the project, and thus, he should not have been delegated the responsibility to complete the environmental review.

Third, the Court found that ARB violated CEQA in deferring its analysis and mitigation of potential increases in Nitrogen Oxide (“NOx”) emissions resulting from impacts of the LCFS regulations.  The LCFS regulations would result in increased use of biodiesel fuel,  and consequently, NOx emissions.  The initial staff report (“ISOR”) provided to the Board for the April 2009 approval, however, provided that ARB staff assumed no increase in NOx emissions, and noted that the staff was currently conducting an extensive testing program and would promulgate new motor vehicle fuel specification for biodiesel at a later date.  The Court recognized an exception allowing for deferred formulation of mitigation measures when three conditions are met: (1) practical considerations prevented formulation of mitigation measures at the usual time, (2) the agency actually committed itself to future formulation of the mitigation measures, and (3) the agency adopted specific performance criteria that the mitigation measures were required to satisfy.  ARB did not explicitly address whether it adopted specific performance criteria, however, and the Court concluded that “no increases in NOx,” as provided in the ISOR was not a specific performance criterion as it provided no objective performance criteria for measuring whether the stated goal would be achieved.  More specifically, it was unclear what tests would be performed and what measurements would be taken to determine that biodiesel use was not increasing NOx emissions.  Thus, ARB improperly deferred mitigation related to NOx emissions and did not comply with requirement excepting such deferral.

The Court’s discussion of ARB’s violation of the APA was not certified for publication.  Generally, the Court concluded that ARB violated the APA by not including consultant emails in the Rulemaking File.

Perhaps most interesting is the Court’s conclusion that the LCFS regulations could remain in effect pending ARB’s actions to cure the CEQA and APA defects.  The Court found it appropriate to maintain the “status quo” pending ARB’s actions to cure the CEQA defects.  Such a remedy is common where a physical project is constructed while a CEQA lawsuit is pending, and courts often allow a constructed project to remain in place while CEQA defects are cured.  The Court here found no reason to treat a regulation differently than any other CEQA project, and concluded that the status quo could be maintained, and the regulations could remain in effect, while ARB takes the necessary CEQA actions.

 

Subject: DOE Warns Climate Change Will Impact Energy Systems
(Posted on Jul 12, 2013 at 11:03AM by Media Manager) Tags:


Climate Change Will Impact Energy Systems, DOE Warns


July 13, 2013 - Increasing temperatures, decreasing water availability, more intense storms, and sea level rise will each independently, and in some cases in combination, affect the ability of the United States to produce and transmit electricity from fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy sources, according to a report US Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather from the Department of Energy.

Since the start of the 20th century, average annual temperatures across the US have increased about 1.5°F. Recent weather conditions are no exception to this trend.

July 2012 was the hottest month in the US since record keeping began in 1895, and 2012 was the warmest year overall, marked by historic high temperatures and droughts, above average wildfires, multiple intense storms that disrupted power to millions, and multiple extreme heat waves.

These trends, which are expected to continue, could restrict the supply of secure, sustainable, and affordable energy critical to the nation’s economy. These changes are also projected to affect the nation’s demand for energy and its ability to access, produce, and distribute oil and natural gas.

Significant findings in the report include:

  • Thermoelectric power generation facilities are at risk from decreasing water availability and increasing ambient air and water temperatures, which reduce the efficiency of cooling, increase the likelihood of exceeding water thermal intake or effluent limits that protect local ecology, and increase the risk of partial or full shutdowns of generation facilities
  • Energy infrastructure located along the coast is at risk from sea level rise, increasing intensity of storms, and higher storm surge and flooding, potentially disrupting oil and gas production, refining, and distribution, as well as electricity generation and distribution
  • Oil and gas production is vulnerable to decreasing water availability given the volumes of water required for enhanced oil recovery, hydraulic fracturing, and refining
  • Renewable energy resources, particularly hydropower, bioenergy, and concentrating solar power can be affected by changing precipitation patterns, increasing frequency and intensity of droughts, and increasing temperatures
  • Electricity transmission and distribution systems carry less current and operate less efficiently when ambient air temperatures are higher, and they may face increasing risks of physical damage from more intense and frequent storm events or wildfires
  • Increasing temperatures will likely increase electricity demand for cooling and decrease fuel oil and natural gas demand for heating.

Some of these effects, such as higher temperatures of ambient water used for cooling, are projected to occur in all regions. Other effects may vary more by region, and the vulnerabilities faced by various stakeholders may differ significantly depending on their specific exposure to the condition or event. However, regional variation does not imply regional isolation as energy systems have become increasingly interconnected. Compounding factors may create additional challenges. For example, combinations of persistent drought, extreme heat events, and wildfire may create short-term peaks in demand and diminish system flexibility and supply, which could limit the ability to respond to that demand.

Subject: Power Plant Emissions Standards Set in Obama’s Climate Plan
(Posted on Jun 25, 2013 at 10:03AM by Media Manager) Tags:

Power Plant Emissions Standards Set in Obama’s Climate Plan


June 25, 2013

President Barack Obama’s climate plan will restrict carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants and boost investment in renewable energy, according to White House documents.

The climate plan, which Obama will announce this afternoon, doesn’t set a timeline for the power plant rules. Reuters reports the EPA will issue proposed carbon emissions limits for existing powers plants by June 2014 and finalize the regulations a year later.

The federal government will also make up to $8 million available in loan guarantees for energy-efficiency and clean-technology projects for fossil fuel plants.

In addition to limiting carbon emissions, the US will work to reduce other potent greenhouse gases, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and methane, both domestically and internationally.

The plan calls for cleaner-burning fuels for transportation and says the Obama administration will work with the auto industry to develop post-2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The federal government will work with the private and public sector to deploy biofuels, advanced batteries and fuel cell technologies for all modes of transportation, it says.

In an effort to reduce energy bills for businesses and homes, the White House will set efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings that will cut carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons by 2030 — equivalent to about half of the carbon pollution from the US energy sector for one year.

The plan also sets new renewable energy goals, including installing 100 MW of renewable capacity across federally subsided housing by 2020 and building enough wind and solar projects on federal lands to power more than 6 million homes by the same date. The plan says the federal government will obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This new goal more than doubles the current target of 7.5 percent.

Additionally, the plan focuses on preparing for the impacts of climate change, including establishing a task force to advise on how the federal government can better support climate preparedness and taking measures to improve climate resilience in areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy. It says the White House will launch a “climate data initiative” and a “toolkit for climate resilience” that centralizes access to data-driven resilience tools, services and best practices.


 


 


 

Subject: BCTA Responds to On-Road Diesel Emissions Test Results
(Posted on Apr 12, 2013 at 08:25AM by Media Manager) Tags:

British Columbia Trucking Association
Responds to On-Road Diesel Emissions Test Results


As the Metro Vancouver Environment & Parks Committee discussed the results of its On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle Program at a regular meeting today, April 11, 2013, BCTA informed the media that the report on the program confirmed what we’ve said all along: a mandatory AirCare-like emissions testing program for trucks would be wasteful and unnecessary.

The On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle Program tested emissions from over 11,700 semi-trailer trucks, dump trucks, motor coaches, and other heavy-duty vehicles from July to October 2012. According to the resulting report, Remote Sensing Device Trial for Monitoring Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions, most trucks tested are operating within the standards mandated for with their particular engine year, and emissions from newer trucks reflect the increasingly stringent engine emissions standards that were introduced in the 1990s and tightened significantly in 2007 and again in 2010.

In our media release responding to the report, Louise Yako, BCTA’s President & CEO, commented that, given the report’s findings, a “large-scale AirCare-like emissions testing program for trucks would impose unreasonable costs on the industry and produce very limited results.” She pointed to an emissions testing program for heavy-duty trucks in Ontario that has produced a failure rate of less than four percent. “As older trucks are retired and replaced with newer, cleaner trucks, diesel emissions will naturally decline over time, making an onerous and expensive testing program unnecessary.”

The report will be discussed by the full Metro Vancouver Board on April 26 with a recommendation to submit the report to the Minister of Environment requesting the development of policy and program options over the next two years for addressing air emissions from on-road heavy-duty vehicles, potentially including road-side vehicle emissions testing (although this is just one option). The Committee report noted that “costs, effectiveness and consistency with other objectives (for example, greenhouse gas emissions) will be key criteria in selecting an appropriate program to pursue.”

The study was commissioned by Metro Vancouver in collaboration with the Fraser Valley Regional District, AirCare, Port Metro Vancouver and the BC ministries of Environment and Transportation & Infrastructure.

For complete details, please see the report on the On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle Program at the link above, which also includes the accompanying submission and recommendations to the Environment & Parks Committee. BCTA will provide an update in a future Bulletin.

Background

In May 2012, BC Environment Minister Terry Lake announced that the government would phase out AirCare testing for light cars and trucks in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley by the end of 2014. However, Metro Vancouver also commented at the same time that heavy-duty vehicle emissions would be the next target for reductions. BCTA defended the industry, saying that, among other improvements, US diesel engine standards have progressively required the reduction of particulate matter and other pollutants since 1990, regulations that have affected BC carriers, since most operate vehicles with US-manufactured engines.



Subject: U.S. Energy Department Increases Funding for Clean Energy Manufacturing
(Posted on Mar 27, 2013 at 11:31AM by Media Manager) Tags:

Additional Funding In US For Clean Energy Manufacturing


March 27, 2013 Washington, DC —The U.S. Energy Department today announced additional funding for the clean energy manufacturing sector through a new program called the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI).

“Over just the last seven years, global investment in the clean energy sector has grown nearly five-fold to over US$260 billion and these markets will grow into the trillions of dollars in the years to come,” said David Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

“As part of President Obama’s plan to revitalize American manufacturing, the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative will seize this opportunity to ensure U.S. leadership in the clean energy sector and advance the global competitiveness of American manufacturers.”

Today the Energy Department handed out US$23.5 million in grants for five different clean energy projects to the Colorado School of Mines, the Ford Motor Company, Novomer Inc., Tiax LLC and the University of Texas at Austin. The government also doled out $54 million for 13 clean energy projects last June.

“Manufacturing develops and produces many of the process and materials technologies that advance the competitiveness and growth of the entire economy, including the much larger service sector,” Dr. Robert W. Ivester, acting program director for the Advanced Manufacturing Office.” In fact, manufacturing has a larger multiplier effect –a dollar spent in manufacturing drives an additional $1.35 in economic activity—than any other major part of the economy.”

The government also announced another US$15 million of funding to help reduce the manufacturing cost of solar energy technology.

Through CEMI, existing initiatives like the Better Plants Challenge and the Industrial Assessment Centers that provide energy assessments free of charge for manufacturers, will be able to offer additional energy productivity training and technical assistance.

The announcements were made today at the opening of the 42,000 square-foot Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oakridge, Tenn., which will allow manufacturers to develop and test components made from carbon fibre products.

Right now the facility includes a 390-foot melt-spun fibre line to produce raw fibre materials. An additional line is expected to be added in several months. Its yearly output of carbon fibre will reach about 25 tons.

The Energy Department says carbon fiber has the potential to allow car-makers to reduce vehicle weight by up to 750 pounds by 2020. Passenger car weight could potentially be reduced by half and fuel efficiency could be improved by 35 per cent.

The material also has potential to reduce costs and improve performance of wind energy and storage components, electronics, power transmission and aerospace technologies.

Subject: EU carbon market debate leans to tighter pollution cap
(Posted on Mar 3, 2013 at 06:32PM by Media Manager) Tags:

EU Tightens Heading Towards Tightening Emission Cap


Hours of debate on reform of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme on Friday showed support for tighter annual pollution limits, but hardly any backing for a change to an overall EU 2020 goal on carbon cutting.

Both measures would reduce the oversupply of carbon allowances, which pushed the EU ETS to a record low of less than €3 per tonne earlier this year.

The price collapse means the ETS, a core piece of EU environment policy, is unable to engineer a shift to lower carbon energy, prompting the European Commission to propose a combination of short-term and long-term changes.

Long-term plans, debated on Friday by an audience including industry and environmentalists, include raising the EU 2020 carbon reduction goal to 30 per cent from 20 per cent.

"No matter how strongly I tried to force your hands, there are only very few in favour," Artur Runge-Metzger, head of international climate policy at the Commission, said. "There is not a lot of support."

Other ways of tackling the oversupply of allowances, such as permanently removing some of the surplus and bringing forward revision of a cap on how much big emitters are allowed to pollute, generated more enthusiasm.

"We are pleading to revise the linear factor before 2020 to a range of 2.3 per cent," Hans ten Berge, secretary general of Eurelectric, which represents the European electricity sector, said.

Permanent removal of allowances might be needed, he added.

For now the total amount - or cap - on how much greenhouse gas big emitters can produce decreases by 1.74 per cent annually.

When proposing its long and short-term measures last year, the Commission said it hoped for agreement on a temporary withdrawal of surplus allowances in time for the current phase of the carbon market (2013-2020), but the proposal has hit stiff resistance.

Member state debate has been paralyzed by the refusal of dominant EU member state Germany to take a stance and strong opposition from Poland, which is heavily dependent on carbon-intensive coal.

Only a minority would scrap the ETS

Friday's all-day meeting was a consultation of interested parties, including representatives of member states, utilities, energy-intensive industries and green groups. There will be further consultation in April.

Around 200 written submissions to the Commission revealed a small minority believed the ETS should be scrapped, with most saying a functioning ETS was the most cost-effective way to engineer a shift towards a lower carbon energy mix.

There are, however, deep divisions over whether intervention in the market is justified and what form it should take.

Energy intensive industries, including chemicals, fertilisers and cement, echoed the Polish view that the weakness of ETS allowances reflects economic weakness and measures to drive their price higher could add to economic burdens.

In the opposite camp, environment campaigners, utilities and some academics say the lack of incentive to invest in low carbon energy augments costs and robs governments of revenue.

It also means renewable energy will require subsidies as the ETS is too cheap to force a switch towards low carbon fuel.

"There are significant negative fiscal effects. It means we have to raise the money somewhere else," Frank Convery of University College Dublin told Friday's Brussels meeting.

"We have hoped in Ireland for a price of about €30 a tonne. There would not be any need to subsidise (renewables, such as wind)," he said. "The downside of non-intervention is much greater than the upside."

Subject: U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union
(Posted on Feb 24, 2013 at 07:33PM by Media Manager) Tags:



U.S. President Barack Obama's state of the union message to
act swiftly on climate change will have an impact on Canada,
says the U.S. ambassador to Canada.


U.S. President Barack Obama's state of the union message to act swiftly on climate change will have an impact on Canada, says the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

Obama used Tuesday's speech to present Congress with a choice: either agree to market-based solutions to climate change, or else the president will use his executive powers to achieve the same result.

U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson said in an interview Wednesday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics that the message to move more aggressively against climate change was aimed at Congress but "obviously there are things about our policies that have significant impact to Canada."

"I believe what he was trying to say was that we, in the U.S., have to do better with respect to carbon, we have to do better with respect to climate change," Jacobson told host Evan Solomon.

The U.S. envoy went on to say, "the president is very serious that we need to do a better job with respect to our carbon footprint — he believes that global warming is a real problem. There is no question, it's a priority."

It was the signal many environmentalists in Canada have been waiting for.

"I see opportunity," said Megan Leslie, the NDP's outspoken environment critic.

"Canadians have not been well-represented by our government on action on climate change. Fortunately for Canadians, though, the Harper Conservatives will have little choice but to follow suit or risk our trading relationship with our biggest partner."

U.S. action on climate change has been piecemeal over the past few years as Obama's initiatives met with stiff Republican resistance. Ottawa has vowed to move no faster than the U.S. for fear of risking Canada's competitive advantage.

Indeed, Conservative MPs have made a daily sport out of criticizing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes.

But now that Obama has suggested he wants to crack down on emissions, either through a market-based approach or regulations, Canada is going to have to regroup, said Alex Wood, senior director at Sustainable Prosperity, an Ottawa-based think tank.

"The question is whether we will be able to keep up," he said. "We may have to pay a price for not having a serious policy around climate change."

Ottawa has opted to take a regulatory approach to emissions, imposing restrictions on industry sector by sector in a process that is taking many years to unfold and decades to implement. At last count, federal and provincial measures taken together still only get Canada half way to meeting its emissions reductions targets by 2020.

That leaves the as-yet-unregulated oil and gas sector to make up most of the difference, and negotiations with that industry and Alberta are proving difficult.

Still, the initial government reaction to Obama's climate change agenda was nonchalant.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the president's speech contained a little bit for everyone on all sides of the climate debate.

"And therefore I don't feel any different than I did before the speech," he said.

While Environment Minister Peter Kent has suggested in the past that Canada might consider a cap-and-trade system to control emissions if the United States moves in that direction, Oliver was dismissive of that idea Wednesday.

"This is quite speculative. It doesn't look like Congress would be supportive of that. They've rejected it historically, and we're not in that space," Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Still, there are signs federal ministers are feeling some pressure to up their game on the emissions front, especially with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oilsands through the United States hanging in the balance. Oliver and Kent have both recently spoken about the need "to do more" on Canada's environmental credentials.

Last week, after meeting with new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told reporters that "when it comes to the environment , I think we have like-minded objectives."

"Prime Minister Harper and President Obama have both set a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we've worked very well together on reducing vehicle emissions for cars, for light trucks. Canada is aggressively moving forward on our plan to ban and phase out dirty coal fire electricity generation, and we'll continue to focus on that."

"I think we all share the need for a growing economy to create jobs, we share on the desire for energy security in North America, and we also share the objective of protecting our environment for future generations. Those will be areas where we continue to work together," Baird said.

Keystone XL pipeline project

Obama did not mention the pipeline in Tuesday's speech, but he faced calls from organized labour and the petroleum industry on Wednesday to approve the project immediately — even as protesters in the U.S. geared up for a demonstration against it this weekend.

In a preview of further protests planned for Sunday, prominent U.S. environmental leaders — including Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club — were arrested Wednesday after tying themselves to the White House gate.

Activist Bill McKibben, actress Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were also arrested, along with several dozen other activists.

Washington-based stakeholders from both sides of the border increasingly suspect Obama is going to try to extract from the oil industry and Republicans some kind of quid pro quo — either a carbon-pricing scheme or limits on greenhouse emissions from existing power plants in exchange for approving Keystone.

"He's a deal-maker," said a source close to the Keystone discussions not authorized to speak to the media. "He wants to get something in return, whichever way he goes."

Such chatter underlines the fact that Canada and the U.S. are "on very different trajectories" since there is no indication that Environment Canada would entertain putting a market price on carbon, said Clare Demerse, director of federal policy for the Pembina Institute, an energy and environment think tank.

Obama's new-found determination on greenhouse gases will no doubt prompt him to assess the Keystone pipeline through an environmental lens, Demerse said. If that pipeline is filled with oilsands bitumen, the implications for emissions are major, both in Canada and the U.S.

Jacobson would not predict when Obama's Keystone decision will come, but told Solomon the president "is trying to figure out – whether it's Keystone, whether its climate change legislation – the appropriate balance between our need for energy on the one hand, and our desire to maintain the environment."

"That is the exact same issue that I think Canadians are wrestling with," Jacobson said.


Obama used Tuesday's speech to present Congress with a choice: either agree to market-based solutions to climate change, or else the president will use his executive powers to achieve the same result.

U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson said in an interview Wednesday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics that the message to move more aggressively against climate change was aimed at Congress but "obviously there are things about our policies that have significant impact to Canada."

"I believe what he was trying to say was that we, in the U.S., have to do better with respect to carbon, we have to do better with respect to climate change," Jacobson told host Evan Solomon.

The U.S. envoy went on to say, "the president is very serious that we need to do a better job with respect to our carbon footprint — he believes that global warming is a real problem. There is no question, it's a priority."

It was the signal many environmentalists in Canada have been waiting for.

"I see opportunity," said Megan Leslie, the NDP's outspoken environment critic.

"Canadians have not been well-represented by our government on action on climate change. Fortunately for Canadians, though, the Harper Conservatives will have little choice but to follow suit or risk our trading relationship with our biggest partner."

U.S. action on climate change has been piecemeal over the past few years as Obama's initiatives met with stiff Republican resistance. Ottawa has vowed to move no faster than the U.S. for fear of risking Canada's competitive advantage.

Indeed, Conservative MPs have made a daily sport out of criticizing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes.

But now that Obama has suggested he wants to crack down on emissions, either through a market-based approach or regulations, Canada is going to have to regroup, said Alex Wood, senior director at Sustainable Prosperity, an Ottawa-based think tank.

"The question is whether we will be able to keep up," he said. "We may have to pay a price for not having a serious policy around climate change."

Ottawa has opted to take a regulatory approach to emissions, imposing restrictions on industry sector by sector in a process that is taking many years to unfold and decades to implement. At last count, federal and provincial measures taken together still only get Canada half way to meeting its emissions reductions targets by 2020.

That leaves the as-yet-unregulated oil and gas sector to make up most of the difference, and negotiations with that industry and Alberta are proving difficult.

Still, the initial government reaction to Obama's climate change agenda was nonchalant.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the president's speech contained a little bit for everyone on all sides of the climate debate.

"And therefore I don't feel any different than I did before the speech," he said.

While Environment Minister Peter Kent has suggested in the past that Canada might consider a cap-and-trade system to control emissions if the United States moves in that direction, Oliver was dismissive of that idea Wednesday.

"This is quite speculative. It doesn't look like Congress would be supportive of that. They've rejected it historically, and we're not in that space," Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Still, there are signs federal ministers are feeling some pressure to up their game on the emissions front, especially with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta oilsands through the United States hanging in the balance. Oliver and Kent have both recently spoken about the need "to do more" on Canada's environmental credentials.

Last week, after meeting with new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told reporters that "when it comes to the environment , I think we have like-minded objectives."

"Prime Minister Harper and President Obama have both set a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we've worked very well together on reducing vehicle emissions for cars, for light trucks. Canada is aggressively moving forward on our plan to ban and phase out dirty coal fire electricity generation, and we'll continue to focus on that."

"I think we all share the need for a growing economy to create jobs, we share on the desire for energy security in North America, and we also share the objective of protecting our environment for future generations. Those will be areas where we continue to work together," Baird said.

Keystone XL pipeline project

Obama did not mention the pipeline in Tuesday's speech, but he faced calls from organized labour and the petroleum industry on Wednesday to approve the project immediately — even as protesters in the U.S. geared up for a demonstration against it this weekend.

In a preview of further protests planned for Sunday, prominent U.S. environmental leaders — including Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club — were arrested Wednesday after tying themselves to the White House gate.

Activist Bill McKibben, actress Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were also arrested, along with several dozen other activists.

Washington-based stakeholders from both sides of the border increasingly suspect Obama is going to try to extract from the oil industry and Republicans some kind of quid pro quo — either a carbon-pricing scheme or limits on greenhouse emissions from existing power plants in exchange for approving Keystone.

"He's a deal-maker," said a source close to the Keystone discussions not authorized to speak to the media. "He wants to get something in return, whichever way he goes."

Such chatter underlines the fact that Canada and the U.S. are "on very different trajectories" since there is no indication that Environment Canada would entertain putting a market price on carbon, said Clare Demerse, director of federal policy for the Pembina Institute, an energy and environment think tank.

Obama's new-found determination on greenhouse gases will no doubt prompt him to assess the Keystone pipeline through an environmental lens, Demerse said. If that pipeline is filled with oilsands bitumen, the implications for emissions are major, both in Canada and the U.S.

Jacobson would not predict when Obama's Keystone decision will come, but told Solomon the president "is trying to figure out – whether it's Keystone, whether its climate change legislation – the appropriate balance between our need for energy on the one hand, and our desire to maintain the environment."

"That is the exact same issue that I think Canadians are wrestling with," Jacobson said.

Subject: British Secretary of State for Climate Change Appoimted
(Posted on Feb 19, 2013 at 04:30AM by Media Manager) Tags:

The British Government and Climate Change

 




 
"In reality, those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet, every future human being, our children and grand children, and every other living species."

The Rt Hon Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, British Government


First, I must state I find it remarkable that the British government has a Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. There are 24 ministerial departments in the UK government and one of them is the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Can you imagine a Cabinet member within the executive branch of the United States federal government with the title of Secretary of Energy and Climate Change? Me neither. Not in my lifetime.

The DECC was created October 3, 2008 by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. If you visit the DECC website, you will read this:"Various natural factors, including volcanic eruptions and changes in the Sun's activity and Earth's orbit, have altered the Earths' past climate - but none of them can account for the warming that has occurred since about 1900. Rising greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations from human activity do, however, explain this warming through their enhancement of the natural 'greenhouse effect'."

And there is this: "Records from ice cores confirm the CO2 concentration is now higher than for at least the past 800,000 years and that the extra CO2 in the air today has a chemical fingerprint that links it to fossil fuels."

And this:

"If GHG emissions continue unabated, average global temperatures may rise (relative to 1990 temperatures) by between 1.1 and 6.4°C by the end of this century."

Edward Davey was appointed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in February of 2012 and a week ago gave a speech at a symposium on climate change at the Royal Society and "was as blunt on the reality of climate science as he was critical of those who deny it."

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