Thursday, December 13, 2007

When the Canary Died

Even as the United States delegation continues its assault on the world as it continues to stonewall a global agreement to actually deal with climate change, scientists continue to be amazed just how strong the signs are, while others are perplexed as to just how deaf and blind US leadership has become.

Of course, they are not really blind or deaf.

They are evil villains who should and will be excoriated for their corrupt policies favoring the oily pals that elected them. And I'm trying to be nice. They are actually worse than War Criminals, for they are enabling a human catastrophe of epic scale. History will revile them as butchers who would have led the world to slaughter, had they not been removed from power.

Here is another story about the Arctic melt down from AP that shows just how concerned climate scientists have become:

"Scientists fear global warming has passed an ominous tipping point after new Nasa satellite data showed the already relentless melting of the Arctic increased greatly during the Northern Hemisphere's hot summer months.

One expert even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to Nasa data.

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data centre in Colorado.

Just last year, two top scientists surprised colleagues by projecting the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly it could disappear by summer 2040.

This week, after reviewing his own new data, Nasa climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Mr Zwally. "Now, as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines." (clip )

Nasa scientist James Hansen, the researcher called the godfather of global warming, will tell scientists at a meeting in California tomorrow that in some ways Earth has hit one of his so-called tipping points, based on Greenland melt data.

"We have passed that and some other tipping points in the way that I will define them," Hansen said. "We have not passed a point of no return. We can still roll things back in time - but it is going to require a quick turn in direction."

Earlier today, I was visiting with a government affairs guy who follows utility issues. We talked about how the Energy Bill didn't get the 60 votes it needed and how the Republicans managed to get the Ds to strip out the oil and gas language(the tax title) that they could not abide. (note: renewables were stripped out too)

Then we talked about solar policies and about how even the most advanced utilities still worry about the effects of net metering. "We are not getting paid for the transformers and the lines if they get full retail for the energy the send back to us", he argued. "Therefore, there must be some kind of charge to that customer."

Of course, this is all poopy-crock.

If a customer takes advantage of all the energy efficiency measures that the utility has to offer, and reduces his load, we don't punish him for doing it. When you turn off a light, you get paid retail prices to do it. But if a customer installs solar and reduces his load, these guys get all cranky about it.

If we put out an RFP for a central solar plant, we would be delighted to pay the rate that we are paying our customers when they run their meter backwards.

Of course, when a large percent of our customers have solar, our load will drop, and we will have to figure that out. But that's the kind of problem we should welcome. Running a solid state utility where power is coming and going from homes to cars, and home to utility, and utility to cars, is going to be a very different business model from the one that has developed over the last 100 years.

Trying to hold onto the old model will be like holding water in your hand.

You'll end up with just enough water to try to wake yourself up.

And if you do, you might wonder,

When Did the Canary Die?


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As frustrated as I am about my government turning an evil ear to climate change which can kill most
of us and bring misery to the rest of us I still haven't started in earnest to buy back my personal contribution to this catastrophy,
and I don't know why.


1:35 PM  

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