Politics and Climate Change July News

Hot enough for you?

It’s not hot enough for our Senators, clearly. Record-breaking temperatures around the country and around the globe didn’t cause any groundswell of support for climate legislation in the Senate last week, when our leaders simply decided any actual effort to cut carbon in the atmosphere was not worth the effort.

After years of work from many of our colleagues in the progressive community, they didn’t even bother to vote down a cap on Carbon–senators simply refused to even consider it. 

It wasn’t a perfect bill by any means–in fact, it was deeply compromised. But the Senate didn’t reject it because they wanted something stronger, they rejected it because they simply didn’t feel any pressure to act on global warming — Even after the warmest six months ever recorded.

So your senators need to hear from you this August recess. If they’re in your community for some event, they need to see a fired-up grassroots movement that is ready to hold them accountable. They need to get to work, because they work for you.

Sign up here to Keep the Heat on your senators over the August Recess, when they’ll be back in district and waiting to hear from you.

The basic idea is to attend an event where your senator is speaking. Have a few friends stand outside with signs, and then have one or two people inside the event ask when we can expect Senate action on climate change. We’ve put together a guide that explains how to do this.

The recess lasts from August 9 to September 12, so you have a lot of time to attend a local event and let your senators know that they have to get to work. If senators return to DC having heard, over and over again, that people are outraged about their lack of action, they can’t drop the issue. Lots of our allies (Energy Action Coalition and 1Sky, to name two) are working on this, so we’re confident our movement can send a strong message.

To make it easier, we made a little guide about what not to do when you meet your senators.

Watch the new video!

Normally we recommend complete politeness with political leaders. But frankly it might be okay to show a little anger. I know what I’m going to say: I’m hot as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more.

Many thanks in advance,

Bill McKibben and the 350.org Team

NASAs Climate Change Prediction

How Much More Will Earth Warm?

To further explore the causes and effects of global warming and to predict future warming, scientists build climate models—computer simulations of the climate system. Climate models are designed to simulate the responses and interactions of the oceans and atmosphere, and to account for changes to the land surface, both natural and human-induced. They comply with fundamental laws of physics—conservation of energy, mass, and momentum—and account for dozens of factors that influence Earth’s climate.

Though the models are complicated, rigorous tests with real-world data hone them into powerful tools that allow scientists to explore our understanding of climate in ways not otherwise possible. By experimenting with the models—removing greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of fossil fuels or changing the intensity of the Sun to see how each influences the climate—scientists use the models to better understand Earth’s current climate and to predict future climate.

The models predict that as the world consumes ever more fossil fuel, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise, and Earth’s average surface temperature will rise with them. Based on a range of plausible emission scenarios, average surface temperatures could rise between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century.

Graph of predicted temperature change based on 4 scenarios of carbon dioxide emissions.

Model simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that Earth will warm between two and six degrees Celsius over the next century, depending on how fast carbon dioxide emissions grow. Scenarios that assume that people will burn more and more fossil fuel provide the estimates in the top end of the temperature range, while scenarios that assume that greenhouse gas emissions will grow slowly give lower temperature predictions. The orange line provides an estimate of global temperatures if greenhouse gases stayed at year 2000 levels. (©2007 IPCC WG1 AR-4.)

Climate Feedbacks

Greenhouse gases are only part of the story when it comes to global warming. Changes to one part of the climate system can cause additional changes to the way the planet absorbs or reflects energy. These secondary changes are called climate feedbacks, and they could more than double the amount of warming caused by carbon dioxide alone. The primary feedbacks are due to snow and ice, water vapor, clouds, and the carbon cycle.

Snow and ice

Perhaps the most well known feedback comes from melting snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere. Warming temperatures are already melting a growing percentage of Arctic sea ice, exposing dark ocean water during the perpetual sunlight of summer. Snow cover on land is also dwindling in many areas. In the absence of snow and ice, these areas go from having bright, sunlight-reflecting surfaces that cool the planet to having dark, sunlight-absorbing surfaces that bring more energy into the Earth system and cause more warming.

Photograph of the retreating Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Canada.

Canada’s Athabasca Glacier has been shrinking by about 15 meters per year. In the past 125 years, the glacier has lost half its volume and has retreated more than 1.5 kilometers. As glaciers retreat, sea ice disappears, and snow melts earlier in the spring, the Earth absorbs more sunlight than it would if the reflective snow and ice remained. (Photograph ©2005 Hugh Saxby.)

Water Vapor

The largest feedback is water vapor. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas. In fact, because of its abundance in the atmosphere, water vapor causes about two-thirds of greenhouse warming, a key factor in keeping temperatures in the habitable range on Earth. But as temperatures warm, more water vapor evaporates from the surface into the atmosphere, where it can cause temperatures to climb further.

The question that scientists ask is, how much water vapor will be in the atmosphere in a warming world? The atmosphere currently has an average equilibrium or balance between water vapor concentration and temperature. As temperatures warm, the atmosphere becomes capable of containing more water vapor, and so water vapor concentrations go up to regain equilibrium. Will that trend hold as temperatures continue to warm?

The amount of water vapor that enters the atmosphere ultimately determines how much additional warming will occur due to the water vapor feedback. The atmosphere responds quickly to the water vapor feedback. So far, most of the atmosphere has maintained a near constant balance between temperature and water vapor concentration as temperatures have gone up in recent decades. If this trend continues, and many models say that it will, water vapor has the capacity to double the warming caused by carbon dioxide alone.

Clouds

Closely related to the water vapor feedback is the cloud feedback. Clouds cause cooling by reflecting solar energy, but they also cause warming by absorbing infrared energy (like greenhouse gases) from the surface when they are over areas that are warmer than they are. In our current climate, clouds have a cooling effect overall, but that could change in a warmer environment.

Astronaut photograph of clouds over Florida.

Clouds can both cool the planet (by reflecting visible light from the sun) and warm the planet (by absorbing heat radiation emitted by the surface). On balance, clouds slightly cool the Earth. (NASA Astronaut Photograph STS31-E-9552 courtesy Johnson space Center Earth Observations Lab.)

If clouds become brighter, or the geographical extent of bright clouds expands, they will tend to cool Earth’s surface. Clouds can become brighter if more moisture converges in a particular region or if more fine particles (aerosols) enter the air. If fewer bright clouds form, it will contribute to warming from the cloud feedback.

See Ship Tracks South of Alaska to learn how aerosols can make clouds brighter.

Clouds, like greenhouse gases, also absorb and re-emit infrared energy. Low, warm clouds emit more energy than high, cold clouds. However, in many parts of the world, energy emitted by low clouds can be absorbed by the abundant water vapor above them. Further, low clouds often have nearly the same temperatures as the Earth’s surface, and so emit similar amounts of infrared energy. In a world without low clouds, the amount of emitted infrared energy escaping to space would not be too different from a world with low clouds.

Thermal infrared image of the Western Hemisphere from GOES.

Clouds emit thermal infrared (heat) radiation in proportion to their temperature, which is related to altitude. This image shows the Western Hemisphere in the thermal infrared. Warm ocean and land surface areas are white and light gray; cool, low-level clouds are medium gray; and cold, high-altitude clouds are dark gray and black. (NASA image courtesy GOES Project Science.)

High cold clouds, however, form in a part of the atmosphere where energy-absorbing water vapor is scarce. These clouds trap (absorb) energy coming from the lower atmosphere, and emit little energy to space because of their frigid temperatures. In a world with high clouds, a significant amount of energy that would otherwise escape to space is captured in the atmosphere. As a result, global temperatures are higher than in a world without high clouds.

If warmer temperatures result in a greater amount of high clouds, then less infrared energy will be emitted to space. In other words, more high clouds would enhance the greenhouse effect, reducing the Earth’s capability to cool and causing temperatures to warm.

See Clouds and Radiation for a more complete description.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure where and to what degree clouds will end up amplifying or moderating warming, but most climate models predict a slight overall positive feedback or amplification of warming due to a reduction in low cloud cover. A recent observational study found that fewer low, dense clouds formed over a region in the Pacific Ocean when temperatures warmed, suggesting a positive cloud feedback in this region as the models predicted. Such direct observational evidence is limited, however, and clouds remain the biggest source of uncertainty–apart from human choices to control greenhouse gases—in predicting how much the climate will change.

The Carbon Cycle

Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and warming temperatures are causing changes in the Earth’s natural carbon cycle that also can feedback on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. For now, primarily ocean water, and to some extent ecosystems on land, are taking up about half of our fossil fuel and biomass burning emissions. This behavior slows global warming by decreasing the rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase, but that trend may not continue. Warmer ocean waters will hold less dissolved carbon, leaving more in the atmosphere.

Map of anthropogenic carbon dissolved in the oceans.

About half the carbon dioxide emitted into the air from burning fossil fuels dissolves in the ocean. This map shows the total amount of human-made carbon dioxide in ocean water from the surface to the sea floor. Blue areas have low amounts, while yellow regions are rich in anthropogenic carbon dioxide. High amounts occur where currents carry the carbon-dioxide-rich surface water into the ocean depths. (Map adapted from Sabine et al., 2004.)

See The Ocean’s Carbon Balance on the Earth Observatory.

On land, changes in the carbon cycle are more complicated. Under a warmer climate, soils, especially thawing Arctic tundra, could release trapped carbon dioxide or methane to the atmosphere. Increased fire frequency and insect infestations also release more carbon as trees burn or die and decay.

On the other hand, extra carbon dioxide can stimulate plant growth in some ecosystems, allowing these plants to take additional carbon out of the atmosphere. However, this effect may be reduced when plant growth is limited by water, nitrogen, and temperature. This effect may also diminish as carbon dioxide increases to levels that become saturating for photosynthesis. Because of these complications, it is not clear how much additional carbon dioxide plants can take out of the atmosphere and how long they could continue to do so.

The impact of climate change on the land carbon cycle is extremely complex, but on balance, land carbon sinks will become less efficient as plants reach saturation, where they can no longer take up additional carbon dioxide, and other limitations on growth occur, and as land starts to add more carbon to the atmosphere from warming soil, fires, and insect infestations. This will result in a faster increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and more rapid global warming. In some climate models, carbon cycle feedbacks from both land and ocean add more than a degree Celsius to global temperatures by 2100.

Emission Scenarios

Scientists predict the range of likely temperature increase by running many possible future scenarios through climate models. Although some of the uncertainty in climate forecasts comes from imperfect knowledge of climate feedbacks, the most significant source of uncertainty in these predictions is that scientists don’t know what choices people will make to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The higher estimates are made on the assumption that the entire world will continue using more and more fossil fuel per capita, a scenario scientists call “business-as-usual.” More modest estimates come from scenarios in which environmentally friendly technologies such as fuel cells, solar panels, and wind energy replace much of today’s fossil fuel combustion.

It takes decades to centuries for Earth to fully react to increases in greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, among other greenhouse gases, will remain in the atmosphere long after emissions are reduced, contributing to continuing warming. In addition, as Earth has warmed, much of the excess energy has gone into heating the upper layers of the ocean. Like a hot water bottle on a cold night, the heated ocean will continue warming the lower atmosphere well after greenhouse gases have stopped increasing.

These considerations mean that people won’t immediately see the impact of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Even if greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized today, the planet would continue to warm by about 0.6°C over the next century because of greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere.

See Earth’s Big Heat Bucket, Correcting Ocean Cooling, and Climate Q&A: If we immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases, would global warming stop? to learn more about the ocean heat and global warming.

Next Page: How Will Global Warming Change Earth?

Scott’s Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

RealClimate- Report from Climate Scientist

RealClimate logo


Start here

Filed under:

— group @ 22 May 2007 – (Slovenčina) (Polski)

We’ve often been asked to provide a one stop link for resources that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change, and so here is a first cut. Unlike our other postings, we’ll amend this as we discover or are pointed to new resources. Different people have different needs and so we will group resources according to the level people start at.

For complete beginners:

NCAR: Weather and climate basics
Oxford University: The basics of climate prediction
Pew Center: Global Warming basics
Wikipedia: Global Warming
NASA: Global Warming update
National Academy of Science: Understanding and Responding to Climate Change
Encyclopedia of Earth: Climate Change Collection
Global Warming FAQ (Tom Rees)
Global Warming: Man or Myth? (Scott Mandia, SUNY Suffolk)

There is a new booklet on Climate Literacy from multiple agencies (NOAA, NSF, AAAS) available here (pdf).

Those with some knowledge:

The IPCC AR4 Frequently Asked Questions (here (pdf)) are an excellent start. These cover:

RealClimate: Start with our index

Informed, but in need of more detail:

Science: You can’t do better than the IPCC reports themselves (AR4 2007, TAR 2001).

History: Spencer Weart’s “Discovery of Global Warming” (AIP)

Art: Robert Rohde’s “Global Warming Art

Informed, but seeking serious discussion of common contrarian talking points:

All of the below links have indexed debunks of most of the common points of confusion:


Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

The Discovery of Global Warming

The Discovery of Global Warming July 2009
A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.

This Website created by Spencer Weart supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, occasionally updated.

If you want basic facts

about climate change, or detailed current technical information,

you might do better using the links page. But if you want to use history to really understand

it all…

The Discovery of Global Warming book cover image
Second edition, revised
and updated (2008)
Basic navigation: On the right of each essay

are links to essays about other topics. Follow forward an arrow

to see how the events that you are reading about gave something

=> TO the other topic. Follow back an arrow

to track influence <= FROM the other topic. Double arrow

<=> shows MUTUAL interaction.

Click on a numbered note, e.g., (12) for references. Some notes, indicated thus: (12*) have additional text. In

the note, click on a reference to reach the bibliography—use

your browser’s BACK

button to return.

About this site: top of page

Contents/Site Map July 2009 version
Introduction and Summary of the history SEARCH all the essays

The Discovery of Global Warming

The Discovery of Global Warming                      July 2009


A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.

This Website created by Spencer Weart supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, occasionally updated.

If you want basic facts about climate change, or detailed current technical information, you might do better using the links page. But if you want to use history to really understand it all…

The Discovery of Global Warming book cover image
Second edition, revised
and updated (2008)

Basic navigation: On the right of each essay are links to essays about other topics. Follow forward an arrow to see how the events that you are reading about gave something => TO the other topic. Follow back an arrow to track influence <= FROM the other topic. Double arrow <=> shows MUTUAL interaction.

Click on a numbered note, e.g., (12) for references. Some notes, indicated thus: (12*) have additional text. In the note, click on a reference to reach the bibliography—use your browser's BACK button to return.

About this site: top of page        

Contents/Site Map                 July 2009 version

Introduction and Summary of the history           SEARCH all the essays


Influences on climate
The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect
     Roger Revelle's Discovery
     Other Greenhouse Gases
Aerosols: Volcanoes, Dust, Clouds
Biosphere: How Life Alters Climate
Changing Sun, Changing Climate?
     Interview with Jack Eddy
Ocean Currents and Climate

Climate data
The Modern Temperature Trend
Rapid Climate Change Abrupt climate change
     Uses of Radiocarbon Dating
     Greenland Ice Drilling (J. Genuth)
Past Climate Cycles and Ice Ages
     Temperatures from Fossil Shells

Theory
Simple Models of Climate Change
     Chaos in the Atmosphere
     Venus & Mars
General Circulation Models of Climate
     Basic Radiation Calculations
     Arakawa's Computation Device 
 


LINKS to basic and current information

SEARCH all the essays

Climate and society
Impacts of Global Warming

The Public and Climate Change (1)  (2)
     Wintry Doom
     Ice Sheets and Rising Seas
Government: The View from Washington
     Climate Modification Schemes
     Money for Keeling: Monitoring CO2 Levels
International Cooperation
     Climatology as a Profession

Reflections on the Scientific Process

Conclusions: A Personal Note
     Talking Points (pdf)

About this site/Reference/Utilities
History in Hypertext  – methods, sources
TIMELINE of milestones
     List of external influences
BIBLIOGRAPHY by author
     Bibliography by year
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Please contribute comments, corrections.
Author, Spencer Weart

DOWNLOAD entire site (Zip file)
PDF files
to download and print


      This is mounted on the Website of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.
Discovery of Global Warming
site created by Spencer Weart with support from the American Institute of Physics, the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
      The statements on this site represent the views of the autho
r and are not positions endorsed by the American Institute of Physics. Two of the Institute's Member Societies have taken positions on climate change; see the American Physical Society's statement and the American Geophysical Union's statement.

Copyright © 2003-2010 Spencer Weart and the American Institute of Physics.
Index terms: anthropogenic climate change, history of global warming, greenhouse effect, temperature change geophysics meteorology climatology, computer models,proof evidence research pollution aerosols Sun,\ solar atmosphere,\ carbon dioxide, CO2, history of science – Book cover photo © AbleStock.


Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

A Balanced View: Climate Scientists in the Press

As project managers, we often find ourselves at the fulcrum of decisions in which we must take diverse viewpoints into account and make key project decisions, sometimes in the ‘heat of battle’.

For example, does this sound familiar?

Quality Engineer: “We need 5 weeks to do this verification test!”

Product Manager: “They can do that testing in 2 weeks.”

Quality Engineer: “Actually, now it looks like we need 6 weeks!”

Product Manager: “Let’s skip that test altogether, it adds no value!”

So you know this to be true.  We constantly have to make our best judgments based on what we hear, what we benchmark, and we always try to base decisions on facts and not emotion.  That is ‘the way’ for a good PM to work.

A few months ago, the press was pretty bad for climate scientists.  From what you were hearing, it sounded like they made up the whole of climate change.  They were fudging results, sending fake emails, and if you believed some people, were the devil incarnate.

The problem is that now many folks have ‘written off’ the warnings of climate scientists because of that bad press.

Now it turns out that several independent agencies have – with the exceptions of a few minor mistakes of judgment – cleared the findings of the scientists.

In this story, from the BBC, for example, the conclusion of a Dutch government panel was that there were “no errors that would undermine the main conclusions” on probable impacts of climate change.

We urge you to make up your own mind.  One way to do that is to get informed.  And one way to do that is to check out this very well-researched, and heavily hypertexed “history of global warming” by physicist turned historian Spencer Weart.

One other resource we’d like you to check out is “The Six Americas”

It’s all about audience.  And whether it’s regarding climate change or scope creep, project managers need to know their audience.  In this case (well, this is EarthPM after all) it is indeed about climate change.

Studies at George Mason University determined that there are really six different audiences – or mindsets – about climate change:

  • The Alarmed
  • The Concerned
  • The Cautious
  • The Unconcerned
  • The Doubtful
  • The Dismissive

The full report is summarized in this compact PDF.

But you can see in the image below that the audience is split along these six mindsets and if you wanted to get your green project message across you should understand each audience.  Again, this could be true for ANY message.

sixamericas

So consider your audience, collect facts, and look at aspects of your project – including green aspects – in a fair and balanced way.

July 26, 2010 by RichMaltzman


Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

Follow the Money-US Political Oil Ties

Following the Oil Money: How ‘Slick’ are Your Representatives?

I recently wrote a post about the BP Republicans in Congress. Those are the no-brainers like Joe Barton who apologized to the now infamous oil (spilling) company because President Obama took some semblance of leadership on the issue by forcing BP to set aside billions for the relief effort.

bipartisan oil money

The actual list of BP Republicans was put together by the Democratic National Committee and I took a lot of guff for harboring “one-sided,” “partisan” and [insert other buzzword] politics.

Now while I regret no part of the word-lashing we gave these frankly out-of-touch and steeped-in-oil-money Republicans (Joe Barton is the leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives), those who admonished me are not wrong, either.

oil money bp republicans

Obviously, the DNC is not an impartial source of information, and while Barton and the BP Republicans are, in my opinion, fools, at least they had the wherewithal to openly stand up for their benefactors. Many Democrats in Congress will loudly scold BP for its negligence and incompetence but quietly take their money at the same time, defending them in any way they can in the legislative process (i.e. yell NAY, vote YEA).

Democrat Chet Edwards (TX) is the second-leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives.

bp oil spill logoSo I thought hard about writing up a “Who are the BP Democrats?” piece in fairness, and knowing even without looking at any data that perhaps the only non-partisan deals in Washington were political contributions, especially from the energy industry. However, when I did look at the data, I noticed BP contributions were small potatoes in the grand scheme of oil and gas donations; BP is not even in the top 75 percent of total contributions by company in either house.

Nevertheless, oil money flows freely and abundantly throughout Congress, and like tributaries, the majority of senators and representatives feed into a system that carefully and quietly protects dirty energy interests.

The proof-laden pudding containing all this information regarding oil money is a web tool developed by Oil Change International. There you can follow every dime of oil money straight to its Congressperson.

For instance, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has accepted nearly $34,000 of oil money since 1999, although very little since 2002, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Kerry’s co-author of recent climate change legislation, has received nearly $100,000 since 1999.

You can also check contributions during political campaigns. Barack Obama received $898, 251 from oil companies during his winning 2008 campaign, most of that coming from ExxonMobil ($113,646). BP gave President Obama $39,405.

Obama’s rival, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), blew everybody out of the water in oil contributions. He pulled in more than $2.4 million from oil and gas companies, spread out over a wide range of sources. McCain did receive a comparatively small $18,850 from BP.

Bear in mind that every major party candidate, including the likes of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, and Bill Richardson, took money from oil companies during their 2008 campaign. And in an election system where the candidate with the most money tends to win, who’s going to turn it down?congress oil money Not to excuse politicians that prize oil companies over constituents, but the problem may be more systemic than it is individual.

The oil and gas industry has in the realm of 600 registered lobbyists pestering Capitol Hill, and three out of every four of them once worked for the federal government. That, in political jargon, is what you call a revolving door (by far the most used door in D.C.).

How does an out-of-work shrimper in Louisiana stand up against that?

Whether Republican or Democrat, the money can be followed — as required by law — and it’s important that we follow it. This way, we can know why on one hand John Kerry wants to put a cap on carbon emissions but on the other votes no on ending tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

Here are the top 10 recipients of oil and gas contributions in each house during the current 111th Congress:

Top Ten House Members (contributions 2009-2010)

  1. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX) – $85,770
  2. Chet Edwards (D-TX) – $73,430
  3. Michael Conaway (R-TX) – $72,800
  4. Eric Cantor (R-VA) – $69,400
  5. David Daniel Boren (D-OK) – $65,100
  6. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) – $64,750
  7. Peter G. Olson (R-TX) – $54,400
  8. Michael Avery Ross (D-AR) – $54,250
  9. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) – $49,450
  10. John Calvin Fleming Jr. (R-LA) – $44,800

Top Ten Senate Members (contributions 2009-2010)

  1. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR) – $216,700
  2. David Vitter (R-LA) – 170,200
  3. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – $146,550
  4. Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) – $117,650
  5. John Cornyn (R-TX) – $87,575
  6. Thomas Coburn (R-OK) – $76,500
  7. Arlen Specter (D-PA) – $74,000
  8. Byron Dorgon (D-ND) – $70,950
  9. Evan Bayh (D-IN) – $62,150
  10. James Demint (R-SC) – $58,850

Look to Oil Change International to learn more about oil contributions for these as well as your own representatives in Congress. Follow the money and then follow their actions. Connections between the two are hard to miss.

Also check out OpenSecrets.org for more comprehensive information on campaign contributions to senators and representatives.

BP Oil Logo: Seven-Sided Cube & Congress Oil Money: Not the Answer

Tags: OilPolitics & Legislation
July 28, 2010 by TaylenPeterson

Oil and US Politics-Following the Oil Money

Following the Oil Money: How ‘Slick’ are Your Representatives?

I recently wrote a post about the BP Republicans in Congress. Those are the no-brainers like Joe Barton who apologized to the now infamous oil (spilling) company because President Obama took some semblance of leadership on the issue by forcing BP to set aside billions for the relief effort.

bipartisan oil money

The actual list of BP Republicans was put together by the Democratic National Committee and I took a lot of guff for harboring “one-sided,” “partisan” and [insert other buzzword] politics. 

Now while I regret no part of the word-lashing we gave these frankly out-of-touch and steeped-in-oil-money Republicans (Joe Barton is the leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives), those who admonished me are not wrong, either.

oil money bp republicans

Obviously, the DNC is not an impartial source of information, and while Barton and the BP Republicans are, in my opinion, fools, at least they had the wherewithal to openly stand up for their benefactors. Many Democrats in Congress will loudly scold BP for its negligence and incompetence but quietly take their money at the same time, defending them in any way they can in the legislative process (i.e. yell NAY, vote YEA).

Democrat Chet Edwards (TX) is the second-leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives.

bp oil spill logoSo I thought hard about writing up a “Who are the BP Democrats?” piece in fairness, and knowing even without looking at any data that perhaps the only non-partisan deals in Washington were political contributions, especially from the energy industry. However, when I did look at the data, I noticed BP contributions were small potatoes in the grand scheme of oil and gas donations; BP is not even in the top 75 percent of total contributions by company in either house.

Nevertheless, oil money flows freely and abundantly throughout Congress, and like tributaries, the majority of senators and representatives feed into a system that carefully and quietly protects dirty energy interests.

The proof-laden pudding containing all this information regarding oil money is a web tool developed by Oil Change International. There you can follow every dime of oil money straight to its Congressperson.

For instance, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has accepted nearly $34,000 of oil money since 1999, although very little since 2002, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Kerry’s co-author of recent climate change legislation, has received nearly $100,000 since 1999.

You can also check contributions during political campaigns. Barack Obama received $898, 251 from oil companies during his winning 2008 campaign, most of that coming from ExxonMobil ($113,646). BP gave President Obama $39,405.

Obama’s rival, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), blew everybody out of the water in oil contributions. He pulled in more than $2.4 million from oil and gas companies, spread out over a wide range of sources. McCain did receive a comparatively small $18,850 from BP.

Bear in mind that every major party candidate, including the likes of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, and Bill Richardson, took money from oil companies during their 2008 campaign. And in an election system where the candidate with the most money tends to win, who’s going to turn it down?congress oil money Not to excuse politicians that prize oil companies over constituents, but the problem may be more systemic than it is individual.

The oil and gas industry has in the realm of 600 registered lobbyists pestering Capitol Hill, and three out of every four of them once worked for the federal government. That, in political jargon, is what you call a revolving door (by far the most used door in D.C.).

How does an out-of-work shrimper in Louisiana stand up against that?

Whether Republican or Democrat, the money can be followed — as required by law — and it’s important that we follow it. This way, we can know why on one hand John Kerry wants to put a cap on carbon emissions but on the other votes no on ending tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

Here are the top 10 recipients of oil and gas contributions in each house during the current 111th Congress:

Top Ten House Members (contributions 2009-2010)

  1. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX) – $85,770
  2. Chet Edwards (D-TX) – $73,430
  3. Michael Conaway (R-TX) – $72,800
  4. Eric Cantor (R-VA) – $69,400
  5. David Daniel Boren (D-OK) – $65,100
  6. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) – $64,750
  7. Peter G. Olson (R-TX) – $54,400
  8. Michael Avery Ross (D-AR) – $54,250
  9. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) – $49,450
  10. John Calvin Fleming Jr. (R-LA) – $44,800

Top Ten Senate Members (contributions 2009-2010)

  1. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR) – $216,700
  2. David Vitter (R-LA) – 170,200
  3. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – $146,550
  4. Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) – $117,650
  5. John Cornyn (R-TX) – $87,575
  6. Thomas Coburn (R-OK) – $76,500
  7. Arlen Specter (D-PA) – $74,000
  8. Byron Dorgon (D-ND) – $70,950
  9. Evan Bayh (D-IN) – $62,150
  10. James Demint (R-SC) – $58,850

Look to Oil Change International to learn more about oil contributions for these as well as your own representatives in Congress. Follow the money and then follow their actions. Connections between the two are hard to miss.

Also check out OpenSecrets.org for more comprehensive information on campaign contributions to senators and representatives.

BP Oil Logo: Seven-Sided Cube & Congress Oil Money: Not the Answer

July 28, 2010 by TaylenPeterson


Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

New Study Shows Solar Energy is Cheaper than Nuclear

The Holy Grail of the solar industry — reaching grid parity — may no longer be a distant dream. Solar may have already reached that point, at least when compared to nuclear power, according to a new study by two researchers at Duke University.

It’s no secret that the cost of producing photovoltaic cells (PV) has been dropping for years. A PV system today costs just 50 percent of what it did in 1998. Breakthroughs in technology and manufacturing combined with an increase in demand and production have caused the price of solar power to decline steadily. At the same time, estimated costs for building new nuclear power plants have ballooned.

The result of these trends: “In the past year, the lines have crossed in North Carolina,” say study authors John Blackburn and Sam Cunningham. “Electricity from new solar installations is now cheaper than electricity from proposed new nuclear plants.”

If the data analysis is correct, the pricing would represent the “Historic Crossover” claimed in the study’s title.

Two factors not stressed in the study bolster the case for solar even more:

1) North Carolina is not a “sun-rich” state. The savings found in North Carolina are likely to be even greater for states with more sunshine –Arizona, southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, west Texas, Nevada and Utah.

2) The data include only PV-generated electricity, without factoring in what is likely the most encouraging development in solar technology: concentrating solar power (CSP). CSP promises utility scale production and solar thermal storage, making electrical generation practical for at least six hours after sunset.

Power costs are generally measured in cents per kilowatt hour – the cost of the electricity needed to illuminate a 1,000 watt light bulb (for example) for one hour. When the cost of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power fell to 16 cents earlier this year, it “crossed over” the trend-line associated with nuclear power. (see chart below)

Solar-Nuclear cost comparison (from Blackburn and Cunningham)

The authors point out that some commercial scale solar developers are now offering electricity at 14 cents a kWh in North Carolina, a price which is expected to continue to drop.

While the study includes subsidies for both solar and nuclear power, it estimates that if subsidies were removed from solar power, the crossover point would be delayed by a maximum of nine years.

The report is significant not only because it shows solar to be a cheaper source of energy than nuclear. The results are also important because, despite the Senate’s failure to pass a climate and energy bill this year, taxpayers now bear the burden of putting carbon into the atmosphere through a variety of hidden charges – or externalities, as economists call them. Fossil fuels currently account for 70 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. annually. (Nuclear generates 20 percent.)

Having dropped below nuclear power, solar power is now one of the least expensive energy sources in America.

Tags: Alternative Energy Energy Nuclear PowerSolar Power
July 27, 2010 by OshaDavidson18

New Study Shows- Solar power is cheaper than nuclear

The Holy Grail of the solar industry — reaching grid parity — may no longer be a distant dream. Solar may have already reached that point, at least when compared to nuclear power, according to a new study by two researchers at Duke University.

It’s no secret that the cost of producing photovoltaic cells (PV) has been dropping for years. A PV system today costs just 50 percent of what it did in 1998. Breakthroughs in technology and manufacturing combined with an increase in demand and production have caused the price of solar power to decline steadily. At the same time, estimated costs for building new nuclear power plants have ballooned.

The result of these trends: “In the past year, the lines have crossed in North Carolina,” say study authors John Blackburn and Sam Cunningham. “Electricity from new solar installations is now cheaper than electricity from proposed new nuclear plants.”

If the data analysis is correct, the pricing would represent the “Historic Crossover” claimed in the study’s title.

Two factors not stressed in the study bolster the case for solar even more:

1) North Carolina is not a “sun-rich” state. The savings found in North Carolina are likely to be even greater for states with more sunshine –Arizona, southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, west Texas, Nevada and Utah.

2) The data include only PV-generated electricity, without factoring in what is likely the most encouraging development in solar technology: concentrating solar power (CSP). CSP promises utility scale production and solar thermal storage, making electrical generation practical for at least six hours after sunset.

Power costs are generally measured in cents per kilowatt hour – the cost of the electricity needed to illuminate a 1,000 watt light bulb (for example) for one hour. When the cost of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power fell to 16 cents earlier this year, it “crossed over” the trend-line associated with nuclear power. (see chart below)

Solar-Nuclear cost comparison (from Blackburn and Cunningham)


The authors point out that some commercial scale solar developers are now offering electricity at 14 cents a kWh in North Carolina, a price which is expected to continue to drop.

While the study includes subsidies for both solar and nuclear power, it estimates that if subsidies were removed from solar power, the crossover point would be delayed by a maximum of nine years.

The report is significant not only because it shows solar to be a cheaper source of energy than nuclear. The results are also important because, despite the Senate’s failure to pass a climate and energy bill this year, taxpayers now bear the burden of putting carbon into the atmosphere through a variety of hidden charges – or externalities, as economists call them. Fossil fuels currently account for 70 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. annually. (Nuclear generates 20 percent.)

Having dropped below nuclear power, solar power is now one of the least expensive energy sources in America.

July 27, 2010 by OshaDavidson
18


Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

General Contractor-Green Builder-Home Improvement Specialist- StLouis MO -Build a Green St Louis! Solar + Energy Conservation

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