Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday 18

Atmospheric CO2 and Global Surface Temperature 800 to 2020

Closing Nuclear Plants Risks Rise in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Report Warns

Fresh division among environmentalists over nuclear energy, the single largest source of low-carbon electricity.

Indian Point nuclear power plant’s containment silos rise along the Hudson river in Buchanan, New York. (Photograph Credit: Julie Jacobson/AP Click to Enlarge.
Looming climate breakdown is opening fresh divisions among environmentalists over nuclear energy, with a major advocacy group calling for struggling nuclear plants to be propped up to avoid losing their low-carbon power.

Nuclear is the single largest source of low-carbon electricity in the US.  But a third of nuclear plants are unprofitable or scheduled to close, risking a rise in greenhouse gas emissions if they are replaced by coal or natural gas, a major Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report has found.

US emissions could increase by as much as 6% if struggling plants are shuttered early, the report warns.  This scenario has put pressure on many environmental groups to re-evaluate their intrinsic opposition to nuclear energy as a dangerous blight that must be eradicated.

Read more at Closing Nuclear Plants Risks Rise in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Report Warns

Likely New House Science Chair Seeks to Move Away from “Suspicion” of Science

If elected, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson will, among other things, bring a different attitude toward climate science.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. (Credit: Chris Maddaloni Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) has never had a conversation with former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt—but she’d like to question him soon about his handling of science at the agency.

It’s been a week since Democrats won enough seats in midterm elections to take control of the House, and Johnson is starting to discuss preliminary ideas for the Science, Space and Technology Committee if she becomes chairwoman, which is expected.

She’s “hoping” Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) will become ranking member of the committee, and thinks Energy Secretary Rick Perry has surprised people.

Johnson has outlined a three-part agenda, including restoring the committee as “a place where science is respected and recognized,” ensuring that the “United States remains the global leader in innovation,” and addressing the “challenge of climate change, starting with acknowledging it is real.”

The committee got “off course” in the past six years under Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), she says.

If she becomes chair, Johnson would be the first African-American woman to lead the Science Committee.  She also was the first registered nurse elected to Congress.

“I think that the fact that [Johnson] has a background in nursing will bring a different perspective ... which will be based on facts and evidence rather than antipathy toward climate change,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, founder of 314 Action, a political action committee aiming to elect scientists to public office.

Read more at Likely New House Science Chair Seeks to Move Away from “Suspicion” of Science

Policies of China, Russia, and Canada Threaten 5C Climate Change, Study Finds

Ranking of countries’ goals shows even EU on course for more than double safe level of warming.

 Vendors near a state-owned coal-fired power plant in China. (Photograph Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
China, Russia, and Canada’s current climate policies would drive the world above a catastrophic 5C of warming by the end of the century, according to a study that ranks the climate goals of different countries.

The US and Australia are only slightly behind with both pushing the global temperature rise dangerously over 4C above pre-industrial levels says the paper, while even the EU, which is usually seen as a climate leader, is on course to more than double the 1.5C that scientists say is a moderately safe level of heating.

The study, published on Friday in the journal Nature Communications, assesses the relationship between each nation’s ambition to cut emissions and the temperature rise that would result if the world followed their example.

The aim of the paper is to inform climate negotiators as they begin a two-year process of ratcheting up climate commitments, which currently fall far short of the 1.5-to-2C goal set in France three years ago.

Read more at Policies of China, Russia, and Canada Threaten 5C Climate Change, Study Finds