“ Iceland’s 300+ glaciers losing 11 billion tons of ice a year. Several have already melted away, and many more will disappear in the next decade. ”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. came to Crown Town, and all he wants to talk about is coal ash.
Article also mentions serious pollution from coal power plants:
* Of the 274 coal plants that discharge coal ash and scrubber wastewater into waterways, nearly 70 percent (188) have no limits on the toxics most commonly found in these discharges (arsenic, boron, cadmium, lead, mercury, and selenium) that are dumped directly into rivers, lakes, streams and bays.
* Of these 274 coal plants, more than one-third (102) have no requirements to monitor or report discharges of these toxic metals to government agencies or the public.
* A total of 71 coal plants surveyed discharge toxic water pollution into rivers, lakes, streams and bays that have already been declared impaired due to poor water quality. Of these plants that are dumping toxic metals into impaired waterways, more than three out of four coal plants (59) have no permit that limits the amount of toxic metals it can dump.
* Nearly half of the coal plants surveyed (187) are operating with an expired Clean Water Act permit. 53 of these power plants are operating with permits that expired five or more years ago.
Read the report: Closing the Floodgates: How the Coal Industry is Poisoning Water
Should the radioactive forests preemptively be cut down?
For 26 years, forests around Chernobyl have been absorbing radioactive elements but a fire would send them skyward again – a concern as summers grow longer, hotter and drier.
Combined with changes in climate, these overcrowded pines are a prescription for wildfire. In their assessment of the potential risks of a worst-case fire, Zibtsev and the team of international scientists concluded that much of the Chernobyl forest is “in high danger of burning.”
ROCKVILLE, Maryland (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday approved plans to build the first new nuclear power plant in more than 30 years, despite objections of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman, despite objections of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman, who cited safety concerns stemming from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The NRC voted 4-1 to allow Atlanta-based Southern Co to build and operate two new nuclear power reactors at its existing Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. The units will cost Southern and partners about $14 billion and enter service as soon as 2016 and 2017.
No nuclear power plants have been licensed in the United States since the partial meltdown of the reactor core of the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979. After the accident, the NRC adopted more stringent safety standards, which caused construction costs for nuclear plants to skyrocket and stopped dozens of planned plants in their tracks.
*This post is for anon, who earlier this evening asked me to update a previous post on new plants in the US. No update is needed. There have been no new nuclear power plants allowed to be built in the US since 1978. Anon may have been referring to applications for new plants or perhaps rehabs of old power plants.
The U.S. vs. Germany on solar energy
Also, Media Matters is fantastic…
Fox News says: The future for solar power in the U.S. is “dim” because we don’t get as much sunlight as Germany.
Thoughts on Phoenix New Times column Solar Eclipsed: Why the Sun Won't Power Phoenix Despite an Industry Boom?
Sorry, I’m not an energy guy, I’m into environmental risk.
I will note that, like most environmental articles, it concludes with zero solutions. Many of my long-term followers will know this is a pet peeve of mine.
Journalists have to get with the program in this regard when they present a problem to the public. They should, in 2013 and going forward, equally invest exploring options and solutions to the same extent as they used to get the facts of the story. There are plenty of tools and techniques he could have discussed to respond to this problem. Why didn’t he present solutions? That article is 5,000 words long! 10x the length of regular reports!
I think you should demand that, going forward, half his words should be dedicated to exploring options. Not pushing them, but discussing them as a way of “informing the public of the facts.” You might be surprised by the response if you ask.
Did you know that you can shape how subsidies work? Did you know that you can submit your own draft legislation? Did you know that you can help change the permitting, building, and zoning laws in your town? Probably not. Yet those are the very solutions that this long-winded article leaves out.
Write to the author and demand he stop with the old school journalism and start empowering his readers with real tools to stop the harms he’s exposing. (He might respond with some lazy trope that he can’t dip into advocacy. He’s wrong. Exploring 5 or 10 solutions to a problem is providing factual information. Journalists know the difference. So, preempt this scaredy-cat reply by asking what’s the point of reporting any problem if it’s not subsuming a public action for change?).
Decent (not great) primer on geoengineering. Worth a skim since my next post is on that batshiat crazy guy who dumped 100 tons of rusty iron dust into the ocean last week - just to see what would happen.
I know, it’s a carbon story - not my style. What’s most interesting to me, though, is the legal questions behind geoengineering.
For example, let’s say that geoengineering is a good option, one that could counter global warming and cool the earth just enough to make things safer. There are dozens of ways to do this, as the article points out. Like, the dudes (and they are mostly dudes) from DARPA send a big mirror into orbit to reflect the sun’s rays. Or someone figures out a way to create more clouds in the sky, which would then reflect the sun’s energy back into spaceblivion. Aaannd a presto! No more climate change.
Great news, right? But, and this is the legal bit, which country should be in control of such projects? Who decides how much geoengineering is just right?
What happens if a rogue nation decides to mess with the earth’s atmosphere for geo-political-advantage-of-doomy-doom??! How (and whom) would legally enforce this system, especially if someone screwed up? Should China or, say, Afghanistan hold the keys to geoengineering technology? Conversely, one can easily imagine a coalition of states - China, USA, the EU, maybe Brazil etc. - getting together to run this system. Which court system would hold this coalition responsible for our doomed existence? And other rhetorical, legal mind-fucks.
What Is Geoengineering and Why Is It Considered a Climate Change Solution?
Geoengineering is a word that means many different things to many different people. Typically what people call geoengineering is divided into two major classes. There are approaches which attempt to reduce the amount of climate change produced by an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and there are approaches that try to remove greenhouse gases that have already been released to the atmosphere.
The Earth is warmed by sunlight and the heat that is absorbed by the Earth is later re-radiated back to space. Greenhouse gases make it more difficult for the Earth to radiate energy to space. So the two main ways you can cause Earth to cool are either to create conditions such that Earth absorbs less sunlight or make it easier for the Earth to radiate heat energy back to space.
The first category of approaches typically includes things like: putting giant satellites in space to deflect sunlight away from Earth, putting tiny particles in the stratosphere, whitening clouds over the ocean, or perhaps whitening roofs or planting lighter [colored] crops. They are all attempts to deflect sunlight away from Earth.
The second allows more heat energy to escape.
There is one more category that some people propose: that we might take heat that exists near the surface of the Earth and stuff it down deep into the ocean. This hasn’t been looked at very much. But it’s another way of altering Earth’s surface temperatures.
Why do we even need to think about this?
Reblogging to show a common problem with enviro-reporting.
An un-redacted version of a recently released Nuclear Regulatory Commission report highlights the threat that flooding poses to nuclear power plants located near large dams — and suggests that the NRC has misled the public for years about the severity of the threat, according to engineers and nuclear safety advocates…
The NRC report identifies flood threats from upstream dams at nearly three dozen other nuclear facilities in the United States, including the Fort Calhoun Station in Nebraska, the Prairie Island facility in Minnesota and the Watts Bar plant in Tennessee, among others. More at HuffPo
Important discovery, but the reporting seems over the top. Comparing the threat, for example, of a fresh-water river flood to a salt-water tsunami from the ocean is plainly disingenuous and frankly journalistically lazy.
I get that nuclear power plants are vulnerable to environmental change and climate impacts. Indeed, I have written about the threats several times, but this story smells of fear-mongering.
It’s an interesting article, no doubt. It shows that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission published two different reports, one of which was published publicly.
But discovering that there are two (or more) versions of a report is certainly not proof of a “cover-up.” Writing different versions of the same report is standard operating procedure to my mind.
The NRC has historically been blunt about environmental threats to nuclear power plants - indeed, that’s a primary objective of the commission. One would need crystal clear evidence to successfully accuse such a high-level, highly-scrutinized organization.
Besides, the very flood vulnerabilities discussed in both versions of the report are in fact being mitigated. So, what exactly is the problem here?
Finally, as is common with environmental reporting, the piece does not provide a plan of action to resolve the issue. It doesn’t say that the commission should be disbanded and replaced, nor show that the work being done to mitigate floods are flawed. The article subsumes the public will act, which is plainly disproportionate to the accusation at hand.