[GWSG] Tiny pv; record heat; Google on wind; geoengineering?; USFS roadmap; UK earth watch; EPA on tar sands; energy agreement

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Thu Jul 22 15:26:36 EDT 2010

1.  Work with nanoscale photovoltaics promises to reduce silicon use to the point that “silicon is no longer the dominant cost, but a negligible one.”  By using reflective materials which ricochet the light, equivalent power is produced using 1% of the silicon in a standard photovoltaic cell.  The target is to get well below $1 a constructed watt.  http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/61141/title/The_incredible_shrinking_solar_cell

2.  The first half of this year was the hottest on record.  http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats.html

3.  Google has entered into a 20-year contract to power its data centers with wind. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100720/wr_nm/us_google_windpower

4.  A Nature Geoscience study suggests that geoengineering through reflective materials in the atmosphere might benefit one area while degrading the climate in another. http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=is-the-cure-geoengineering-worse-th-2010-07-19  Geoengineering has some connections with conservatives who see it as a way to adjust to climate change without altering our energy base from fossil fuels.  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727696.100-an-evil-atmosphere-is-forming-around-geoengineering.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=climate-change  No one has yet proposed a scheme which would protect the oceans from acidifying as CO2 levels increase, to my knowledge.

5.    The US Forest Service has adopted a National Roadmap which adapts policies to climate change.  http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/07/21/21greenwire-forest-service-shifts-strategy-to-address-chan-26203.html

6.  England is opening a center for monitoring the earth from space.  Among other things, it will track concentrations of greenhouse gasses and the health of forests and oceans.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10705614

7.  The EPA is objecting to the State Department’s environmental impact statement on the construction of a third pipeline to carry oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US.  The gist of the EPA letter is that until the horrendous destructiveness (my phrase) of the tar sands process is somehow alleviated, we should not be transporting (read using) it.  http://yosemite.epa.gov/oeca/webeis.nsf/%28PDFView%29/20100126/$file/20100126.PDF?OpenElement  An informative Climate Progress report on the tar sands project and the EPA letter:  http://climateprogress.org/2010/07/22/epa-slams-state-department-tar-sands-pipeline-study/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

8.  Ministers from 24 countries gathering in Washington for the first Ministerial Meeting on Clean Energy have agreed to a program of 11 initiatives which they expect to render unnecessary the construction of 500 mid-size power plants in the next 20 years.  The range of new programs is quite broad (and exciting) and will involve hundreds of millions of dollars in commitments.  http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/07/20/20greenwire-energy-ministers-endorse-clean-tech-measures-b-89532.html

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