[GWSG] Dangerous plants; clouds & sensitivity; attack on net metering; attack on Nevada Energy; missing CH4

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Mon May 30 15:10:34 EDT 2016

1.  Under stress from drought and heat many plants produce toxins.  The plants are also weakened and become more susceptible to noxious fungi.  The UN Environmental Program reports that nitrates, hydrogen cyanide, and aflatoxins are the primary problems.  Risks vary by crop; grains, beans, and fruits are represented in the lists. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/27/3782652/climate-change-toxic-crops/   The relevant section of the UNEP report is Poisoned Chalice, beginning on page 54.  Drought promotes production of toxic nitrates, and rainfall or irrigation after drought promotes hydrogen cyanide.  Heat promotes fungi growth, which produces aflatoxins.  Programs are planned to develop and promote crops resistant to the toxic processes.  Some contamination is already documented for some areas and will generally spread toward the poles as the earth warms.  http://web.unep.org/frontiers/sites/unep.org.frontiers/files/documents/unep_frontiers_2016.pdf

2.  Sulfuric acid has been thought to be the major factor in cloud formation.  Organic substances emitted by trees work to form clouds even in the absence of sulfuric acid, though, so the preindustrial world may have been cloudier (and so more reflective of solar heat) than we thought, and the earth's climate may be less sensitive to emitted carbon.  The upper ranges of global warming predictions may need to be trimmed.  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/05/earth-s-climate-may-not-warm-quickly-expected-suggest-new-cloud-studies?utm_campaign=news_weekly_2016-05-27&et_rid=17155387&et_cid=518691

3.  Interests claiming that net metering of rooftop solar, which allows owners to sell excess power to the utility at retail rates, places a burden on other customers, are ignoring the general benefits.  When those are included net metering of rooftop solar is of financial benefit to everyone.  Nevada's Public Utilities Commission, for example, ignored nine of the eleven factors which the PUCN itself had identified as involved in the general financial impact of net metering.  The PUCN said it didn't have time to look at those factors.  Other interests are obviously in play than financial analysis, interests which are no friend of the transition to renewable energy.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/05/26/some-states-may-be-making-a-big-mistake-about-rooftop-solar/  ALEC has made net metering one of its targets.  https://www.alec.org/model-policy/updating-net-metering-policies-resolution/

4.  As described in the first section of this sound recording by The Energy Gang on Soundcloud, MGM Resorts in Nevada has opted out of coverage by Nevada Power in order to buy their own renewable power contracts.  They have agreed to pay a $87 million penalty to exit the utility.  Seventeen states make such arrangements possible, some with no penalty.  Prices for renewable energy have fallen so low that utilities place themselves in jeopardy by adhering to fossil fuels and outmoded business plans.  At 15.40 the discussion turns to the link between the attack on net metering and the loss of MGM.       https://climatecrocks.com/2016/05/30/the-weekend-wonk-the-utility-death-spiral-has-begun/

At about minute 21 the talk turns to Exxon and its recent battle with shareholders.  At 31.45, the group takes up the implications of the low water level of Lake Mead, which supplies five states with power and water.

5.  A three-year Norwegian study finds that little of the methane being released from the Arctic sea bed reaches the atmosphere.  The causes are obscure and could be temporary.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160527112654.htm  ?

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