[GWSG] Now what?; powering the night; solar a/c; 7,000 colleges commit; the Senate prepares

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Sat Jul 13 10:32:54 EDT 2019

1. Stephen Mulkey assesses the likelihood that we will avoid serious climate disruption and asks “So, what do we do now that we know we are screwed?”  His answer gives us a supply of satisfying projects: educate the young, make fully informed plans to confront the world we have shaped, and commit to supporting the necessary changes. https://environmentalcentury.net/2019/07/10/so-what-do-we-do-now-that-we-know-we-are-screwed/
So, what do we do now that we know we are screwed<https://environmentalcentury.net/2019/07/10/so-what-do-we-do-now-that-we-know-we-are-screwed/>
Published in Medium 9 July 2019

I prefer to think of the essay as “So, what do we do now that we are headed for more suffering and may even be screwed?” Optimist that I am.

2. A new thermal battery promises 24-hour solar power. It is applicable mostly to large industrial units but is also being coupled with a Stirling dish in 46 kw units, which sounds right for neighborhood microgrids. https://phys.org/news/2019-07-solar-power-night-renewable-energy.html
Solar power system that works at night a renewable energy game-changer - phys.org<https://phys.org/news/2019-07-solar-power-night-renewable-energy.html>
An innovative thermal battery being developed by Curtin University researchers will be key to a solar power system capable of producing electricity overnight, rivaling fossil fuels as a viable ...

3. Stirling heat engines, an early 19th Century technology, haven’t been in the news recently. I’m glad to see them turning up again. The engines use the expansion and contraction of gas when heated and cooled to drive a turbine and are free from water use and polluting production processes. Here’s one exotic but promising thermo-acoustic application for air conditioning being produced in Holland. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2019/01/18/this-dutch-startup-converts-heat-into-cold-via-a-stirling-engine-and-could-just-save-the-planet/#5c16af796744
This Dutch Startup Converts Heat Into Cold Via A Stirling Engine, And Could Just Save The Planet<https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2019/01/18/this-dutch-startup-converts-heat-into-cold-via-a-stirling-engine-and-could-just-save-the-planet/#5c16af796744>
This is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. It sounds like magic, or a perpetual motion machine, but it relies on well-understood principles of thermo acoustics and was originally ...

4. Over 7,000 institutions of higher education have signed a letter declaring a climate emergency and committing to a three-part plan:   1. Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;
2. Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
3. Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programs. https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-emergency-colleges-universities-2639161884.html?rebelltitem=5#rebelltitem5
7,000 Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency, With a Plan to Fight It<https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-emergency-colleges-universities-2639161884.html?rebelltitem=5#rebelltitem5>
"What we teach shapes the future. We welcome this commitment from universities to go climate neutral by 2030 and to scale-up their efforts on campus," said UNEP executive director Inger Andersen. "Young people are increasingly at the forefront of calls for more action on climate and environmental challenges. Initiatives which directly involve the youth in this critical work are a valuable contribution to achieving environmental sustainability."The declaration follows months of students — from all levels of education — taking to the streets around the world as part of the school strike for climate movement, which calls on governments and powerful institutions to pursue bolder policies targeting the human-caused climate crisis.Praising the college and universities' letter on Wednesday, Charlotte Bonner of Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS) said that "young people around the world feel that schools, colleges, and universities have been too slow to react to the crisis that is now bearing down on us.

Stephen Mulkey might agree that the letter represents a commitment to educating the young, the first project he suggests, and is what a university should be doing now. I would like to see the charge broadened to educational institutions in general.

5. The Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis is working toward effective climate measures should it become possible to adopt them after the elections next year. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/senate-democrats-are-getting-head-start-climate-change/593824/
Brian Schatz's Plan for the Climate Special Committee - The Atlantic<https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/senate-democrats-are-getting-head-start-climate-change/593824/>
It will be almost another 18 months until Democrats can even think of passing climate legislation. In the 2020 election, they must defeat President Donald Trump, reclaim the Senate, and retain a ...

Senator Schatz and his colleagues are embarked on Stephen Mulkey’s second project, informed planning. We need to be doing that every level. Everyone could be involved in prodding local authorities until they are forced to plan. We need the Senate, state legislatures, and city councils acting in coordination.

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