Science news September 23rd
Posted on 23 September 2010 by e-news
Solar PV in Germany continues to boom
In 2009 Germany installed 3.8GW or 3800MW of Solar PV ,approximately one of every two newly installed modules worldwide. 3800MW is the equivalent energy production (in full midday summer sun) of 2 large coal fired power stations and in the first half of 2010 Germany installed 3GW or 3000MW of PV meaning they’re on track to 5-6GW for this year
All this with a little government support in a country without the solar resource of Australia.
For more and also see
Climate science for climate sceptics
A great site for those who have to explain climate change to sceptics
A site set up by scientists simply explains the errors in the top 12 common sceptic misconceptions about global warming.
Also the recently deceased respected scientist Steve Schneider appeared on SBS answering questions from sceptical members of the public about climate change. It is available on line.
How Big Oil will try to stop my children from driving electric cars
A lot of money is at stake: if we all switched to electric cars: oil companies would stand to lose everything. Electric cars are quieter, nicer to drive and cheaper to run than a petrol car, and it could produce up to 75% less CO2.
But a lot of money is at stake. In the UK alone, filling up cars with petrol is worth over £1bn in annual, after-tax profits to the oil industry, or about £450 a car over a 10-year lifetime. In contrast, BMW last year made about £150 after tax on each new car it sold. So for the time being at least there is more money in filling up cars than in building them, even at the top end of the market.
This is where the problem lies. For electric cars to become a reality, large parts of the refuelling market will have to change hands – and if we all switch to electric cars, the oil companies stand to lose everything. So as their shareholders would expect, they are investing heavily to avoid this outcome.
In Israel, where energy independence is a matter of national security rather than environmentalism, a charging infrastructure is already under development and electric vehicles will be a reality within five to 10 years, not within 30 or 40 years as the oil industry would like. For the full article…
Fossil Fuel company stocks could tumble by 2015
The emergence of new research from the highly respected Potsdam Institute in Germany has made the issue of market and regulatory impacts resulting from climate change very real.
The Potsdam Institute research says that, if we are to have a reasonable chance of containing global warming to within 2 degrees, we only have a “budget” of 890 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions. This is a fixed budget, because carbon stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. So what is important is how much we emit?—?not when we emit it. If we continue to burn fossil fuels in line with our current business-as-usual approach, then we use up our budgeted emissions by 2024!
To add insult to injury, the quantum of fossil fuels required to emit 890 billion tonnes of CO2 is equivalent to only 25% of proven, economically recoverable reserves. This means that, in theory, 75% of known proven and probable reserves have no economic value.
This has startling implications for investors because there will either be (a) some form of global action that will seek to limit warming to 2 degrees; or (b) no effective action, with the consequence being runaway climate change. These are the only two options we have. The first one severely devalues our fossil fuel reserves as we scramble to reconfigure global energy networks; and the second one, while possibly maintaining the market value of those reserves for longer, is like driving off the edge of a cliff.
Investment in alternative technologies is happening at a reasonable rate, but our incumbent coal, oil and gas extractors have been slow to embrace change. The valuations of companies in these sectors are driven by their proven and probable reserves, so they have a lot of value at risk. To illustrate their significance to investors, they account for more than 25% of the value of the UK stock market (FTSE 100 Index). To read all the article…
Scientist Watches Glacier Melt Beneath His Feet
Earlier this summer, a group of scientists spent two weeks in Indonesia atop a glacier called Puncak Jaya, one of the few remaining tropical glaciers in the world. They were taking samples of ice cores to study the impacts of climate change on the glacier.
Lonnie Thompson, a professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, led the team and what he witnessed shocked him: The glacier was literally melting under their feet. Puncak Jaya is one of the few tropical glaciers remaining in the world, and it’s especially vulnerable to climate change. This makes it especially important to researchers.