Another Week in the Ecological Crisis, January 26, 2014

This weekly posting is brought to you courtesy of H. E. Taylor. Happy reading, I hope you enjoy this week’s Global Warming news roundup

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Information Overload is Pattern Recognition

January 26, 2014

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Here’s a wee chuckle for ye:

The European Commission proposed a 40% GHG reduction, with a renewables target of 27% and lots of wriggle room. See also:

The World Economic Forum went down in Davos:

The World Future Energy Summit went down in Abu Dhabi this week:

A Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans meeting went down in Hobart this week:

Another move in the potash wrangle came up this week:

    • 2014/01/20: CBC: Uralkali inks Chinese potash deal at $305 a tonne


      In its third quarter results last fall, PotashCorp revealed that the average price it received for a tonne of potash fell by more than a quarter to $307 a tonne, down from $429 a year ago. The original Uralkali agreement had set the floor price of potash at around $400 a tonne. The new deal is well below that but is nonetheless seen by some as positive news for potash as it sets a floor price and ending uncertainty.

The idea of California smothered in Chinese pollution seemed to catch on:

How is the German Energy Transition [Energiewende] doing?

  • 2014/01/21: NYT: German Energy Official Sounds a Warning

    Germany’s new energy minister on Tuesday struck a sobering tone about the country’s ambitious goals for making its energy sector more reliant on renewable sources, saying that rising costs risked losing public support and jeopardizing the powerful German industrial base. The minister, Sigmar Gabriel, in his first major policy speech, said at an annual energy conference organized by the publication Handelsblatt in Berlin that annual consumer costs for renewables of about 24 billion euros, or about $32.5 billion, were already pushing the limits of what the German economy, Europe’s most powerful, could handle. “We need to keep in mind that the whole economic future of our country is riding on this,” said Mr. Gabriel, who is responsible for the Energiewende, or energy transformation.

  • 2014/01/22: RNE: Will Germany meet its renewable energy targets?

And on the Bottom Line:

Who’s getting the subsidies?

John Cook and friends continue their point-counterpoint articles:

Various psychological angles arise in considerations of the ecological crisis:

A note on theFukushima disaster:

It is evident that the Fukushima disaster is going to persist for some time. TEPCO says 6 to 9 months. The previous Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, said decades. Now the Japanese government is talking about 30 years. [Whoops, that has now been updated to 40 years.]

And the IAEA is now saying 40 years too.

[Now some people are talking about a century or more. Sealing it in concrete for 500 years.]

We’ll see.

At any rate this situation is not going to be resolved any time soon and deserves its own section.


It is very difficult to know for sure what is really going on at Fukushima. Between the company [TEPCO], the Japanese government, the Japanese regulator [NISA], the international monitor [IAEA], as well as independent analysts and commentators, there is a confusing mish-mash of information. One has to evaluate both the content and the source of propagated information.

How knowledgeable are they [about nuclear power and about Japan]?

Do they have an agenda?

Are they pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear?

Do they want to write a good news story?

Do they want to write a bad news story?

Where do they rate on a scale of sensationalism?

Where do they rate on a scale of play-it-down-ness?

One fundamental question I would like to see answered:

If the reactors are in meltdown, how can they be in cold shutdown?

Not much good news coming out of Fukushima:

Post Fukushima, nuclear policies are in flux around the world:

    • 2014/01/21: BBerg: Tepco Wins Approval for Post-Disaster Plan to Rebuild

      Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) won the support of the government and banks for a plan to rebuild its business, the latest step in the recovery from the nuclear disaster three years ago that almost destroyed the company. The agreement between the utility, now under government control, and its biggest lenders includes more than 1 trillion yen ($9.6 billion) in cost cuts. The plan hinges on the restart of two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s biggest, as early as July. Most of the public oppose restarting Japan’s 48 reactors, which are all offline for safety checks.

The Arctic melt continues to garner attention:

As for the charismatic megafauna:

The tele-connection of Antarctic, North and tropical climates is notable:

That Damoclean sword still hangs overhead:

As for the geopolitics of Arctic resources:

  • 2014/01/23: Reuters: U.S. appeals court throws Arctic drilling into further doubt

    Juneau, Alaska – A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the U.S. Interior Department wrongly awarded offshore oil leases in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska in 2008 without considering the full range of environmental risks posed by drilling in the Arctic. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals s the on-going dispute – pitting environmental groups and Native Alaska tribes against the federal government and energy companies – back to U.S. District in Anchorage, Alaska. It was not immediately clear what the decision would mean for the oil company Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its plans, revealed in December, to resume exploratory drilling this coming summer in the Chukchi.

  • 2014/01/23: TP:JR: Shell’s Arctic Offshore Drilling Ambitions Stymied In Appeals Court
  • 2014/01/22: WaPo: Arctic lease sale flawed, appeals court rules
  • 2014/01/21: G&M: New deal nears on ‘polar code’ to regulate Arctic shipping

    Talks are accelerating on binding pollution and safety rules for shipping through Arctic waters, a long-delayed objective that could assuage Canadian concerns as climate change makes the Northwest Passage increasingly attractive to foreign vessels. A draft of this polar code should be completed shortly by members of the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency, and take effect as early as 2016, shipping associations in Norway and Canada predict. Russia’s Northern Sea Route and Canada’s Northwest Passage are two Arctic thoroughfares that can cut shipping time for foreign vessels travelling between Asia and Europe. Shrinking summer sea ice, a consequence of global warming, is expected to make transits through both routes easier in the decades ahead.

  • 2014/01/21: NatureN: Polar drilling problems revealed

    Report into failings of expedition to explore Antarctic lake finds equipment to blame — but complications can be fixed.

  • 2014/01/20: EurActiv: Oil firms cool over Greenland oil drilling

    None of the oil companies that have a license to drill in the seas surrounding Greenland have applied for one in 2014, according to the environment NGO Greenpeace.

While in Antarctica:

The food crisis is ongoing:

The state of the world’s fisheries is a concern. See also, and:

Regarding the genetic modification of food:

Regarding labelling GM food:

And how are we going to feed 9 billion, 10 billion, 15 billion?

A mercifully relatively quiet week in the hurricane wars:

Some say a stalled Lingling, some say Tropical Depression Agaton, at any rate the Philippines got soaked, again:



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