NewEnergyNews: 05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Big Bonus From Plugging Cars In
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What About Nuclear?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Renewables Mandate To Beat The Peak
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Global New Energy Now
  • QUICK NEWS, June 20: What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 1)?; What Power Mix Will Beat Climate Change (Part 2)?; New Energy Is NO Threat To U.S, Grid
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Why The U.S. Needs A Western Energy Market
  • QUICK NEWS, June 19: More Artists Join The Climate Fight; U.S. Power Just Hit 10% Wind And Solar; The Dangers Of Oil And Gas Drilling, Detailed
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Bill Maher Talks Jobs In Coal And The Real Problem
  • Weekend Video: A Farmer Defends WindPower
  • Weekend Video: The Secret To EV Success Is Charging Stations
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, June 15:

  • TTTA Thursday-Climate Change Stops Climate Study
  • TTTA Thursday-Survey Shows Millennials Back New Energy Boom
  • TTTA Thursday-Drinking Water From The Sun
  • TTTA Thursday-Ocean Wind Unites Hard Hats And Greens
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Debates About Solar Get Bigger, More Interesting
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Wind And Solar Sidestep Politics
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utilities Respond To Customer Demand For Distributed Energy
  • --------------------------

    --------------------------

    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

    -------------------

    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

    -------------------

    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

    -------------------

    -------------------

      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

    -------------------

    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, June 22:

  • What Does Exxon’s Carbon Tax Mean?
  • The Rump Flails Factlessly At Wind
  • New Energy To Get Bigger And Cheaper
  • EVs To Be Cost-Competitive By 2025

    Saturday, May 31, 2014

    The President Keeps His Promise

    From Sierra Club: "The President promised he would act to tackle the climate crisis and protect the health of our children and grandchildren -- and he is keeping his word. These aren’t just the first-ever protections to clean up carbon pollution from power plants, they represent the largest single step any President has ever taken to fight climate disruption. While we anticipate the official unveiling of this rule on Monday, the Sierra Club's 2.4 million members and supporters proudly applaud this powerful initiative..."

    From the President: “One of the best things we can do is lead the world in producing cleaner, safer energy.”

    From The White House via YouTube

    Thom Friedman Talks About Impacts And Actions

    “Manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable.” From greenmanbucket’s channel via YouTube

    An Intro To Solar

    Terrific primer on solar energy from an Arizona utility. From SRP/Solar Energy Homemade via YouTube

    Friday, May 30, 2014

    WILL THIS CLIMATE CHANGE BE A DO-OVER?

    Climate Change Doomed the Ancients

    Eric H. Cline, May 27, 2014 (NY Times)

    “…[C]limate change has been leading to global conflict — and even the collapse of civilizations — for more than 3,000 years…One of the most vivid examples [not human-caused like today’s climate change but indicative in its impacts] comes from around 1200 B.C. A centuries-long drought in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean regions, contributed to — if not caused — widespread famine, unrest and ultimately the destruction of many once prosperous cities…

    “…It certainly created problems of national security for the great powers of the time. Correspondence between the Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, Cypriots, Minoans, Mycenaeans, Assyrians and Babylonians — effectively, the Group of 8 of the Late Bronze Age — includes warnings of attacks from enemy ships in the Mediterranean. The marauders are thought to have been the Sea Peoples, possibly from the western Mediterranean, who were probably fleeing their island homes because of the drought and famine and were moving across the Mediterranean as both refugees and conquerors…The era that followed is known as the first Dark Ages, during which the thriving economy and cultures of the late second millennium B.C. suddenly ceased to exist…” click here for more

    CHINA’S WIND CHALLENGES

    Infographic: Waste, Poor Planning Blunt China’s Wind Energy Ambitions

    Siqi Han, May 27, 2014 (Wilson Center New Security Beat)

    “China leads the world in installed wind power by a wide margin, but last year, when it came to actual generation, China produced 20 percent less electricity from wind than the United States…[China is also] the largest producer and consumer of coal...[and] the largest investor in renewable energy…But waste and poor planning have left many new wind farms idle or disconnected from power grids…In 2010, more than 30 percent of the country’s wind farms were not connected to a power grid, leading Chinese energy experts to coin the phrase ‘garbage wind’…

    “…There has been some recent progress towards better integrating these new power sources. The national plan is for 11 percent of the country’s energy consumption to come from renewable resources this year…[T]he number of disconnected turbines [dropped] to 19 percent in 2012 and 15 percent in 2013…Last year, the national average for overall curtailment dropped to 11 percent…The United States, notably, has also struggled with underutilization…[but curtailment dropped] as low as one percent in 2013…[I]f China is to ever reach the clean energy future it wants – and others have urged it to towards – these lessons will need to be learned…” click here for more

    INDONESIA PREPS WORLD’S BIGGEST GEOTHERMAL PLANT

    Indonesia to start work on world's biggest geothermal plant in June

    Fathiyah Dahrul and Fergus Jensen with Clarence Fernandez, May 28, 2014 (Reuters)

    “Indonesia will begin construction next month of its long-delayed $1.6-billion Sarulla project, the world's biggest geothermal power plant…Southeast Asia's largest economy, home to the world's largest geothermal resources, is racing to meet power demand growth of more than 7 percent a year, with plans to add 60 gigawatts of capacity to its existing [fossil-fuel dominated] grid by 2022…But the sector has struggled to attract investment because of complex regulations and difficulties securing project finance…

    “…A government plan to derive 12 percent of the country's energy mix from geothermal power by 2025 seems unrealistic…The [330 megawatt Sarulla] project was originally initiated in 1990 but ground to a halt during the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Its first phase is expected to begin operation in 2016, with the next two phases to follow within 18 months of the first phase…[This first geothermal financing since 1997, which involved 8 foreign banks and 4 private companies,] has been heralded as a breakthrough for Indonesia's largely undeveloped 29 gigawatts of geothermal potential…” click here for more

    A RUSH FOR SOLAR IN THE UK

    More Than 120 Large-Scale Solar PV Farms Approved for Construction in the UK…Investment firms rush to accumulate PV assets based on UK’s growing solar farm capacity

    April 28, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “The United Kingdom is forecast to be the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) market in Europe in 2014, fuelled by the rapid growth in ground-mounted solar PV farms. More than 120 large-scale solar PV farms in the UK have recently received project-planning approval, and many of them are targeting completion within the next 12 months…By the end of April 2014, more than 325 solar PV farms in the megawatt (MW) class will have been completed within the UK, with more than 60 different sites having an installed capacity in excess of 10 MW...

    “…An additional 444 large-scale ground-mounted solar PV farms are currently at various stages of planning in the UK, with 124 having planning applications approved and seeking to be installed before the level of support under the Renewable Obligation scheme is reduced in April 2015…[A] thriving secondary market has developed for completed solar PV farms. Based on recent acquisitions of completed solar farms, the UK’s existing solar farm portfolio is valued at approximately £2.5 billion ($4.2 billion)…” click here for more

    Thursday, May 29, 2014

    MORE CONCERN FOR ‘WARMING’ THAN FOR ‘CHANGE’

    Americans care deeply about 'global warming' – but not 'climate change';Yale researchers have found that the two terms, often used interchangeably, generate very different responses

    Suzanne Goldenberg, 27 May 2014 (UK Guardian)

    “…Americans care more deeply when the term ‘global warming’ is used to describe the major environmental challenge. ‘Climate change,’ in contrast, leaves them relatively cold…The two terms are often used interchangeably but they generate very different responses, [according to What’s In A Name? Global Warming Versus Climate Change] from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications...Americans in general were 13% more likely to say that global warming was a bad thing…Latinos were 30% more likely…[and]African-Americans were 20% more likely…George W Bush swapped the term climate change for global warming in 2002 …[because a pollster memo reported] “'climate change' is less frightening than 'global warming'”…The Obama administration, scientists and campaign groups have all struggled with how to communicate with Americans about the global challenge…” click here for more

    HIGH FLYING WIND

    Can This MIT Start-Up Challenge Google's High-Flying Plans for Wind Energy?

    Maxx Chatsko, May 25, 2014 (The Motley Fool)

    “…[A]n MIT start-up has its own plans for the future of tethered wind power. Altaeros Energies has developed the Buoyant Air Turbine, or BAT, to compete with the fixed-wing Airborne Wind Turbine, or AWT, from Google-owned Makani Power…[H]igher-altitude winds are faster and more consistent than those in lower altitudes, the costs associated with installment and production are greatly reduced, and the number of economical sites for wind energy increases substantially…Altaeros and Google are pursuing radically different commercialization strategies. The 30-kilowatt BAT is not designed to compete with or replace conventional tower turbines…Altaeros will commercialize its technology platform [at projected electricity costs of just $0.18 per kilowatt-hour] in pursuit of rapidly deployable applications in remote regions…The market opportunity is actually quite enormous, encompassing rural communities, agricultural operations, disaster relief, military efforts, offshore power applications, and more…Google, on the other hand, aims to disrupt tower-based turbines and steal power-generating customers…After successfully demonstrating a small 30-kilowatt AWT, the company is pursuing a utility-scale product with a capacity of 600 kilowatts…” click here for more

    A BIG SOLAR WIND

    A tower of power: Bizarre half-mile-high structure could produce as much electricity as 100,000 wind turbines

    Jonathan O’Callaghan, May 23, 2014 (UK Daily Mail)

    “…Permission has been granted to build the [half a mile tall] Solar Wind Energy Tower…[in the Arizona desert]…[It can reportedly] produce as much power as the Hoover Dam…The tower works by spraying water in at the top, making air heavy and causing it to fall, which causes 120 huge turbines to turn at the bottom…At peak operation, during a particularly sunny day, the tower can apparently [use downdraft technology to] produce 1,250 megawatt-hours - roughly equivalent to the power output of wind turbines spread over 100,000 acres…But the main advantage of this system, according to the company, is that it can run day and night and it does not rely on particular weather, such as wind or sunshine, to operate…One possible stumbling block could be the cost of the project, which is estimated to be about $1.5 billion…However, Solar Wind Energy have been granted preliminary funding by National Standard Finance, which should make the project feasible…” click here for more

    CITY WIND FROM ARCHIMEDES

    Dutch company launches new-generation urban wind turbines

    Nancy Owano, May 28, 2014 (PhysOrg)

    “…The idea of wind turbines for generating energy in households may draw several arguments against…[because] the yield from current-generation turbines would be too low, along with having to put up with the noisy blades…[but an R&D company] ‘built on the re-invented formulas, drawings and principles of Archimedes’…[claims its Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine] easily fits on the roof of a house just as would solar panels…generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hour of energy [or half of the power consumption of a common household] at a wind-speed of 5m/s…In combination with solar-panels on the roof, a household could be totally self-supporting for its own energy needs…[The Liam’s design also] addresses limitations of efficiency and noise…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: CHINA’S CLIMATE CHANGE CONCERNS

    Climate Change, Migration, and Nontraditional Security Threats in China; Complex Crisis Scenarios and Policy Options for China and the World

    Michael Werz and Lauren Reed May 2014 (Center for American Progress)

    Introduction and Summary

    A changing Pacific region

    Climate change, migration, and sociopolitical conflicts associated with China’s epic economic transformation over the past 35 years are coming to a head in this second decade of the 21st century. These interlaced dynamics are causing internal upheaval and regional instability in and around China, which could complicate or undermine efforts by the United States and Europe to coax China into full adherence to the post-Cold War international system. The consequences of these complex domestic crises—crises that have the potential to spill over China’s borders —pose challenges for regional security, prosperity, and peace.

    The Obama administration clearly understands what is at stake in the region. President Barack Obama, in a speech to the Australian Parliament in November 2011, described the United States as a Pacific nation, promising that his administration “will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future.”1

    As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted in her Foreign Policy article, “America’s Pacific Century,” the United States devoted a vast amount of resources to the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters in the last decade, but the time has come to invest in the Asia-Pacific theater, a region that forecasts show will dominant the economic, political, and security decisions in the 21st century.2

    More recently, in a programmatic speech on the Pacific pivot, Vice President Joe Biden insisted that the United States and its Pacific allies, especially Latin American countries, embrace a similar geographic outlook on the Pacific in order to secure an important strategic achievement—an increasingly democratic and unified region that “connected economically, strategically, and through common values can make a great contribution to a more prosperous and secure Pacific.”3

    Taking these new steps to strengthen Asian bilateral security alliances, engage with regional multilateral institutions, expand trade and investment, and advance democracy and human rights is due in large part to the underlying environmental, demographic, and nontraditional security problems that China is increasingly experiencing—all of them large factors in whether the Asia-Pacific region experiences regional stability and prosperity or encounters an economic slowdown, regional conflict, public dissent, and widespread humanitarian crises.

    These are Chinese internal issues that are not easily influenced by the traditional diplomatic and development tools in the hands of policymakers outside of China. The country and its ruling Communist Party face serious problems that threaten its potential for sustained leadership—domestically, regionally, and internationally. The internal challenges of rapid urbanization, political corruption, labor scarcity, local governments’ soaring debt, housing inflation, massive pollution, and a graying population loom large in China’s path to sustained economic development and becoming a key regional stakeholder.

    China and the United States—pivots of the Pacific Rim

    The Pacific Rim is a primary center of global economic activity. The region exhibits incredible diversity—the economic depth of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore; the technological expertise of Japan, South Korea, and the United States; the natural resources of Australia, Colombia, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, and the United States; the human resources of China and Indonesia; as well as the agricultural productivity of Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and others. A few data points illustrate the scope of this region’s prevalence: The 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum account for approximately 39 percent of the world’s population, approximately 55 percent of world’s gross domestic product, or GDP, and about 44 percent of world trade.4

    The United States and China will increasingly serve as the key pivot points of the Pacific Rim, meaning the two nations will be both strategic partners and competitors, which in turn will require a stable bilateral relationship in order to be constructive. . Yet these ties have been strained in recent years as China assertively pushes territorial claims against its neighbors, including two U.S. treaty allies—the Philippines and Japan, but also South Korea and Taiwan—while complaining that the recent U.S. rebalance in the region seems to be the beginning of a de facto containment strategy against it. Exacerbating these conflicts are the climate change, migration, and ensuing internal conflicts within China that are the subject of this report. Considering these developments, the United States and its European partners will have to adapt defense and development policies to this new environment while coping with domestic budget cuts. Getting this right is crucial if the United States is to remain the primary Pacific power while Europe must get a handle on its continuing fiscal crisis, which threatens funding for international involvement and the formulation of forward-looking global engagement strategies.

    China, of course, must also adapt to its new role as a pivotal power along the Pacific Rim—a role that increasingly means dealing with the challenges of climate change, migration, and conflict within its own borders and working with its neighbors constructively, not confrontationally. The main pages of this report examine those challenges and offer ways for the United States, Europe, and China’s neighbors to constructively influence China’s decisions.

    Moreover, public outcry against polluting factories and power plants in their backyards alongside the stress from internal migratory movements and the fallout from land seizures for infrastructure development only exacerbate the many environmental, social, and economic challenges China faces. This nexus of climate change, migration, and insecurity could potentially undermine the political legitimacy of the ruling party, curb economic growth, and threaten the government’s ability to provide basic public services. The government’s capacity to offer reliable public goods such as electrical power provision, flood control, and drought relief are inextricably linked with the regime’s legitimacy, with major implications for domestic security.

    The leaders in Beijing know the threats they face. There are top-level policies in place that attempt to address carbon emissions and energy inefficiencies, combat pollution and resource scarcity, rebalance migration and the rural-urban socioeconomic divide, and improve overall social welfare. However, the implementation of these policies are fragmented across free-standing, separate bureaucracies, without linkage to other climate security policies with which they interact. If the central government does not adopt climate security policies that are implemented at all levels of government—provincial and local as well—then the country’s economic and political future is at stake.

    China’s regional influence and the Asia-Pacific region’s safety and prosperity are dependent on addressing the intersecting consequences of climate change, migration, and social instability in China. Already, pressures from migration-driven urban sprawl, pollution, and rising energy demand within China are leading some Chinese policymakers to champion a “going out” strategy to diversify the nation’s sources of energy, with ramifications in the South China Sea, East Sea, and beyond. And efforts to develop more hydroelectric energy and cope with rising water demand within China means that China’s neighbors in South and Southeast Asia may well see less and less water flowing from the Himalayan Mountains into their nations.

    Both of these sets of possible conflict along China’s borders are real and growing. In this report, we examine in detail these climate change, migration, and insecurity trends at the national level within China and at different climate migration hotspots within the country, as well as their impact on domestic and regional policies. We then examine the implications for policymakers in the United States and China.

    Briefly, however, our findings indicate that China’s leadership is making progress on its own terms in addressing individual aspects of the climate change and migration challenges it has encountered, yet the lack of a comprehensive strategy means the country simply cannot tackle the array of problems it now faces. This in turn means that we can expect serious crises in the five climate migration hotspots we identify in this report, leading to serious political and economic complications for China, its neighbors, and the world.

    But the complex crisis scenarios we map out in this report also offer possible solutions that China’s leadership as well as policymakers in the United States, Europe, and around the Pacific Rim should consider. Crisis and conflict is not inevitable due to the foreseeable impact of climate change in China if policy collaboration can be promoted and then taken seriously. Bilateral and multilateral institutions and protocols focused on climate change are in place as starting points. We suggest further strengthening of these cooperative and collaborative ties in the final pages of this report—steps that will not be easy to negotiate either within China or between China and other nations but steps that simply must be taken to preserve the peace and prosperity enjoyed by Pacific Rim nations since the end of the Cold War…

    Conclusion

    Addressing the consequences of climate change, migration, and security in China and the Asia-Pacific region requires action on several fronts simultaneously going beyond the scope of traditional policymaking in China and elsewhere in the world. But there are steps to be taken that, when broken down into smaller, more workable solutions yet linked to an overarching strategy, hold out the promise of success. In this section of the report, we break out those workable solutions while being realistic about what can be achieved—beginning with international climate negotiations.

    Prospects for international climate change negotiations

    China seeks to actively participate in U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, negotiations under the premise of its role as a developing country with low historical greenhouse gas emissions and low capacity to implement t mitigation or adaptation technologies. Chinese scholars tend to focus on historical emissions, and frequently cite that data from 1850 to 2006, when U.S. emissions comprised a total 29 percent of the world’s historical emissions, while China’s only amount to 9 percent over the same period.251 Predictably, its position did not change for the subsequent UNFCCC meetings at the Doha conference in 2012 or the Warsaw conference in November 2013. China, of course, has domestic reasons to fulfill its international “contributions” to greenhouse gas reductions s—namely energy security, economic and social development, technological competitiveness, and anti-pollution campaigns—but there is no incentive for China to comply with a more stringent agreement.

    China’s participation in climate change negotiations also is determined by its foreign policy motivations. It seeks to ensure a level playing field between industrialized and emerging societies, unite developing countries behind common policy positions, and improve its image as a responsible global leader. China’s obligations under the UNFCCC track these foreign policy considerations:

    • In 1992, China approved the UNFCCC.

    • In 2004, based on the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol obligations, China submitted its first international communications on climate change. It advocated the “common but differentiated responsibilities” principle created by the developing country bloc. This principle states that while all countries have a responsibility to mitigate climate change, some have more responsibility than others. The degree of responsibility is based on both capacity to mitigate climate change and historical emissions. China argues that developed countries should set reduction targets for the Kyoto Protocol second commitment period, transfer $30 billion of funds to developing countries, and engage in technology transfers.252

    • In the second round of Kyoto obligations to be implemented post-2012, China advocates for developed countries to reduce emissions by 40 percent of 1990 levels, and for those developed countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol to do so.253 China advocates for developing nations to make “contributions” to reduction targets and to implement Kyoto obligations to the best of their ability without making formal commitments.

    • Following the Doha conference in 2012, China maintained that developed countries should follow through with obligations for funding of clean energy technologies and environmental capacity building to developing countries, and arrange for appropriate implementation methods.254

    • At the Warsaw conference in November 2013, Chinese negotiators led the developing country bloc in the fight to establish the so-called “loss-and-damage” mechanism that was agreed to in principle at the 2011 Doha conference. Loss and damage is largely a financing issue to put in place “institutional arrangements” where developed countries provide funding to developing countries to cope with extreme weather events. The G-77, a U.N. party group that represents more than 130 developing nations including China—view loss and damage as a separate issue altogether from adaptation and mitigation.255 The United States and other developed countries consider loss and damage a part of adaptation. A compromise put the loss and damage mechanism under an adaptation framework to be reviewed in 2016.

    • China and India also pushed back hard on the key requirement of the United States and other developed countries for all member nations to establish a national target for greenhouse gas emissions by the first quarter of 2015.257 The eventual compromise between the two factions was for developing nations to make flexible “contributions” instead of firm “commitments” to national targets.258 This lowers the requirements for compliance and threatens to reduce already minimal gains to climate change mitigation.

    Given that China has not deviated at all from its national climate policies with the Warsaw Accord, there is little debate about whether it can fulfill its minimal requirements. Because China’s goals are domestically driven, it is not likely to change its position on international negotiations in the near to medium term, unless it can find new ways to cooperate with the United States.

    Implications for the United States

    Most Chinese policy experts precede any discussion of U.S.-China comparative climate change policy by acknowledging the U.S. withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001.259 But China’s leaders also realize that there are benefits from maintaining a strong relationship on climate and energy issues because U.S. renewable technology firms, energy policies, and legal frameworks are much more developed than their counterparts in China. China has much to learn in the areas of clean coal, energy markets, fracking, and deepwater drilling technologies.260

    There are also other potential areas for cooperation between the two largest greenhouse gas emitters that both countries have yet to acknowledge. First, both countries should raise climate, environmental, and migration policies to the level of strategic and security issues in order for them to gain the status and attention necessary to implement policy changes. Second, current U.S.-China climate, energy, environmental, and strategic cooperation mechanisms should be strengthened. Third, new areas of collaboration should be developed under a new climate security umbrella, including:

    • Collaborative humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to address climate change-induced extreme weather and natural disasters. Military strategic cooperation surrounding humanitarian assistance would build trust between the two militaries and reduce the potential for misunderstandings and accidents. It is no longer an option to work separately on regional crises, such as in the Myanmar crisis in 2013 and Pakistan humanitarian efforts following the devastating floods in 2010. Since 1998, China and the United States have had a platform for maritime security cooperation, and both countries’ efforts would be more effective if this platform was actively utilized.261

    • Cross-Pacific partnerships between nongovernmental organizations and scientific c educational organizations to promote dialogue and track two collaborations on climate security issues. U.S. and Chinese nongovernmental organizations should work together to educate people on climate change and help pressure local governments to take action.

    Implications for the European Union

    The EU currently offers technical assistance to improve China’s carbon capture and storage technologies and near-zero emissions coal technologies. But more can be done to promote climate security issues in the Asia-Pacific.262 Climate and energy security could form the cornerstone of China-EU cooperation moving forward, but current competition in the renewable energy market and so-called “embedded carbon issues”—meaning the amount of carbon emissions contained in products exported from China—are creating roadblocks in the relationship.

    Chinese critics note that the EU’s strict emissions policies contradict its trade strategy that involves importing goods from carbon-intensive economies. China’s adaptation and mitigation policies as well as global climate change have many implications for this relationship. Chinese economists calculate that from 1995 to 2010, embedded carbon in China’s net exports to the EU amounted to 3 percent to 8 percent of China’s total emissions.263 Critics call on the EU to take responsibility for this part of China’s emissions by giving China funding and technical assistance in the form of technology transfers for clean technologies.

    What’s more, China is increasingly seen as a competitor for the EU in the renewable energy market, given that China’s installed wind power in 2009 was second only to that of the United States, and China’s photovoltaic cell production has led the world since 2007.264 In response to what is viewed as a clear case of dumping, the EU and the United States have both filed anti-dumping cases against China with the World Trade Organization.265 Anti-dumping cases can continue for years, and can cause major riffs in bilateral relations.

    In light of this, both parties should commence consultations and negotiations on the contentious issues relating to emissions policies, embedded carbon, green energy development, and photovoltaic cell production. More can be done in the European Union to promote climate security issues in Asia, but beginning with current areas of contention will pave the way for more collaboration later.

    The need for a new U.S. climate change agenda for the Pacific

    A few developments may be signaling a new era in international climate governance and U.S.-China collaboration. One is the U.S.-China agreement on hydroflourocarbon emissions restrictions that came out of President Xi and President Obama’s June 2013 bilateral meeting in California.266 President Obama’s new climate policy also signals more U.S. commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps the most important development is the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group’s advancement of cooperation on these issues in the two nation’s annual Strategic and Economic Dialogues. Established in April 2013, this working group made groundbreaking headway at the July 2013 meeting by highlighting five “action initiatives”: vehicle emissions, smart grids, carbon n capture and storage, utilization and storage, greenhouse gas data collection and management as well as building and industry energy efficiency.267 Indeed, the World Resources Institute points out several themes that run through the July 2013 bilateral report: enjoying greater benefits by working jointly, implementing domestic action in concert, and beginning a new phase in the bilateral climate change relationship.268

    Continuing this momentum, in November 2013, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice underlined the need for the United States and China to lead the efforts against climate change and spur a global transition to a low-carbon energy future.269 She highlighted plans underway, such as partnering with Asian allies to bring new green technologies to market, protecting natural resources and endangered species, and helping communities adapt to the consequences of climate change. Still, more tangible progress must be made in forums such as the UNFCCC negotiations, the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and other multilateral and bilateral forums to address climate change and the unique intersection of climate, migration, and security issues. Vast improvements can be made if the United States implements the following recommendations:

    • Engage in more trust-building, such as working with China, India, and other developing country leaders to conduct joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in response to extreme weather and natural disasters, especially in Africa.

    • Strategically implement mitigation and adaptation projects as well as technical capacity building in developing countries.

    • Conduct collaborative research projects and information sharing with China, India, Bangladesh, and other Asia-Pacific countries vulnerable to climate change.

    • Integrate climate change, migration, and humanitarian issues into traditional security bureaucracies.

    The need for a new China climate change agenda

    Climate change, migration, and social stability present enormous hurdles for China at its current stage of economic development as it emerges as a global leader. Without addressing the climate security risks posed by greenhouse gas emissions, migration hotspots, and social stability, China’s emergence as a stable world partner and the legitimacy of the Chinese Community Party will be challenged. China’s leadership has made some headway in the disparate policy realms of climate change, rural-to-urban migration, urbanization, human security, and resource scarcity, but no overarching policy exists to link them together to mitigate complex crisis scenarios.

    With much uncertainty as to the long-term impacts of climate change and migration on social and economic stability, China would do well to adopt a national climate security strategy. If such a policy were proposed and implemented, it would need top leadership support, incentives for industry compliance, credible enforcement by national and local bureaucracies, and better monitoring, measurement, and synthesis of data. While China has shown its capacity to make progress on certain resource, environmental, and security issues, much more interagency coordination, targeted resources, and mechanisms for policy implementation must be in place.

    The way forward

    Yet it is clear after the meager outcomes achieved at the UNFCCC 2013 Warsaw conference that if the United States does not take the first step, China will not. The United States must lead by example and adopt its own national climate security strategy that integrates climate change mitigation and adaptation, migration and human security, disaster relief and maritime coordination, food security, and renewable and new energy technologies. It must also drive international l forums to influence other nations, most urgently China, to do the same, and work to build the capacity among developing countries to address their specific climate security challenges.

    China’s assertive positioning regionally makes it all the more critical that the United States continue its diplomatic and security arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region, with an eye toward potential climate security contingencies that would affect the stability and safety of regional economies, global trade, and financial markets. While China has a large role to play in ensuring regional climate security in the Pacific Century, the United States remains the only Pacific and global leader whose actions will persuade others to do the same.

    QUICK NEWS, May 28: U.S. SOLAR TO DOUBLE AGAIN BY YEAR’S END; WIND DEVELOPERS CAN INCLUDE SOLAR; THE LULL IN WAVE POWER

    U.S. SOLAR TO DOUBLE AGAIN BY YEAR’S END Cumulative US PV Market to Approach 20 GW by the End of 2014

    Michael Barker, May 19, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “Cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the United States hit the 10 GW level in mid-2013 and are on course to double by early 2015, approaching the 20 GW figure by the end of 2014…Continuing cost declines – and a push by project developers to move projects towards completion before a reduction in the federal investment tax credit (ITC) – are helping to drive growth…[N]ew capital continues to flow into the sector, and novel business models are opening up markets where solar is competitive with retail electricity rates…[The] compound annual growth rate (CAGR) [is] above 50% since 2006…While large-scale ground-mounted systems continue to account for the largest share of the US market, all segments are seeing growth…With solar PV systems being recognized as a source of (relatively) low-risk long-term revenues, this asset class is proving increasingly attractive for installers and utility companies, as well as institutional investors and private owners/municipalities…” click here for more

    WIND DEVELOPERS CAN INCLUDE SOLAR Piggybacking Wind And Solar: Can Two Renewable Energy Sources Peacefully Co-Exist?

    Mark Del Franco, May 22, 2014 (North American Windpower)

    “…[T]o maximize existing generating assets, several wind developers are now beginning to look at adding solar generation on existing wind sites…to monetize the investment tax credit, which, for solar, expires Dec. 31, 2016. The production tax credit for wind expired at the end of last year…Federal tax credits aside, there are many benefits of co-locating wind and solar generation…[including] a more levelized joint output…to firm the power supply to the grid…[and] avoid supply-demand gaps…Because wind and solar projects must obtain approvals from the same agencies and jurisdictions, wind developers are already well versed in the basic requirements of renewable energy projects…[Factors to consider include] Location…Spacing…[and] Interconnection…” click here for more

    THE LULL IN WAVE POWER Why Wave Power Has Lagged Far Behind as Energy Source

    Dave Levitan, 28 April 2014 (Yale Environment 360)

    “…[N]umerous studies have concluded that wave power — and to a lesser extent, tidal power — could contribute massive amounts to the overall energy picture. But while the industry has made halting progress, experts agree that it remains decades behind other forms of renewables, with large amounts of money and research required for it to even begin to catch up…No commercial-scale wave power operations now exist…In February, U.S. corporate giant Lockheed Martin announced a joint venture to create the world’s biggest wave energy project, a 62.5 megawatt installation slated for the coast of Australia that would produce enough power for 10,000 homes. Scotland, surrounded by the rough waters of the Atlantic and the North Sea, has become a hotbed of wave-energy research and development, with the government last year approving a 40-megawatt wave energy installation in the Shetland Islands…But a central challenge has proven to be the complexity of harnessing wave power, which has led to a host of designs…From a technical point of view, operating in the ocean is far more difficult than on land…A recurring theme among wave power experts is that wave energy is where wind energy was three decades ago…In spite of the challenges inherent to the medium, the industry is progressing, albeit slowly…” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: SOLAR IS NOW COST-COMPETITIVE

    PV Grid Parity Monitor; Commercial Sector

    March 2014 (International Renewable Energy Agency)

    Executive Summary

    This is the third issue of the Grid Parity Monitor, and it focuses exclusively on the commercial segment (30 kW PV systems). As such, it analyzes PV competitiveness with electricity prices for commercial consumers and assesses local regulation for self-consumption in seven different countries (Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain).

    Retail electricity prices for a commercial electricity consumer can be complex, combining diverse charges such as energy and capacity costs. The GPM only considers the energy charge to compare against the LCOE, but the reader must bear in mind that if self- consumption results in a change on the consumption pattern of the user, the additional avoided costs (e.g. capacity costs) should also be accounted for.

    The results of the analysis show that the main driver of PV grid parity is the decrease in PV system prices, one of the main parameters that determine LCOE:

    However, retail electricity prices for the commercial sector show a decreasing trend in most of LatAm countries and Spain, while in the rest of the European countries and Mexico electricity prices have been increasing:

    Some countries with a competitive LCOE and relatively high electricity rates are already at grid parity for the commercial segment. However, grid parity by itself is no guarantee of market creation. PV self-consumption will only be fostered if grid parity is combined with governmental support. The Figure below illustrates the positioning of each country in terms of these two variables (“Grid Parity Proximity” and “Regulatory support”).

    The following conclusions referred to the commercial segment (30 kW systems) can be drawn from the above Figure:

    • In Brazil, high installation prices and a high discount rate prevent PV from being competitive against grid electricity, but the regulatory support (an attractive net metering system) is a good example of an effective incentive for market creation.

    • Chile remains far from grid parity, mainly due to high installation prices, a high discount rate, and low electricity prices.

    • In France, high irradiation levels (in the South) and relatively low installation prices do not compensate for low electricity rates in the commercial sector.

    • In Germany and Italy, low PV installation prices, a low discount rate, and high retail electricity prices compensate for low irradiation levels to reach Grid Parity.

    • In Mexico, for certain commercial electricity consumers (“Tarifa 2”), partial grid parity has been reached. For other consumers, low electricity tariffs still represent a barrier.

    • In Spain, grid parity has been reached, owing to high irradiation and competitive system prices, but poor regulatory support1 is a barrier for market creation.

    It is important to note that the grid parity situation of some of the above countries has worsened with respect to that of the residential segment2 . In essence, this is because lower system costs in the commercial segment and the benefit of the tax shield do not compensate for the much lower retail electricity rates available for commercial consumers.

    Finally, it is worth mentioning that as a result of the rising penetration of distributed generation, new trends are posing challenges on grid parity:

    • To cover the fixed costs of DSO, some countries have imposed (or are discussing the introduction of) specific fees per kW of installed PV or per kWh of self-consumption.

    • To compensate for the reduction in tax revenues earned by the government, some countries have imposed a tax on electricity generation.

    Introduction

    The Grid Parity Monitor (GPM) Series was conceived to analyze PV competitiveness in order to increase awareness of PV electricity self-consumption possibilities. On-site PV self- consumption is a means of reducing the increasingly expensive electricity bill in an environmentally friendly way.

    To assess the competitiveness of PV systems against grid electricity prices, this Study calculates PV grid parity proximity. Grid parity is defined as the moment when PV Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) becomes competitive with grid electricity prices. Once PV grid parity is reached, electricity consumers would be better off by self-consuming PV-generated electricity instead of purchasing electricity from the grid.

    While past GPM issues were exclusively focused on residential PV systems for self- consumption (3kW), this one is the first to address the commercial sector (30 kW systems).

    Caveat for a fair grid parity analysis

    When analyzing cost-competitiveness of PV technology against grid electricity, the reader should bear in mind that what is really being compared is the cost of electricity generated during the entire lifetime of a PV system against today’s retail price for electricity. However, one should note that while by definition PV LCOE is fixed as soon as the PV system is bought, future grid electricity prices are likely to change.

    Distinctive features of commercial consumers This issue analyzes grid parity proximity for the commercial segment, which differs from the residential segment in several ways:

    • For a commercial electricity consumer (private corporation), income taxes are relevant costs, as they affect cash flows.

    -This analysis calculates after-tax costs and includes the impact of depreciation for tax purposes: the PV Levelized “After-Tax” Cost of Electricity (simply, LCOE) is compared to the after-tax cost of grid electricity.

    • Retail electricity prices for a commercial electricity consumer can be complex.

    - The structure of the utility rate can combine diverse charges: energy costs, capacity costs, costs that vary with the time of the year (TOU rates), or with the amount of electricity purchased (tiered rates), among others.

    - In this Study, only the energy charge is compared to LCOE (capacity charges are excluded), because for a commercial consumer it is not easy to save on capacity costs on a given month (although it is possible).

    Recently, PV cost-competitiveness has improved considerably —mainly due to dramatic cost reductions— causing PV systems to be profitable per se in certain markets. This economic reality, when combined with governmental support (i.e. net metering/net billing or equivalent mechanisms), has encouraged the introduction of subsidy-free distributed generation in many countries.

    As seen recently in several countries, the rising penetration of distributed generation is beginning to pose new challenges with an impact on grid parity:

    • To cover the fixed costs of DSO, countries such as Belgium (in the region of Flanders) imposed a specific fee per kW of installed solar, as did States such as Arizona and Idaho in the US.

    • To compensate for the reduction in tax revenues5 earned by the government, countries such as Spain have imposed a tax on electricity generation.

    Even if Grid Parity (defined as the moment when PV LCOE equals retail electricity prices) becomes a reality, regulatory cover6 is still necessary to foster the PV self-consumption market.

    Simplifying assumptions

    To simplify the analysis, it is assumed that 100% of the electricity is self-consumed on-site, which is technically feasible when a good match between electricity consumption and PV generation is achieved. This case is illustrated in the following Figure:

    In order to assess the magnitude of self-consumption possibilities worldwide, the current issue of the GPM analyzes some of the main current and potential markets. The Study includes only one city per country (located in a relatively sunny and populated area):

    The PV Grid Parity Monitor consists of two main sections:

    • Results Section, where PV LCOE is quantified for each of the locations under study and PV grid parity proximity is analyzed.

    • Methodology Section, which includes a thorough explanation of the LCOE concept, and the main assumptions and inputs considered in our analysis.

    QUICK NEWS, May 27: ENTIRE ELEC UTIL BIZ DOWNGRADED BY SUN; WIND’S NEW PLAINS-TO-SOUTH LINE SEEKS BUY-IN; TED TURNER AND SOUTHERN CO BUY MORE SOLAR

    ENTIRE ELEC UTIL BIZ DOWNGRADED BY SUN Barclays Downgrades Electric Utility Bonds, Sees Viable Solar Competition

    Michael Aneiro, May 23, 2014 (Barron’s)

    Barclays Bank’s bond rating service has downgraded the entire U.S. electric utility sector bond market rating against the U.S. Corporate Bond Index due to the challenge from ratepayers’ increasing opportunities to cut grid electricity consumption with solar and battery storage…Barclays recommended investors move out of utilities’ bonds wherever solar-plus-storage is becoming cost competitive, including in Hawaii now, California by 2017, New York and Arizona by 2018, and “many other states soon after…” because solar-plus-storage could “reconfigure the organization and regulation of the electric power business” in the next ten years…Electric utility bonds are nearly 7.5% of Barclays’ U.S. Corporate Index by market value but the U.S. utility industry is facing real competition in the cost-effective delivery of electricity for first time in its hundred-plus year history and the industry and regulators are ignoring the risks of “a comprehensive re-imagining of the role utilities play,” Barclays wrote. click here for more

    WIND’S NEW PLAINS-TO-SOUTH LINE SEEKS BUY-IN Clean Line seeks customers for Oklahoma-Arkansas-Tennessee power line

    Scott DiSavino and Chris Reese, May 22, 2014 (Reuters)

    “Clean Line Energy Partners…[has] started the official process of looking for customers for the capacity of its proposed $2 billion Clean Line power transmission project from Oklahoma to Arkansas and Tennessee…[The] Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC subsidiary commenced an open solicitation process for capacity…The project is a 700-mile (1,127-km) overhead 600-kilovolt high voltage direct current transmission line capable of delivering about 3,500 megawatts of power…Clean Line is developing the project to move electricity from the wind power rich Oklahoma Panhandle region to Tennessee and Arkansas where demand for renewable power resources is growing…[The project is expected to be fully permitted in the middle of 2015…[for] by early 2016…[and] service by the end of 2018.” click here for more

    TED TURNER AND SOUTHERN CO BUY MORE SOLAR Southern and Turner to Buy Macho Springs From First Solar

    Christopher Martin, May 23, 2014 (Bloomberg News)

    Turner Renewable Energy and Southern Company added an eighth solar power plant to their jointly owned solar portfolio with the purchase of the 50 megawatt Macho Springs in New Mexico from First Solar…This Macho Springs deal brings the nameplate capacity of the Turner-Southern portfolio to 290 megawatts…The project’s offtaker is El Paso Electric through a twenty year power purchase agreement at $0.579 per kilowatt-hour, significantly below the $0.842 for power from a typical combined-cycle natural gas plant…Macho Springs developer First Solar is the world’s biggest solar power plant builder and the second biggest module manufacturer in the world…Macho Springs is expected to go online by the end of May. click here for more

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    MEMORIAL DAY STUDY: THE MILITARY SEES CLIMATE CHANGE AS A ‘CATALYST FOR CONFLICT’

    National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change

    May 2014 (Center for Naval Analysis Military Advisory Board)

    Executive Summary

    CNA’s Military Advisory Board (MAB) first addressed the national security implications of climate change in our 2007 report—National Security and the Threat of Climate Change. We gather again as a group of 16 retired Generals and Admirals from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to re-examine climate change in the context of a more informed, but more complex and integrated world, and to provide an update to our 2007 findings.

    We are compelled to conduct this update now because of nearly seven years of developments in scientific climate projections; observed climate changes, particularly y in the Arctic; the toll of observed extreme weather events both at home and abroad; and changes in the global security environment. Although we have seen some movement in mitigation and other areas where climate adaptation and resilience are starting to be included in planning documents, we gather again because of our growing concern over the lack of comprehensive action by both the United States and the international community to address the full spectrum of projected climate change issues.

    The specific questions addressed in this update are:

    1. Have new threats or opportunities associated with projected climate change or its effects emerged since our last report? What will be the impacts on our military?

    2. The 2014 National Climate Assessment indicates that climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present. What additional responses should the national security community take to reduce the risks posed to our nation and to the elements of our National Power (Political, Military, Social, Infrastructure, and Information systems (PMESII))?

    Major Findings:

    Actions by the United States and the international community have been insufficient to adapt to the challenges associated with projected climate change. Strengthening resilience to climate impacts already locked into the system is critical, but this will reduce long-term risk only if improvements in resilience are accompanied by actionable agreements s on ways to stabilize climate change.

    Scientists around the globe are increasing their confidence, narrowing their projections, and reaffirming the likely causes of climate change. As described in Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment: “Heat-trapping gases already in the atmosphere have committed us to a hotter future with more climate-related impacts over the next few decades. The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gases emitted globally, now and in the future.”1 Some in the political realm continue to debate the cause of a warming planet and demand more data. Yet MAB member General Gordon Sullivan, United States Army, Retired, has noted: “Speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.”

    Climate mitigation and adaptation efforts are emerging in various places around the world, but the extent of these efforts to mitigate and adapt to the projections are insufficient to avoid significant potential water, food, and energy insecurity; political instability; extreme weather events; and other manifestations of climate change. Coordinated, wide-scale, and well-executed actions to limit heat-trapping gases and increase resilience to help prevent and protect against the worst projected climate change impacts are required—now.

    The potential security ramifications of global climate change should be serving as catalysts for cooperation and change. Instead, climate change impacts are already accelerating instability in vulnerable areas of the world and are serving as catalysts for conflict.

    As we identified in our 2007 report—and as the Department of Defense’s (DOD) 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) echoed—the projected effects of climate change “... are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions —conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”2 We remain steadfast in our concern over the connection between climate change and national security.

    In many areas, the projected impacts of climate change will be more than threat multipliers; they will serve as catalysts for instability and conflict. In Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we are already seeing how the impacts of extreme weather, such as prolonged drought and flooding—and resulting food shortages, desertification, population dislocation and mass migration, and sea level rise—are posing security challenges to these regions’ governments. We see these trends growing and accelerating. To protect our national security interests both at home and abroad, the United States must be more assertive and expand cooperation with our international allies to bring about change and build resilience. The rapidly changing Arctic region is a clear example where such international cooperation and change is imperative.

    Rapid population growth, especially in coastal and urban areas, and complex changes in the global security environment have made understanding the strategic security risks of projected climate changes more challenging. When it comes to thinking about the impacts of climate change, we must guard against a failure of imagination.

    The world has added more than half a billion people since we began the research for our 2007 report. During this period, hundreds of millions of people have settled in urban areas and coastal regions—areas that are at increased risk to climate change effects. At the same time, geopolitical power is becoming more dispersed. Nonstate actors, such as globalized financial institutions and corporations, and even Internet- empowered individuals—or the causes they represent —are having increasing impacts on the political landscape. The world has also become more politically complex and economically and financially interdependent. We believe it is no longer adequate to think of the projected climate impacts to any one region of the world in isolation. Climate change impacts transcend international borders and geographic areas of responsibility.

    When it comes to thinking about how the world will respond to projected changes in the climate, we believe it is important to guard against a failure of imagination.

    For example, in the summer of 2001, it was, at least partly, stovepipes in the intelligence community and a failure of imagination by security analysts that made it possible for terrorists to use box cutters to hijack commercial planes and turn them into weapons targeting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Regarding these threats, the 9/11 Commission found “The most important failure was one of imagination. We do not believe leaders understood the gravity of the threat. The … danger … was not a major topic for policy debate among the public, the media, or in the Congress….”3 Failure to think about how climate change might impact globally interrelated systems could be stovepipe thinking, while failure to consider how climate change might impact all elements of U.S. National Power and security is a failure of imagination.

    Accelerated melting of “old ice” in the Arctic is making the region more accessible to a wide variety of human activities, including shipping, resource extraction, fisheries, tourism, and other commerce. This activity level will accelerate in the coming decades. The United States and the international community are not prepared for the pace of change in the Arctic.

    In 2012, the level of ice coverage in the Arctic was lower than the historic average by more than one million square miles. While annual figures vary, the overall trend is clearly toward less ice coverage. The Arctic is rich in resources, and less ice will mean that valuable resources and shorter transit routes will be increasingly accessible. Nations, corporations, and even individuals will be anxious to exploit the opening Arctic region, even if they have to accept higher levels of risk than in other areas of the world. While the United States and the international community prepare for more Arctic activities in the future, the increased activity today brings high levels of risk to that fragile area. The U.S. military’s current construct of dividing the Arctic area of responsibility (AOR) between two Combatant Commands (CCMDs) under DOD’s Unified Command Plan likely will slow the Defense Department’s ability to generate requirements and respond. Although the United States is a member of the Arctic Council—an intergovernmental consultative group—its refusal to sign the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea will make U.S. participation in the resolution of international disputes in the Arctic more challenging.

    As the world’s population and living standards continue to grow, the projected climate impacts on the nexus of water, food, and energy security become more profound. Fresh water, food, and energy are inextricably linked, and the choices made over how these finite resources will be produced, distributed, and used will have increasing security implications.

    From today’s baseline of 7.1 billion people, the world’s population is expected to grow to more than 8 billion by 2025. The U.S. National Intelligence Council assesses that by 2030, population growth and a burgeoning global middle class will result in a worldwide demand for 35 percent more food and 50 percent more energy.4 Rising temperatures across the middle latitudes of the world will increase the demand for water and energy. These growing demands will stress resources, constrain development, and increase competition among agriculture, energy production, and human sustenance. In light of projected climate change, stresses on the water-food-energy nexus are a mounting security concern across a growing segment of the world.

    Projected climate change impacts inside the borders of the United States will challenge key elements of our National Power and encumber our homeland security. Of particular concern are climate impacts to our military, infrastructure, economic, and social support systems.

    The projected impacts of climate change—heat waves, intense rainfall, floods and droughts, rising sea levels, more acidic oceans, and melting glaciers and arctic sea ice—not only affect local communities but also, in the aggregate, challenge key elements of our National Power. Key elements of National Power include political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, and information systems.

    Military. The projected impacts of climate change could be detrimental to military readiness, strain base resilience both at home and abroad, and may limit our ability to respond to future demands.

    The projected impacts of climate change will strain our military forces in the coming decades. More forces will be called on to respond in the wake of extreme weather events at home and abroad, limiting their ability to respond to other contingencies. Projected climate change will make training more difficult, while at the same time, putting at greater risk critical military logistics, transportation systems, and infrastructure, both on and off base.

    Infrastructure. The impacts of projected climate change can be detrimental to the physical components of our national critical infrastructure, while also limiting their capacities.

    The nation depends on critical infrastructure for economic prosperity, safety, and the essentials of everyday life. Projected climate change will impact all 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified in Homeland Security planning directives. We are already seeing how extreme heat is damaging the national transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, and airport runways. We also note that much of the nation’s energy infrastructure— including oil and gas refineries, storage tanks, power plants, and electricity transmission lines—are located in coastal floodplains, where they are increasingly threatened by more intense storms, extreme flooding, and rising sea levels. Projected increased temperatures and drought across much of the nation will strain energy systems with more demand for cooling, possibly dislocate and reduce food production, and result in water scarcity. Since much of the critical infrastructure is owned or operated by the private sector, government solutions alone will not address the full range of climate-related issues.

    Economic. The projected impacts of climate change will threaten major sections of the U.S. economy.

    According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, “The observed warming and other climatic changes are triggering wide-ranging impacts in every region of our country and throughout our economy….”5 Most of the U.S. economic sectors, including international trade, will be affected by projected climate change.

    Social. The projected impacts of climate change will affect major sections of our society and stress social support systems such as first responders.

    As coastal regions become increasingly populated and developed, more frequent or severe storms will threaten vulnerable populations in these areas and increase the requirements for emergency responders in terms of frequency and severity of storms. Simultaneous or widespread extreme weather events and/ or wildfires, accompanied by mass evacuations, and degraded critical infrastructure could outstrip local and federal government resources, and require the increased use of military and private sector support.

    Recommendations:

    1. To lower our national security risks, the United States should take a global leadership role in preparing for the projected impacts of climate change.

    This leadership role includes working with other nations, as well as with emerging nongovernmental and intergovernmental stakeholders—such as the Group of Seven (G-7), the World Trade Organization (WTO), private foundations, and so forth—to build resilience for the projected impacts of climate change. At the same time, the U.S. should lead global efforts to develop sustainable and more efficient energy solutions to help slow climate change.

    2. Supported by National Intelligence Estimates, the U.S. military’s Combatant Commanders (CCDRs) should factor in the impacts of projected climate change across their full spectrum of planning and operations.

    With partner nations, CCDRs should focus on building capacity and sustained resilience. Across their areas of responsibility, they should work with nations and emerging nongovernmental and intergovernmental stakeholders to lower risk in those areas where the impacts of climate change likely will serve as a catalyst for conflict.

    3. The United States should accelerate and consolidate its efforts to prepare for increased access and military operations in the Arctic.

    DOD and other U.S. government agencies should build on and accelerate plans recently put forward in Arctic strategic planning documents. The Arctic is already becoming viable for commercial shipping and increased resource exploitation. The time to act is now. To expedite crisis response and requirements generation, the Arctic region should be assigned to one CCMD. To provide the United States with better standing in resolving future disputes in the Arctic, the U.S. should become a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

    4. Climate adaptation planning should consider the water-food-energy nexus to ensure comprehensive decision making.

    Rapidly growing population and urbanization, combined with changes in weather patterns, will stress resource production and distribution, particularly water, food, and energy. These vital resources are linked, and adaptation planning must earnestly consider their interrelationships.

    5. The projected impacts of climate change should be integrated fully into the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and the Strategic National Risk Assessment.

    As military leaders, we know that we cannot wait for certainty. The failure to include a range of probabilities because it is not precise is unacceptable. The Strategic National Risk Assessment must include projected impacts of climate change over the coming decades so that resilience needs and requirements associated with these projections can be better defined in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

    6. In addition to DOD’s conducting comprehensive assessments of the impacts of climate change on mission and operational resilience, the Department should develop, fund, and implement plans to adapt, including developing metrics for measuring climate impacts and resilience. The Department should place a greater emphasis on the projected impacts of climate change on both DOD facilities and associated community infrastructures.

    This recommendation includes decisions to be made through any future processes, including base realignment and closure (BRAC), as well as expanding climate projections in planning and design factors for new bases, training facilities, or other infrastructure. In new or even existing bases, DOD should explore innovative solutions such as public-private partnerships to build climate change–resilient infrastructure, both on and off base. Climate change impacts should be considered in all vulnerability assessments, now and going forward.

    MEMORIAL DAY VIDEOS, May 26: The President’s Memorial Day Message; The Military Faces The Threat Of Climate Change; A New Energy Base Camp Plan To Saves Lives

    The President’s Memorial Day Message From UpTakeVideo via YouTube

    The Military Faces The Threat Of Climate Change

    “We should listen and assess…” From VisionCNA via YouTube

    A New Energy Base Camp Plan To Saves Lives "The U.S. Army’s Smart and Green Energy plan is a “holistic combination of efficient generators, batteries, renewable energy, and energy efficient structures [that] creates a healthy power system that reduces base camp energy consumption by 30 to 60 percent…” From U.S. Army G-4 via YouTube

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

    Colbert Consults Tom Friedman On Global Weirding

    “Our challenge now is to manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable.” From Comedy Central

    For That Memorial Day Roadtrip In 2050 – Solar Roadways

    A better idea or a crazy idea? Only the marketplace can tell. From Scott Brusaw via YouTube

    John Stewart Considers The Possibilities

    There's something important about climate change here but this is mostly just for laughs. Enjoy! From Comedy Central

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    POPE FRANCIS TAKES ON CLIMATE CHANGE – ‘SAFEGUARD CREATION’

    Pope Francis Makes Biblical Case For Addressing Climate Change: ‘If We Destroy Creation, Creation Will Destroy Us’

    Jack Jenkins, May 21, 2014 (ClimateProgress)

    “Pope Francis made the religious case for tackling climate change…[and issued] a dire warning about the potentially catastrophic effects of global climate change…[H]e argued that respect for the ‘beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos’ is a Christian value, noting that failure to care for the planet risks apocalyptic consequences… ‘Safeguard Creation,’ he said. ‘Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!’…The pope centered his environmentalist theology around the biblical creation story in the book of Genesis, where God is said to have created the world…and charged humanity with its care. Francis also made reference to his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a famous lover of animals, and appeared to tie the ongoing environmental crisis to…instances where a wealthy minority exploits the planet at the expense of the poor…[and] said that humanity’s destruction of the planet is a sinful act…” click here for more

    NEW INDIA GOVT TO BACK NEW ENERGY

    Wind, solar energy to get big push under Narendra Modi-led NDA

    PTI, 22 May 2014 (Economic Times)

    “The Narendra Modi government is likely to harness solar power and give a fillip to development of offshore wind energy so as to provide electricity to every household in the near future, industry officials said…Modi will be country's first energy literate Prime Minister and expanding clean power generation will be his administration's top energy-related priority, especially solar and wind energy, because it has the potential to create jobs and supply power to millions of scattered households not connected to the grid…About 400 million people in India lack access to electricity, more than the combined population of the US and Canada…[T]he NDA government may come out with a separate offshore wind energy policy and allow companies to initially set up offshore wind farms up to 12 Nautical Miles from Coast…The new government is also expected to reinstate accelerated depreciation for investments into wind energy projects and accord priority sector lending for the entire renewable energy segment…” click here for more