QUICK NEWS, February 22: WHERE CLIMATE CHANGE WILL HURT; WHAT WIND HAS DONE FOR OKLAHOMA; HOW CARS WITH PLUGS HAVE CHANGED GM
WHERE CLIMATE CHANGE WILL HURT Is your hometown a top hit for climate change? A group of scientists used 14 years of data to map climate change hot spots around the globe. But they didn't just map extreme weather – they analyzed the response of local vegetation.
Story Hinckley, February 21, 2016 (Christian Science Monitor)
“North American prairies, South American rainforests, and eastern Australia are all climate change hot spots, according to [14 years of NASA satellite images [analyzed in Sensitivity of global terrestrial ecosystems to climate variability]…Instead of just predicting how the climate will change in different parts of the world, researchers] looked at vegetation changes from 2000 to 2013 in response to monthly changes in air temperature, water availability, and cloud cover...[to derive] the Vegetation Sensitivity Index…with the most vulnerable ecosystems in red and the least sensitive regions in green…Some regions may have witnessed dramatic vegetation changes over 14 years amid inconsequential temperature change, earning the categorization of ‘highly sensitive’ on the index. Conversely, some areas witnessed serious climate changes, but they still scored low on the sensitivity index because the local vegetation remained stable…[The researchers] say we should worry about the areas with sensitive vegetation, not the areas that experience the most extreme weather changes…” click here for more
WHAT WIND HAS DONE FOR OKLAHOMA Wind energy has been great for Oklahoma
State Representative Casey Murdock, February 20, 2016 (The Oklahoman)
“…The anti-wind crowd is promoting legislation to prematurely abolish the zero-emission tax credit before its scheduled elimination in 2020. The credit has been essential…[Removing it would violate last year’s legislatively negotiated agreement to retain the credit.] Since 2003, wind developers have invested more than $7 billion in Oklahoma, creating nearly 5,000 jobs. As the fourth-largest wind energy state with more than 5,000 megawatts of capacity, wind energy produces 17 percent of Oklahoma's electricity…[saving money for] ratepayers across the state. Oklahoma's two investor-owned utilities, OG&E and ASP-PSO, estimate their use of wind power will save their customers nearly $2 billion in the future…[Wind] returns more than $40 million annually to schools and counties, and over the life of current and pending wind projects, is predicted to pay nearly $1.2 billion to school districts and Oklahoma CareerTech…[It has allowed] rural districts to reach the state-based per-pupil expenditure limit of 150 percent of the state average, meaning state funds previously supporting those districts are freed for other needs…Oklahoma landowners benefit too by receiving over $22 million annually in royalties…Wind energy consumes no water and with natural gas generation] is moving Oklahoma further toward energy independence…” click here for more
HOW CARS WITH PLUGS HAVE CHANGED GM GM's Electric Car Ambitions Are Reshaping the Company; Gas powered vehicles aren’t going anywhere soon, but GM eyes an electric future.
Kristen Korosec, February 19, 2016 (Fortune)
“Half of the 8,600 designers and engineers who work on the products and controls that make GM cars and trucks move…are involved with alternative and electric propulsion systems…[The statistic] illustrates the company’s shift over the past several years towards electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars…[and why it renamed] GM Powertrain to GM Global Propulsion systems…[T]he vast majority of the 9.8 million vehicles GM sold globally in 2015 are gas powered…[and it is not clear how much of GM’s workforce is dedicated 100% to alternative and electric propulsion systems but it] has increased its investment and resources in the design and production of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids…GM’s portfolio isn’t chock-o-block full of hybrids and all-electric vehicles. Still, the options have steadily ramped up…The Chevy Volt did see a drop in sales in 2015. However, sales surged towards the end of the year—and the streak continued in January—due to demand for the next generation 2016 Chevy Volt…GM’s next big electric vehicle project is the Chevrolet Bolt EV…[which] will have a 200-mile range [and reach an 80% charge in around 60 minutes and] cost around $30,000 after government clean energy incentives…” click here for more