Occasionally, there are too many news bits and stories that I want to take more time to comment on but can’t. Here then are a series of things that caught my eye recently, in no particular order.
The English climate scientists that had their emails illegally hacked have been vindicated in a number of different investigations. At worst, ‘proper openness’ to data was found. Unfortunately, the right-wing misinformation apparatus that sprang into over-drive about the emails’ contents might have accomplished its goal: delaying climate action in the U.S. and England. The short-sighted fools might have put the finishing touches on condemning the next 50 generations to a hellish Earth. Thanks a lot. Oh, in the meantime – nobody has investigated the only crime in the story: the original hacking of servers, what a number of us called ‘hackergate’, but was never picked up by the corporate media (go figure).
GE is putting together $200 Million for an “Ecomagination Challenge”, which they describe as a contest to improve smart grid technology. This is a good role for GE to play. Smart grids have so far had only limited deployment into the real world and that’s something that public policy-makers need to get busy on. Those deployments have been delayed and scaled back because of issues found during deployment. That isn’t shocking, it just means more efforts need to be made to solidify this critical component of our future energy use. I would be even more impressed if GE put a larger purse together, of course. How about $2 Billion for a series of contests. It’s not like they wouldn’t recoup the costs many times over.
I’ve included this in the previous post already, but it really can’t get enough coverage. A Stanford study found that extreme heat waves could be very common within 30 years’ time. The effects on people’s health (fatalities) and agriculture would be massive. Maybe when most of our crops fail and people are dying from heat exhaustion by the thousands, maybe then we’ll take this climate change thing seriously. I would still expect people like Sen. Inhofe to spout his latest nonsensical climate denier talking points, of course.
Add the Pentagon to the list of pinko-commie, tree-hugging, one-world-conspiracy theorists that “believe” in global warming. A group of people responsible for national security have let scientists know they want probabilistic climate change risk assessments conducted. National security folks already come close to speaking the language of climate science. Instead of expecting perfect projections, experts in both fields use ranges and levels of certainty to ascertain risk. Get used to news like this, deniers. After the U.S. military has jumped the shark, there’s no telling who’s next.
Working hand-in-hand with a smart grid (see the GE story above), smart meters remain an unknown technology in terms of how people use them and whether energy usage shifts as a result. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released a report a few weeks ago that showed that smart meters alone don’t work to trim consumers’ consumption. Just as Prius owners have discovered, once up-to-the-minute feedback is shared to users, people don’t typically have an incentive to conserve. If homeowner’s could see real-time energy prices and demand within their home, they would make changes to how and when they did the same activities they’ve always taken for granted.
I found some designs for vertical farms to be used in urban settings recently. They look cool and they would serve to reduce our food’s carbon footprint dramatically. Google ‘vertical farming’ and enjoy looking through the results sometime.