The Great Victorian Weather Wars

Source: By PETER MOORE, New York Times • Posted: Monday, August 10th, 2015

THE history of today’s climate change debate may have begun on Feb. 7, 1861. That day, an Irish physicist named John Tyndall, a professor of natural philosophy, delivered the annual Bakerian Lecture to the Royal Society in London. Dark-eyed and quick-witted, Tyndall was a dazzling figure who drew huge audiences to his public lectures on lively new subjects like glaciation, radiation and sound. “I never saw so large an attendance in the rooms of the Society,” he wrote in his journal that night. Even Alfred Tennyson, the poet laureate, sat amid the “many remarkable men present.”

Kansas has strong construction activity for wind farms this year

Source: By Megan Hart, Topeka Capital Journal • Posted: Monday, August 10th, 2015

Kansas had the third-highest amount of wind power capacity under construction in the country in the second quarter, with buyers including in-state utilities and an internet search company.

There were 1,070.75 megawatts of wind power capacity under construction in Kansas as of the second quarter of 2015, according to the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade association. That will add to the state’s 2,967 megawatts in existing capacity, the ninth highest in the country.

Des Moines to host Democratic debate

Source: By Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, August 10th, 2015

A nationally televised prime-time debate among Democratic presidential candidates will be held at Drake University in Des Moines on Saturday, Nov. 14, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday. CBS News and KCCI-TV are sponsors, in conjunction with The Des Moines Register.

Former Justice Stevens calls mercury ruling ‘mind-boggling’

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 10th, 2015

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of a seminal decision on when courts must defer to agencies, said the high court’s decision this year to invalidate U.S. EPA’s air standards for mercury and other toxics was “truly mind-boggling.” In June, the court ruled that EPA should have considered costs in determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to promulgate its mercury and air toxics standards, or MATS.

A mighty optimistic wind estimate fuels EPA rule

Source: Peter Behr, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 10th, 2015

A strong, sustained growth of U.S. wind power, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, is achievable but faces stiff economic and political headwinds, according to government and private analyses. The plan issued Monday predicts that zero-carbon renewable energy — primarily wind and solar power — will supply 28 percent of total generation capacity in 2030, the compliance period’s end year. The draft rule a year ago projected 22 percent as the estimated renewable power capacity share, and the higher contribution from renewables is key to the deeper cut in greenhouse gas emissions that the new plan requires (ClimateWire, Aug. 4).

Methane Leaks May Greatly Exceed Estimates, Report Says

Source: By JOHN SCHWARTZ, New York Times • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

A device commonly used to measure the methane that leaks from industrial sources may greatly underestimate those emissions, said an inventor of the technology that the device relies on. The claim, published Tuesday in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, suggests that the amount of escaped methane, a potent greenhouse gas, could be far greater than accepted estimates from scientists, industry and regulators.

Home and grid batteries sell out as Tesla gears up to launch new car

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

For Tesla Motors Inc., stationary energy storage is shaping up to be a big part of its business. The company introduced a home battery storage system, Powerwall, and a larger, utility-scale storage unit called Powerpack, in April. “The demand has been really crazy. It’s well over a billion dollars” of reservations, said Tesla CEO Elon Musk yesterday during a quarterly earnings call. “We’re basically sold out of what we can make in 2016 at this point.”

Hot enough for you? This is just the beginning

Source: Gayathri Vaidyanathan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

Millions of people around the world are experiencing a scorching summer, as records are broken and thermostats climb this week in parts of Europe. Temperatures in Paris and Brussels exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit at a time of year when 70-degree weather is the norm, according to In Bandar-e Mahshahr, Iran, temperatures climbed to 115 F last week. The temperature, together with high humidity, felt like 163 F to hapless people directly exposed to the weather, according to Accuweather.

Obama, U.N. chief push for aggressive global emissions cuts

Source: Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

The United States can “change the world” by tackling climate change, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday emerging from a White House meeting with President Obama. Calling the Clean Power Plan, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, “visionary and important leadership,” Ban predicted that the U.S. effort will encourage other countries to take bold steps as leaders prepare to sign a global climate change agreement in Paris in December.

Obama spurns natural gas in climate rule

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

President Obama’s love affair with natural gas is over. The president once touted gas as an essential clean bridge fuel to wean the United States off dirtier fossil fuels and onto renewable energy, and it was seen as a key to his landmark climate change rule for power plants. But when Obama unveiled the finalized rule this week, he barely spoke about natural gas. Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) boasted that the new regulation will accommodate a large transition from coal power directly to renewables like wind and solar, skipping over natural gas altogether.