23rd May 2013
1. Last week I featured the Skeptical Science study that cofirmed over 97% scientists believe that climate change is happening and that it is being caused by humans. Soon afterwards President Obama tweeted 'Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous. Read more:' to his 31,541,507 followers on Twitter. I think a White House team must be the cause of our recent upsurge in website home page hits ;-). More importantly, this may be an indication of what is to come from the President. Let's hope so.
2. South Africa has committed to taking more than half the 4,800MW of electricity generated by the DRC's Inga 3 hydro-electric project, which is due to start construction in October 2015 near its border with Angola. None of this is in the current (IRP2010) plan for new capacity, so it raises the possibility of replacing planned fossil fuel or nuclear sources. For the future the DRC plans to develop the Grand Inga project to become the world's largest hydro scheme at 40GW.
When Inga was first proposed in the early years of the milennium, transmission would be by the Westcor project which envisaged lines through western Angola, Namibia to the Western Cape, with a branch through Botswana to Gauteng. Hydropower is cheap, baseline and clean. This is a bold and significant step by our government. Let us all congratulate those involved.
3. Rebecca Solnit tells us that the best antidote to despair is action in a Tomgram article that puts the oil companies squarely alongside Assad, Mubarak, the Arab Spring and Wall Street. Despair? Not a bit of it!
4. Didier Bardin brings his 33 years experience in the oil industry in the second part of our analysis of what went wrong in the Deepwater Horizon accident and what relevance it has to our government's plans to allow shale gas exploration and production.
5. Katherine Lucey founded Solar Sisters to market and distribute solar lighting and cell phone charging in rural communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Here's a project worth our support.
6. The 392MW (gross) Ivanpah solar thermal power plant is nearing completion on 1400 hectares near California's border with Nevada. The 300,000 heliostats reflect the sun's rays onto 'power towers' which then produce steam to power conventional turbines. A particular feature is the design of a dry cooling system that uses very little water from this arid area.
7. Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, explains why he is getting back on an aeroplane to mark the passing of 400ppm CO2 in the atmosphere.
Not unconnected are four charts that really matter and the effects of drought and excessive water removals in Kansas, Texas and California.
Rob Hopkins http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-05-16/why-i-m-marking-passing-400-ppm-by-getting-back-on-an-aeroplane
Four Charts http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/05/the-four-charts-that-really-matter.html#more
The High Plains http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/us/high-plains-aquifer-dwindles-hurting-farmers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
There are many more stories on our website. All of them are interesting aspects of the greatest story of the 21st century. Why not take a look:
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Kind Regards ............. Ian Perrin
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