It's been a banner year for extreme weather conditions, from the drought that held the country hostage this summer to superstorm Sandy. But then, last year was a banner year for extreme weather too. And the years before that ...
Scientists are mostly agreed that climate change has had a hand in crafting the Frankenstorm. But how, exactly? From Boing Boing:
When the clouds have passed and everybody is done sleeping in airports, people are going to want answers. Was this an unavoidable act of nature? Or was this something caused directly by changes to Earth's climate that have happened because we burn fossil fuels which increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
Well, both. There are multiple factors that came together to whip up Sandy, and no one causal judgment, however attractive, is fair. But given the evidence, it's likely that no matter how Sandy came in to this world, climate change has helped this storm grow bigger, go faster, and head farther than it might have in earlier times and cooler seas.
Voters in Michigan will vote next week on what our David Roberts called "the most important clean-energy vote this year." Proposal 3 would expand the state's renewable energy standard so that Michigan uses 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. In case David Roberts isn't enough to convince you of the worth of the measure, it picked up an equally prominent backer earlier today.
Former President Clinton — a man well-versed in the benefits of clean energy — has officially thrown his support behind the 25 percent renewable electricity target.
“Proposal 3 is Michigan’s best opportunity this year to jumpstart the state’s economy by creating 94,000 jobs and increasing the use of renewable energy,” Clinton said in a statement. “Proposal 3 invests in Michigan’s future so that it won’t get left behind by the 30 other states that are already creating new clean energy jobs and lowering consumers’ electricity costs. That’s why I’m so proud to endorse Proposal 3.”
The high-profile endorsement from Clinton comes as a utility front group spends millions of dollars on advertisements to kill the proposal. According to clean energy proponents, the organization fighting Proposal 3 is set to spend $7 million on television and radio ads in the weeks before the November elections.
Sandy may look bad now, but could it (and the other Frankenstorms before it) actually inspire change? If enough power goes down, if enough damage is done, if enough people demand it -- well, maybe. But that change would be small. Micro, in fact.
Millions of East Coasters have already lost power this week and millions more stand to lose it in the coming days. Our reliance on central power plants and large grids has a lot to do with this. Enter microgrids, which can be detached and remain operational when the big boys fail. From The Connecticut Mirror:
A jargony techno-term, a microgrid is a small electric grid with its own generation source. It normally operates linked to the main electric grid, but when that suffers widespread interruptions, as Connecticut's did during Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm, a microgrid can automatically isolate itself and keep running.
This letter is being written as your offered settlement in the litigation filed against The Charleston Gazette, The Daily Gazette Company, et al., and Mr. Kenneth Ward on July 25, 2012 by Murray Energy and Subsidiary Companies and Mr. Murray in the Court of Common Pleas, Belmont County, Ohio. The complaint is for profound damages, libel, defamation, and the deliberate concoction of lies by The Charleston Gazette newspaper, Gazette website and Coal Tattoo 'blog'.
Up to 60 million people may be impacted by Hurricane Sandy this week and in the weeks to come. A hefty chunk of that population are subway-reliant New Yorkers, who would do well to read this while sitting down with a paper bag handy.
The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is gross. An EPA Superfund site, the agency describes it as "one of the nation's most extensively contaminated water bodies." The contaminated water "poses a threat to the nearby residents who use the canal for fishing and recreation."
And thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the Gowanus is flooding.
With the combined effects of the surge from Hurricane Sandy and high tide, the Gowanus Canal broke its banks this morning in multiple locations and flooded over many of the streets in mandatory evacuation Zone A along its shores. The Observer was on hand to take pictures of the waters. It was far worse than anything we witnessed with the initial Sandy surge at high tide last night.
While the only serious flooding we saw last night was on 2nd Street, this morning saw waters creeping up almost every block next to the canal near Carroll Gardens. Flooding in the canal is troubling as its a superfund site that is home to extensive industrial activity and has a long, well-deserved reputation as a hotbed of toxic sludge and pollutants.
This is how the mind works: With this gigantic, unprecedented storm bearing down on the East Coast, will my gas prices go up? Because, you know, I'm fine with the gas and oil that I burn creating massive, deadly storms, but I am not OK with the prices of gas and oil going up as a result. Death and destruction, sure. Another 20 cents a gallon? HOW DARE YOU SIR
Anyway, the answer is, no. Your gas prices are probably not going to go up.
Rob Hach owns Anemometry Specialists, an Alta, Iowa, company that builds testing equipment for wind farms. Even though he's a staunch Republican, Hach is ticked off enough by Mitt Romney's opposition to wind energy subsidies that he's campaigning for President Obama. “Iowans vote for politicians who support Iowa,” Hach said.
He comes from a long line of German business owners, and Hach has turned three formerly vacant storefronts in a small, northwest Iowa town into an award-winning company that employs 26 people and builds testing equipment for wind farms.
But Hach was out working for his party's opponent, President Barack Obama, at the Iowa State Fair last weekend, after a TV commercial for the Democratic president was shot in his Alta, Iowa, business a couple of weeks back.
He's turned his back on the GOP nominee because Mitt Romney opposes the continuation of a key federal incentive for wind power development, saying that wind energy should stand on its own without subsidies.
Ah, but not to worry, Mr. Hach! Mitt Romney has rarely met an issue he's not willing to jettison in the face of political opposition.