Archive for June, 2009

The Nuclear Energy Debate among Friends: Another Round

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Check out The Nuclear Energy Debate among Friends: Another Round, in the July 2009 Friends Journal. The online version includes footnotes and links.

This a response to the responses to an earlier article, A Friend’s Path to Nuclear Power . Some of the comments left here were also published in Friends Journal.


Meeting US Energy and Climate Challenges with Rational Policy

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Severin Borenstein of UC Energy Institute spoke May 5, 2009 at MIT: Meeting US Energy and Climate Challenges with Rational Policy (video)

Borenstein talks about various aspects of energy policy, the difference between GHG tax and cap and trade (not so much because we’re going to have to tweak whichever method is chosen), renewable portfolios, etc.

Borenstein says the cost of GHG has to be pretty high to cause us to change sources. Think $60 – 100/ton CO2-equivalent. $100/ton adds about 5 cent/kWh (more in states that have coal power), 90 cent/gallon for gasoline.

IAP Statement on Ocean Acidification

Monday, June 1st, 2009

The InterAcademy Panel short statement (pdf) on ocean acidification (2 pages) includes some information that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

Headline messages
• Oceans play a critical role in the global carbon cycle by absorbing about a quarter of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere from human activities;
• The rapid increase in CO2 emissions since the industrial revolution has increased the acidity of the world’s oceans with potentially profound consequences for marine plants and animals especially those that require calcium carbonate to grow and survive, and other species that rely on these for food;
• At current emission rates models suggest that all coral reefs and polar ecosystems will be severely affected by 2050 or potentially even earlier;
• Marine food supplies are likely to be reduced with significant implications for food production and security in regions dependent on fish protein, and human health and wellbeing;
• Ocean acidification is irreversible on timescales of at least tens of thousands of years;
• Even with stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 at 450 ppm, ocean acidification will have profound impacts on many marine systems. Large and rapid reductions of global CO2 emissions are needed globally by at least 50% by 2050.

Coral at risk
Coral at risk: Papah?naumoku?kea park corals discovered by researchers from the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory