Door County, Wisconsin

Archive for June, 2017

Dane County announces plans to adhere to Climate Paris agreement terms

Dane County will stick to the terms of the Paris climate agreement, despite President Donald Trump’s pulling the United States out of the accord earlier this month, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Monday.

 

The county has already met the country’s previously agreed to goal of reducing 2005 carbon emission levels by 26 to 28 percent. Parisi said the county will continue to try to reduce carbon emissions, increase the use of solar and renewable energy and prepare for the impact of a changing climate.

 

“We can show other units of government and leaders in the private sector that we can make a positive impact on the government and at the same time saving dollars and improving the environment,” he said.

A recently created Office of Energy and Climate Change will work with a county climate council to identify ways for the county to meet, or exceed, goals of the Paris climate agreement, he said.

 

The announcement comes after Trump said this month that he would pull the U.S. out of the agreement that sought to limit the impact of climate change and minimize global temperature increases.

 

Trump said the deal was unfair to the U.S. and would result in lost jobs, lower wages and closed factories.

But as of May more than 1,200 U.S. cities, counties, states, universities and businesses like Apple and Nike in the “We Are Still In” coalition have vowed to adhere to the provisions of the climate pact, saying that sticking to the terms of the agreement would create jobs and promote trade while reducing carbon emissions.

 

The agreement has been signed by 149 countries.

Elsewhere in Wisconsin, UW-Stevens Point and the cities of Milwaukee and Glendale have agreed to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord.

 

The Dane County Board will review a resolution affirming its support of the county’s move in the coming weeks.

 

Dane County will send a letter to the Wisconsin Counties Association this week to encourage other counties in the state to join the coalition or agree to meet goals of the Paris agreement.

 

With the state and federal government “putting their heads in the sand with climate change, it’s up to us at the local level to fight climate change and lead by example,” Parisi said.

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Lawmakers say GOP reining in DNR scientists who rebelled on climate change

California farmers unite to uphold Paris Agreement goals

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Full Belly Farm in Guinda signed it. Earth Equals Farm in San Diego signed it. Nye Ranch in Fort Bragg signed it, too.

Last week, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers (CAFF) and the Farmers Guild, its network of local farming groups, posted the California Farmers Climate Pledge in response to President Trump’s June 1 announcement that he was pulling the country out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than 80 farmers and ranchers, to date, have signed on to the pledge in order to support “the science, commitment and goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.”

“We vow to continually improve our own on-farm practices to conserve energy and sequester carbon,” the farmers’ pledge reads in part. “But we also believe in the dire importance of a collective, worldwide commitment by all nations — including our own — to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target stated in the Paris Climate Agreement, all while building a cleaner, 21st century economy.

Immediately after the president’s Paris Agreement announcement, governors of 12 states and Puerto Rico committed to honoring the Paris Agreement even if the federal government would not. Mayors of hundreds of U.S. cities, big and small, signed on. Numerous universities and major corporations have since added their names to a “We Are Still In” pledge (posted at www.wearestillin.com).

Evan Wiig, communications and membership director for CAFF, said several farmers who were inspired by the governors and mayors told the Davis organization they would like to do something similar. It took several weeks for the group to draft language and circulate it.

Rich Collins, of Collins Farm in Solano County near Dixon, said that he signed the pledge out of a sense of embarrassment.

“(The Paris Agreement) is so foundational and fundamental. Soil and agriculture — when I say agriculture I don’t just mean row crops but rangeland — can play a big role in mitigating climate change,” Collins said. “It’s only going to be to the benefit of agriculture. Soils with more carbon in them perform better, they have more water capacity and diverse soil life, and can produce more disease-resistant crops. It’s such a profound win-win-win.”

Wiig said the signatories represent a wide spectrum of ranches, orchards and vegetable farms. The majority of the signers are currently located in Northern California, but the counties they represent were tinted both red and blue on 2016 election maps.

“A lot of the farmers we work with are concerned with this conception that farmers are more conservative,” Wiig said. “There are a lot of agriculture organizations that attempt to speak for farmers who deny climate change or avoid the regulations and efforts to combat climate change. In our experience, that’s not representative of all farmers.”

The pledge invites additional California farmers and ranchers to sign on. Wiig said that the goal is to show voters and legislators that farmers are ready to take action to combat climate change, and that funds shouldn’t just go to clean energy, but also to the agricultural sector. “We’re not talking just about reducing carbon emissions,” Wiig said, “but reversing that cycle and taking that carbon in the atmosphere and putting it back in the ground.”

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A climate solution where all sides win

Why are we so deadlocked on climate, and what would it take to overcome the seemingly insurmountable barriers to progress? Policy entrepreneur Ted Halstead proposes a transformative solution based on the conservative principles of free markets and limited government. Learn more about how this carbon dividends plan could trigger an international domino effect towards a more popular, cost-effective and equitable climate solution.

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Upcoming Event! 7PM June 21st @ Sevastopol Town Hall

From the Ashes flyer JPEG

The news article that predicted the devastating impact of fossil fuels on climate change and warned the damage will be ‘considerable in a few centuries’ – in 1912!

 

  • The article appeared in Rodney and Otamatea Times more than 100 years ago 
  • The unknown author says the burning of coal is creating a ‘blanket’ for the Earth 
  • The ‘greenhouse’ effect was officially first discovered in 1824 by Joseph Fourier

A tiny clipping from a New Zealand newspaper more than 100 years ago predicts the effects of global warming ‘may be considerable in a few centuries’.

The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere – describing it as a ‘blanket’ for the Earth.

The snippet is only ten lines long and was probably just a ‘filler’ for a newspaper – but it suggests people understood the effects of burning coal earlier than thought.

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The four-sentence article (pictured) was sandwiched between an article on a skipping machine and another about a Russian tunnel that would connect the Black and Caspian Sea

The four-sentence article (pictured) was sandwiched between an article on a skipping machine and another about a Russian tunnel that would connect the Black and Caspian Seas

THE 1912 CLIPPING 

The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere – describing it as a ‘blanket’ for the Earth.

The snippet was is only ten lines long and was probably just a ‘filler’ for a newspaper.

The ‘greenhouse’ effect was officially first discovered in 1824 by a French mathematician and physicist, Joseph Fourier.

He calculated that if take into account the size of the sun and Earth and the distance between them then the earth should be far cooler than it actually is.

The finding suggests people knew about global warming and the impacts of burning coal earlier than originally thought.

The clipping from 14 August 1912 was published in the Rodney and Otamatea Times and found online at the National Library of New Zealand.

The four-sentence article was sandwiched between an article on a skipping machine and another about a proposed Russian tunnel that would connect the Black and Caspian Sea.

The piece had also appeared in Australian newspapers – on 10 July 1912 in the Shoalhaven Telegraph and then in the Brainwood Dispatch on 17 July of the same year.

‘The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year’, the unknown journalist wrote.

‘When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly’.

‘This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the Earth and to raise its temperature’, he said.

The article finished with the prophetic line; ‘The effect may be considerable in a few centuries’.

The finding suggests people knew about global warming and the impacts of burning coal earlier than originally thought.

And its predictions appear to be coming true.

Today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere are at their highest for at least the last 800,000 years.

Fourteen of the sixteen warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, with 2015 confirmed as the warmest year globally on record.

‘Such a run of high temperatures is extremely unlikely to have occurred in the absence of human-caused climate change,’ it says.

The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere - describing it as a 'blanket' for the Earth (stock image) 

The author links the burning of coal and warming of the atmosphere – describing it as a ‘blanket’ for the Earth

The ‘greenhouse’ effect was officially first discovered in 1824 by a French mathematician and physicist, Joseph Fourier.

He calculated that if take into account the size of the sun and Earth and the distance between them then the earth should be far cooler than it actually is.

This lead him to believe there was some sort of blanket mechanism which was keeping the Earth warm.

That figure is now known to be around 33°C colder than it would be otherwise.

In 1859 John Tyndall, an Irish physicist, shows the greenhouse effect is created by the accumulation of gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour.

‘We’ve known about CO2 and warming for about as long as we’ve known about evolution, or continental drift, or the age of the Earth,’ said Dr Cameron Muir at the Research centre for the National Museum of Australia in Canberra told Stuff.co.nz.

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Coal to solar switch could save 52,000 US lives per year

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So about those coal jobs: Turns out replacing coal with solar could keep a lot more people alive.

By Brian Bienkowski
The Daily Climate

Swapping out coal energy for solar would prevent 52,000 premature deaths in the United States every year, according to a new analysis from Michigan Technological University.

Amid all the talk from the Trump Administration that regulations targeting coal are hurting people, this shows “many more lives are saved by phasing out coal,” said Liz Perera, climate policy director for the Sierra Club, who was not involved in the study.

In addition the savings in health care costs added to the value of the solar electricity could in some cases bring in money, offsetting the costs of the switch.

“Evolving the U.S. energy system utilizing clean, alternative technology will allow the U.S. to prevent thousands of premature deaths along with becoming a global leader in renewable technology adoption,” the authors wrote in the study published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Michigan Tech University researchers analyzed peer-reviewed health studies and calculated lives lost per kilowatt hour to coal each year—finding approximately 51,999 people die due to coal pollutants that spur respiratory, heart and brain problems.

“Coal-fired pollution harms human life. It kills people,” said senior author Joshua Pearce, a researcher and professor at Michigan Tech University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “From an American perspective this transition [from coal to solar] makes complete sense.”

Pearce and Michigan Tech Ph.D student Emily Prehoda calculated it would take 755 gigawatts of solar energy at a cost of $1.45 trillion to replace all current coal power. That would be a significant bump up from the current 22.7 gigawatts of solar power in the U.S.

“Coal-fired pollution harms human life, it kills people.” -Joshua Pearce, Michigan Tech University

This averages about $1.1 million invested per life saved. That cost, however, doesn’t take into account solar’s value. When the energy pumped into the grid is combined with the health care savings, a switch to solar would actually end up saving money, Pearce said.

He estimates that using a net metering system that credits commercial solar energy system users would actually bring in $1.5 million for every life saved and a residential net metering would bring in more than $2 million per life saved.

Solar’s growth, and coal’s decline, is undeniable. A report from the International Renewable Energy Agency last week estimated that solar jobs were up 82 percent over the past three years.

There are now about 260,000 solar jobs in the U.S., compared to just 51,000 in coal mining.

But solar only accounts for about 1.5 percent of the nation’s electricity. Pearce said that’s due to two things: inertia and policy. Citing a local example he said he and other professors were helping people near their university get solar power at their homes and the biggest obstacle is the local regulations on how much solar can be put into the grid.

“It’s rules like this that are stopping people from doing it individually,” he said. “I have Republican friends who installed solar—not to save the whales or anything, but to save money.”

And on the national level President Trump has been all-in on coal use.

Trump signed an executive order earlier this year to rescind the Clean Power Plan—currently on hold as it is litigated—which requires power plants to cut carbon emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

And just last week Trump announced that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, saying the accord would “decapitate” the U.S. coal industry.

He gave a nod to coal country saying he was putting Pittsburgh before Paris. (Pittsburgh has committed to powering itself by 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.)

But researchers say Trump and other pro-coal supporters are fighting an uphill battle.

“Trump can’t stop the will of the market and the will of the people to choose clean energy,” Perera said.

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