Door County, Wisconsin

Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

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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Third Annual Forum May 7th, 2016

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Educator-Workshop on Climate Science & the ACS Toolkit Door County Wisconsin

September 27, 2014, Crossroads at Big Creek, Sturgeon Bay
8:30 am – 3:15 pm
Coffee and pastries at sign-in (8:30-9:00) ** Lunch ** Afternoon coffee & fruit Included

Sponsored by
Door County Climate Change Coalition & Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership
Sturgeon Bay Utilities Crossroads at Big Creek
American Chemical Society Climate Science Outreach Team (Illinois Heartland)
American Meteorological Association Atmospheric Education Program
($12 registration includes lunch & snacks)
The workshop will introduce teachers, naturalists and environmentalists to the basics of climate science and provide classroom-ready materials, as well as many interesting demonstrations that can be used in the classroom, as a laboratory experience or as outreach activities in nature centers, state fairs, etc. Free, downloadable pedagogical resources including the ACS Climate Science Toolkit and authoritative booklets from the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for Advancement of Science, The National Climate Assessment and the American Meteorological Society, designed for students and interested citizens, will be provided in pdf format and can be freely distributed to or downloaded by students and the public.
These materials provide factual information including the nature of greenhouse gases, the mechanism of global warming, history of earth’s past temperature swings, and the multiple lines of evidence that support the seriousness of climate change. Three expert speakers will present overviews of specific aspects of Climate Science and the implications for the future: Mr. Bruce Smith, Atmospheric Education Resource Agent and former chemistry teacher; and Dr. Alison Donnelly, botanist and phenologist, Department of Geography, UW-Milwaukee. Dr. Frank Shaw, Professor Emeritus of chemistry at UW-Milwaukee and Illinois State University, will present chemical aspects of climate change and demonstrations of climate change chemistry.
Demonstration instructions will be hands-on in the laboratory, and a resource-laden DVD/CD with lesson plans, PowerPointTM presentations, and reference materials will be given to each participant. A generous Grant from Sturgeon Bay Utilities will provide supplies and equipment for each teacher to take back to their classes. Participants are encouraged to bring existing lesson plans or demonstrations to share. Teacher’s districts will be contacted about approval of the workshop for their portfolios.
When your students pose questions about global climate change, do you have the basic scientific facts to answer authoritatively? Do you know, for instance, that carbon dioxide is not the gas responsible for the largest fraction of earth’s atmospheric greenhouse warming effect? The ACS Climate Science Toolkit and other resources obtained through the workshop will provide a basic foundation for scientifically sound classroom instructions. Bring your questions and concerns and take part in this workshop dedicated to communicating climate change facts, consequences and responsibilities.

Contact Information: Frank Shaw (cfshaw@ilstu.edu) and Bruce Smith (bsmith733@gmail.com)

Registration (ends 22 Sept): Sherrill Anderson (LNRP) at sherrill@lnrp.org or 920-412-1920

Walk-ins Welcome, please contact Frank or Bruce after Sept 22nd

Click the link below for a printable flyer:

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Understanding Potential Impacts of Global Climate Change on Monarch Butterflies

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CLIMATE CHANGE COALITION OF DOOR COUNTY
INVITES YOU TO ATTEND OUR SEPTEMBER PROGRAM

Understanding Potential Impacts of Global Climate Change on Monarch Butterflies

Presented by Karen S. Oberhauser, Professor in the Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota

Karen will describe the amazing biology of migratory monarch populations, and the work of citizens and scientists in documenting monarch numbers at all stages of their migratory cycle. She will also summarize the potential impacts of a changing climate on monarchs during all stages of their annual cycle of breeding, migrating, and overwintering.

Wednesday, September 3, 7 pm at the UU Fellowship, 10341 Hwy 42 in north Ephraim

For further information call (920) 854-7559.

Global Warming Forecast for Amazon Rain Forest: Dry and Dying

The Amazon rain forest’s dry season lasts three weeks longer than it did 30 years ago, and the likely culprit is global warming, a new study finds.

Rain falls year-round in the Amazon, but most of the annual deluge drops during the wet season. (The rainy season’s timing varies with latitude.) Scientists think that a longer dry season will stress trees, raising the risk of wildfires and forest dieback. The forest’s annual fire season became longer as the dry season lengthened, according to the study, published today (Oct. 21) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The length of the dry season in the southern Amazon is the most important climate condition controlling the rain forest,” Rong Fu, a climate scientist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences, said in a statement. “If the dry season is too long, the rain forest will not survive.”

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