Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Acidic Oceans Not a Pretty Picture

As important as optimism and hope are, we have to hear the bad news, too.  Keep it real as they say and there is a very real urgency here. 

The latest:  ocean acidification (caused by burning fossil fuels and putting carbon pollution into the air) is going to kill lots of marine life.  But we can take action to slow and eventually stop the damage.

"When carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, a significant fraction is passively taken up by the ocean in a form that makes the ocean more acidic. This acidification has been shown to be harmful to many species of marine life, especially corals and shellfish.

'Our concern is that the specific actions to counter such impacts as identified in current policy statements will prove inadequate or ineffective. A much broader evaluation of marine management and mitigation options must now be seriously considered,' wrote the authors of a new paper published in Nature Climate Change,"  according to the Summit County Voice

The connection between ocean health and climate change is direct and the impact is massive.  That is why my ocean conservation blog is also a clean energy blog.

If climate change is damaging the oceans and the land, emit fewer greenhouse gases. 

How to do that:
  • Drive a hybrid, ride a bike
  • Seek out alternative, renewable electricity in your house or apt (many utilities now offer programs to choose the source of your electricity -- choose renewables)
  • Make your home energy efficient
  • Put solar panels on your home if you can
  • Use green data (online information stored at a company that is green or mostly green)
  • Support clean energy businesses
  • Vote for clean energy
  • Know the issues, read the science, be informed
  • Donate to non profits who are trying to move us faster to the green energy economy
  • Tell everyone you know that this is the real deal and ask them to be a part
It's the right thing to do.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It Works! Clean Energy Beats Carbon Pollution

Clean energy beats carbon pollution.  Numbers show that carbon emissions are down due to clean energy's rise.  Well, thank goodness cause that's the whole idea! 

I mean, of course.  Who wants to pollute, anyway?

Clean energy electricity is just like fossil fuel electricity only no carbon is released, and I heard there's some hoopla about too much carbon in the air.  You may have heard about it.  Just saying. 

Come on, no excuses, clean energy is the way to go.  No emissions, clean conscious.  If for no other reason than to silence those pesky enviros who are constantly bugging about climate change.  More headlines like this and they might actually have to smile.

"A new report that studied 2,500 electrical power plants owned by 100 utilities in the United States was released this week and it shows that harmful carbon pollution is on the decline. This is due to a transition to clean energy. The report is out just before the science-deniers open their national convention in Tampa next Monday.

The 2012 Benchmarking Air Emissions report looked at 2010-2011 data from the US Energy Information Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to determine trends in four power plant pollutants: carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and mercury (Hg)," according to the Examiner.

image: tusconreporter

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shore Music

I like to look at this and enjoy the beauty of it. 

Also, to marvel at the idea that these quartz and feldspar pebbles in the foreground washed out of a melting glacier thousands of years ago. 

They come under my feet smooth and round, noisily coaxed and nudged together by water through countless sunsets well before my brief appearance. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Politics Perverts Progress Again

Jobs loss and a dead calm over the wind energy business really should not be a casualty of politics.  But that's what is happening with the Romney campaign and several anti-everything-government noisemakers in the House.

Experts say government stimulus is still necessary (and commonplace in China and other countries enjoying a clean energy boom).  Even conservative politicians are saying that wind power is a viable boost to a tired economy. 

"Things could get even worse: if the production tax credit that has powered the wind industry to record levels of installed megawatts over the last few years is killed, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that 37,000 jobs could be lost overall.

In places like Iowa where wind energy has blossomed, even conservative politicians like Republicans Gov. Terry Branstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley have called on Mitt Romney to back off his anti-wind rhetoric," according to Matt Sledge in the Huffington Post.

"Our point in pulling this together was to underscore that there is reality outside the beltway," said Judy Albert, whose group Environmental Entrepreneurs released a report that said job creation in wind energy is down over industry uncertainty about the fate of the crucial production tax credit.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Make it a Campaign Issue

Here. Here. The US presidential campaigns are hardly talking about climate change and certainly missing the talk about ocean conservation.  So ocean leaders sent a letter to both campaigns.

Look at all these ocean heavy hitters basically saying one thing: the ocean needs saving because it provides life on this planet.

Three cheers for everyone who signed the letter and for Blue Frontier for putting it together.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Inspiration from Big Aspiration

The country of Denmark has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050.  That's what I call an inspiring aspiration.  Will it move other countries to set similar goals? Hope so.

The plan targets not only electricity generation but also energy efficiency and heating and cooling, according to Renewable Energy World.

"Here in the U.S., we tend to focus exclusively on wind and solar. Considering that these are the two fastest-growing clean energy industries globally, that makes sense. But wind and solar are only one piece of a truly meaningful energy transition," noted author Stephen Lacy.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ten Hut Clean Energy on Deck

As mentioned before on EcoOcean, when the US military gets invovled, things happen.  Sometimes not good things depedning on who you are but war mongering and other military issues aside, some of the best technologies were first military technologies.  So too hopefully with clean energy.

So two more pieces of good news on the clean energy front:

"The U.S. Army is driving a huge new market for renewable energy, dangling up to $7 billion to purchase power sourced from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and other alternative-energy technologies," according to TG Daily.

And aside form the politics, the Department of Interior and the entire Department of Defense are getting into it.

"The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense are teaming up to strengthen the nation’s energy security and reduce military utility costs.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that encourages appropriate development of renewable energy projects on public lands withdrawn (set aside) for defense-related purposes, and other onshore and offshore areas near military installations," according to a recent release.

Time to outflank fossil fuels and follow the military into the future. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zap the Water for Corals

Zap! Electrified coral is next under the topic of Wildly Creative Solutions to Marine Conservation.

The jury is still way out but engineers from Biorock are running electrical currents into a Florida reef to promote coral growth and it seems to be working.

Of course it would be great if it succeeded.

As noted on CBS Miami:  "Around the world coral reefs have suffered sharp declines from pollution, overfishing, ship groundings, global warming and the acidification of the ocean from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Although no one expects artificial reefs such as the one off Lauderdale-by-the-Sea to single-handedly save coral habitats, supporters hope they can be part of the solution."  

By the way, the current is small enough not to impact people, though I wonder how it works on fish.

Next question:  Is the electricity generated from a clean source? Ok, that's a question for later but wouldn't it be a silly Catch 22 if the electricity came from fossil fuels which cause climate change which cause ocean acidification which in turn hampers reef building?  Let's just see if it works first! 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Clean Energy Optimism Includes Urgency

The good news is that Americans on both sides of the aisle and the money guys support clean energy investments but necessary urgency seems lacking.  This is from Richard Kaufman, who as senior adviser to the secretary of energy ought to know.

"We can be optimistic because most Americans support investments in clean energy...But while reasons remain to be hopeful about the progress of the industry, there are serious headwinds that could have a significant impact on America's clean energy industry, and we cannot be complacent...75 percent of U.S. government support programs -- including the 1705 loan guarantee program, the 1603 program to provide tax grants in lieu of tax credits and the Production Tax Credit -- have expired or are set to expire soon.

Throughout our country's history -- from aviation to agriculture, from biotechnologies to computer technologies -- the federal government has supported the private sector to keep the United States at the technological forefront of important industries. To seize the clean energy opportunity, we must do so again - and we must act now.

I can tell you firsthand, the clean energy industry in the U.S. is able and prepared to produce real energy for American consumers," according to him on Huffington Post.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Cat is Really Out of the Bag

A recent study reinforces what hundreds of scientists have been saying for years and goes a step farther by directly connecting ongoing heat in Texas to humans pumping greenhouse gases like carbon into the air.

"The change is so drastic, the paper says, that scientists can claim with near certainty that events like the Texas heat wave last year, the Russian heat wave of 2010 and the European heat wave of 2003 would not have happened without the planetary warming caused by the human release of greenhouse gases," according to the New York Times article entitled Study Finds More of Earth is Hotter and Says Global Warming is at Work.

So we are changing the planet and it's not a good thing.

The good thing is now no one needs any reason to avoid climate change or deny climate change.  Accept it.  It feels better anyway to just accept it.  But remember it's not a faith, it's science, just as clean energy is a business, not a cause.

It actually makes life simpler.  The two most common ways people pump greenhouse gases into the air are through electricity use and driving.  Much of the electricity in the US is generated from burning fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gases.

If greenhouse gases are causing damage to the planet, emit fewer greenhouse gases. 

How to do that:
  • Drive a hybrid, ride a bike
  • Seek out alternative, renewable electricity in your house or apt (many utilities now offer programs to choose the source of your electricity -- choose renewables)
  • Make your home energy efficient
  • Put solar panels on your home if you can
  • Use green data (online information stored at a company that is green or mostly green)
  • Support clean energy businesses
  • Vote for clean energy
  • Know the issues, read the science, be informed
  • Donate to non profits who are trying to move us faster to the green energy economy
  • Tell everyone you know that this is the real deal and ask them to be a part
When you tire of thinking about this, or tire of feeling badly that you are complicit in this whole mess, just keep trying to be part of the solution because it's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

These People

During the day and into the night these people
drive on the beach like it's their highway,
flicking ashes into Quahog half shells teetering on the dash,
night fright grins rend deep shadows
through a speeding window along sand thick with oily tread.

Doubt these people ever see the opal moon touch the tides.
Doubt these people hear the rhythm where dune grasses hold fast
while waves throw themselves on the beach
like ancient men of honor. 

When these people finally collapse,
the mighty sea will barely recognize them,
yet ultimately carry their rank water and feeble bones to origins.
They hardly deserve it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

France's Backward Shark Bounty

Last I checked, it is not 1975, and we are not in the movie Jaws.  But that's how far backward we've stepped with France's bounty on bull sharks.

"French fishermen will be on the hunt for a vulnerable shark species off the coast of the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion soon – and will pocket government cash for their kills after a dramatic rise in deadly attacks pushed Paris to take unprecedented measures," according to the Huffington Post.

Talk about sending the wrong message.  Conquering and fighting nature brought us to where we are now, and most people agree, people have messed up nature pretty badly.  We won, but spoiled the spoils.

How about connecting with nature rather than destroying it?  Everyone wins when we live with the rhythm.  Sharks are important top predators that are key to healthy oceans, and healthy oceans mean healthy people.

Health that is threatened as millions of sharks are killed every year for shark fin soup.  Shark fin soup has fortunately been banned in many places but not in others.  If not soup, then sharks still face ocean warming, overfishing, and ocean pollution.

Targeting sharks does not even work. "Some researchers contend that the French initiative will not work as planned. Christopher Neff, a shark-attack researcher at the University of Sydney in Australia, said that statistics and an ineffective decade long cull in Hawaii prove that 'shark hunts just don't work to reduce the number of attacks,'" according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

So maybe instead of Vive La France, let's try Longues Requins Vivants (long live sharks)!

Image: Universal Studios