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Global Eco Watch

Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.

A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.   

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 ~ RENEWABLES AT THE HEART OF G20 HAMBURG ENERGY ACTION PLAN    Leaders of the world’s biggest economies envision renewables’ key role in economic growth. The world’s commitment to a renewable energy powered future strengthened this month as leaders of the G20 — a bloc of the 20 world’s most powerful economies — revealed a Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth, placing sustainable renewables at the centre of efforts to rejuvenate the global economy and address climate change.
 
Guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, the G20 plan shares the understanding that the energy system is the backbone of economies and that diverse energy systems rely on affordable, secure and sustainable energy sources and clean technologies like renewables.
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~ A first in British history: solar, wind, and nuclear each provided more energy than gas and coal combined 

 The UK National Grid said that this happened around 1 pm on Wednesday, the 7th of June. Wind provided an estimated 9.5 gigawatts, nuclear produced, 8.2 gigawatts, while solar contributed 7.3 gigawatts, compared to the 7.2 gigawatts from gas. There was no electricity from coal at that time — it was completely stopped due to the surge of renewable energy. Renewables also reached another milestone, generating 18.7 gigawatts at the same time. This represented more than half of the electricity contribution at the time, powering 13.5 million of the 25 million homes in the UK.
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There is nothing out here to highlight the scale of these machines. A blue-grey sky hangs behind the enormous structures; the boat we are on, 4 miles (7km) offshore from Liverpool, bobs excitedly up and down on the swell of the sea. We’ve come to the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm to see an engineering marvel: the largest wind turbines in the world.

When one of the turbine’s blades swings to its highest point, it reaches 195m (640ft) – making these structures nearly twice as tall as Big Ben. The diameter of the turbines’ three colossal blades is greater than that of the London Eye. As the huge wings sail by, cutting the air, they make a gentle swooshing sound.

The very first offshore wind farm was a Danish project. But Britain now leads the world. The largest offshore wind farm on Earth is the UK’s London Array, a massive site of 175 turbines in the outer Thames estuary. Up to 5.2GW of electricity are provided by the country’s offshore turbines – almost as much as the rest of Europe’s sea-based wind farms put together, with more than two-thirds of continental Europe’s capacity. Beyond Europe, the rest of the world’s offshore wind totals just a few gigawatts.

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The First Offshore Wind Farm in the U.S. Just Shut Down a Diesel Plant
Diesel-Darkened Skies – This May, the 2,000 residents of Block Island, Rhode Island are making a fresh start when it comes to powering their lives. As of May 1, Block Island is the first location in the U.S. to be powered by an offshore wind farm — a wind farm that has eliminated the need for a diesel plant that was burning about one million gallons of dirty diesel fuel annually. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), diesel produces more carbon emissions than every other fossil fuel except for fuel oil.   The Block Island Wind Farm     Image Credit: Deepwater Wind

 

For the most part of April 30, about 85% of Germany’s consumed electricity came from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric. According to a spokesman from the Agora Energiewende Initiative, a fortunate mix of sunny weather and strong winds in the south and north of the country, respectively, made this year’s Labour Day celebration even more eventful.

“Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday, April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country,” Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative said in a statement. “Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced.”  Continue reading

~  At least 2016 was amazing for solar — 95% more solar power capacity came online than in the previous year. Almost 15GW
Last year was sure both memorable and miserable for a lot of folks but that’s not to say it was devoid of positive milestones. Surpassing even the most optimistic expectations, the United States installed 95% more solar power in 2016 than in the previous year, according to the latest market report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
 
What’s remarkable is that 2015 was itself a record-breaking year seeing 7.5 gigawatts (GW) of new solar coming online, which was 17% more than in 2014. But 2016 simply blew all expectations with 14,6 GW of new solar power or almost double than in the previous year. This momentum won’t stop too soon judging from the quarter to quarter progress registered in 2016. As ZME reported earlier, 4,143 MW of solar PV were installed in the U.S. during Q3’16, marking a 99% increase over Q2’16 and a 191% rise over Q3’15. One megawatt of photovoltaic power came online every 34 minutes in Q3’2016, which is enough to power 164 American homes on average. 
 
~ Environmental Science Degree.com
Climate change has become the focus of a great deal of scientific scrutiny in recent years, and it has become apparent that increasingly erratic weather patterns, extinction of many species, and other significant global-scale events are directly correlated with climate change. To understand the short and long term causes and effects of global climate change, it is important to look at the past, as paleoclimatologists do, as well as the present conditions that influence the climate, including greenhouse gases, natural and anthropogenic changes in landscapes, and even the temperature and acidity of polar ice and the world’s oceans. Understanding and adapting to climate change is a massive, interdisciplinary undertaking, and the sites listed here have lots of information from every possible angle. Continue reading
 
~ Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen to a 120-year low

Last year, the UK emitted 381 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to an analysis by Carbon Brief. The last time the country spewed less of the greenhouse gas was way back in 1894. (Industrial strikes in 1921 and 1926 also resulted in lower emissions, but for unintended reasons.)  Continue reading

~ The Irish Parliament voted to go Fossil Fuel Free 

While the United States has put a climate change denier in charge of the country, elsewhere across the ocean leaders are acting responsibly. With a majority vote, a bill that will enable Ireland to divest all of its sovereign wealth fund away from oil, gas, and coal, was passed in the Irish parliament. The fund is worth more than 8 billion euros. All that now stands before the bill’s final approval is the committee stage, which according to Trócaire and Fossil Free Europe should pose no problem since almost all major political parties support it, except the Fine Gael political party.

“The Irish political system is now finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: that to have a fighting chance to combat catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis, said Éamonn Meehan, the Trócaire Executive Director, an Irish charity striving to overcome the challenges of poverty and injustice.”

Once the bill passes, Ireland will officially become the first country to divest from fossil fuels. Norway also divested its sovereign wealth fund away from coal, which is worth $900 million, but the country still has financial assets tied to oil.

 Such remarkable leadership will likely inspire other countries to follow suit just as how the divestment movement, which first appeared in 2011 with modest supporters, has now grown into a genuine phenomenon. Many big companies, NGOs, cults, and municipalities have divested away from stocks and bonds tied to fossil fuels. As of December, 2015, a staggering $3.4 trillion has been divested away from fossil.

“The support of a majority in the Dáil for this bill is an incredibly important moment for the climate justice movement in Ireland and will inspire other countries to follow our lead,” Meehan said.

On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at one point around 1pm the country’s solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%. Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity.

A group of youngsters just won a major decision in their efforts to sue the federal government over climate change. An Oregon judge ruled Friday that their lawsuit, which alleges the government violated the constitutional rights of the next generation by allowing the pollution that has caused climate change, can go forward.

This is how you install the most powerful wind turbine in the world  Fascinating!

Iran’s renewable energy market blinks at investors    I was hoping the Middle East would do this!!! Can you imagine keeping all that oil in the ground and covering the desert with solar panels? They can export energy in another form and help everybody.

  ~ Mapping how the United States generates its electricity –  Coal and natural gas are the most common sources for electricity in the country, but coal represents a declining share. The new Clean Power Plan seeks to accelerate that trend by requiring power plants to cut carbon pollution levels and rewarding states and companies that embrace clean sources of energy. Story: White House set to adopt sweeping curbs on carbon pollution

~ A Stunning Scale Model of Our Solar System, Drawn in the Desert  AMAZING!

14 Mind Blowing International Borders From Around the World     Borders – we have them everywhere, because we want to divide things up. But not all countries are alike, and not all borders are alike. Some are plain, even boring, some are difficult to pass through, while others you might not even see. Borders often highlight the relationship and differences between different countries, and here are some of the most spectacular and revealing ones.

~London has reached its yearly NO2 pollution lim  it in just 8 days, and it’s being sued     At 7AM local time last Friday, London officially breached the pollution limits set by the European Union for the entirety of 2016. It’s the fifth year in a row London has grossly surpassed its allowed limit for toxic nitrogen-dioxide gas (NO2) pollution. This is not just bad news for the environment, but also for its citizens. Regularly inhaling NO2 (which mostly comes from diesel fuels) has been linked to heart and respiratory problems.  According to to a report by King’s College London for the local mayor’s office, it killed 5900 people in 2010 alone.

 

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