Innovation

Only when we see the need, and when ‘renewables’ becomes part of the way we think, will the waterfall of ideas start.

Who would have thought of this? [Well – Royal College of Art graduate Charlotte Slingsby – not me sadly]

The innovators: how tiny amounts of wind energy could light up Africa

Maybe the title exaggerates somewhat.

On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a wind-swept beach in North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet – pretty useless!

Get thee behind me – fossil fuels !

Nothing but renewables

New Scientist has a ‘One Minute Interview’ (it must have taken many minutes and takes longer than a minute to read) with Malte Jansen at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology in Germany.

UK is perfectly placed to use 100 per cent renewable power

You can register for free to read this.

He says the UK has amazing potential for wind and solar and backs on-shore wind. he comments that subsidizing renewables is proven to bring down energy costs, not raise them. He suggests biomass gas for periods when there is no sun or wind. He points out that the in the UK two thirds of the energy costs for fossil fuel plants is for imports whereas for renewables the consumers would enrich the UK as there would be no fuel imports.

How did things go so wrong?

The post title is in a comment by economist Paul Krugman, of whom I am a fan.

Europe’s Impossible Dream

If you want to understand why global warming is being ignored there are insights here.

How did things go so wrong? The answer is that this is what happens when self-indulgent politicians ignore arithmetic and the lessons of history.

In January 2010 two European economists published an article titled “It Can’t Happen, It’s a Bad Idea, It Won’t Last,” mocking American economists who had warned that the euro would cause big problems. As it turned out, the article was an accidental classic: at the very moment it was being written, all those dire warnings were in the process of being vindicated.

It’s astonishing even now how blithely top European officials dismissed warnings that slashing government spending and raising taxes would cause deep recessions, how they insisted that all would be well because fiscal discipline would inspire confidence.

The Greenest Government Never

These are people who are not shortsighted for their own monetary profit, but certainly are when it comes to our life support system.

David Cameron’s vow to lead ‘greenest Government ever’ lies in tatters

Tory attacks on green policies signal dark times ahead for the environment

Environmental campaigner Tony Juniper comments:

The last few months mark the worst period for environmental policy that I have seen in my 30 years’ work in this field.

So what to do? I believe a multi-sectoral pro-environment coalition needs to be built, embracing businesses, scientists, politicians from across the spectrum (but especially Conservatives), social groups, non-governmental organisations and think tanks among them.

The job is to reveal the scale of the falsehood at the heart of the current programme and to not only get us back on track but to re-frame environmental programmes for what they are, and increasingly can and should be: namely pro-competitive, pro-people, pro-security and pro-cost-saving.

Sun cooling

This is a lovely animation. If we could capture the sunlight that arrives on the earth in an hour we could supply humanity’s needs for over a year. Let’s assume we are inefficient (as is the case) at this and only manage to get 0.02 % of the sunlight, then we would need to capture it for 50,000 hours – that is for about 7 months.

Selfie on July 6th 2015

This needed a selfie stick a million miles long: NASA Satellite Camera Provides “EPIC” View of Earth

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This is taken from DSCOVR: Deep Space Climate Observatory. It is at Lagrange Point 1 between the Earth and Sun.

It is measuring some of the Essential Climate Variables, but also some of the space climate. Space climate is the composition of the stuff blasted out of the sun that can disrupt telecommunications, can shut down the electricity supply grid by causing a transient current surge, and produces the Aurora Borealis.