Coal, Soot and A Mighty Wind

This week in climate news: coal dollars in California, soot in the air, and wind in the desert.

1. Big Coal Donates to Fiorina Campaign

Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina received $63,000 in donations  from out-of-state coal mining interests. About a third of that money is from Murray Energy Corporation in Ohio, the largest privately owned coal producer in the U.S.

California has become a political battleground for out-of state energy interests. Proposition 23, which could freeze the state’s 2006 climate change mitigation law known as AB 32 if passed in November, is getting the lion’s share of its funding from two Texas-based oil companies, Valero and Tesoro.  Valero, based in San Antonio, has two California refineries and nearly ubiquitous retail outlets. Tesoro also maintains two refineries here.

Asked whether climate change is occurring, Fiorina has said she’s “not sure.” (Read more at MoJo, SF Gate)

2. Study shows that soot is influential in Arctic ice melt

A Stanford study suggests that soot is the second leading cause in global warming. Researcher Mark Jacobson says that “controlling fossil fuel soot is possibly the only method of preventing the runaway loss of the Arctic ice.”

The study finds that curbing soot emissions could reduce Arctic warming by almost 2 degrees Celsius over the next 15 years. And because soot has a short lifetime in the atmosphere, regulation control on emissions would yield quick results. “We may not be able to save the Arctic ice from disappearing but the controlling of soot will reduce the effects on the Arctic the greatest in the next 10 to 15 years,” said Jacobson.

The Stanford study appears this week in the Journal for Geophysical Research Atmospheres (Read more at Stanford News, SF Gate).

Rendering of a portion of the Alta Wind Farm, in the Mojave. (Image: Alta Wind Energy Center)

3. Giant wind power station  in the Mojave breaks ground

Windmills may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to producing renewable energy in the Mojave Desert. But on Tuesday, construction began on the multibillion-dollar Alta Wind Energy Center, expected to cover thousands of acres in the Mojave. And like its renewable cousin in the Mojave, Alta Wind is dubbed the largest wind power project in the world. This mega-wind farm 75 miles north of Los Angeles is designed to produce energy for the equivalent of about 600,000 homes. It’s scheduled to be finished in the next decade (Read more at Alta Wind Energy Center, LATimes).

  • Bob Mulholland

    Fiorina is “not sure” of Global Climate change. A week ago she said after being against the Senate bill to extend unemployment benefits, she would “probably” vote for it. Fortunately the bill passed with Senator Boxer’s yes vote. The Senate does not record “Probably” votes. And recently former Secretary of State George Shultz for President Reagan was asked about Fiorina and Whitman’s support for Proposition 23, to repeal AB 32. Shultz said they were wrong. Notice that Shultz did not say “not sure” or “probably”, he said the 2 Republicans were wrong. Bob Mulholland

  • http://warming101.com Anna Haynes

    British Columbia’s carbon tax is looking like a winner
    Experts agree that the measure is working. Is anyone else watching?
    http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/carbon+looking+like+winner/3335477/story.html

    (” On July 1, 2008, B.C. embarked on an ambitious climate policy path and brought in North America’s first carbon-tax shift. Though praised by environmentalists and economists, the measure was met by a host of concerns — that it could increase taxes, decrease growth and hurt low-income families. Some pundits labeled it political suicide.
    Two years later, it is possible to make a preliminary assessment of the tax. The conclusion is that B.C.’s policy experiment seems to be working. … “)