Climate News Roundup: the Melting Arctic, Solar Power, and Peak Oil

Rooftop Solar Panels in Vacaville. Photo: Craig Miller

1. MIT study finds IPCC underestimated Arctic ice melt

A forthcoming study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicts that Arctic ice sheets are melting four times quicker than was forecast in the latest IPCC report. According to the study, the Arctic may be ice-free several decades sooner than 2100, which was predicted by the Fourth Assessment Report. Study authors say the IPCC data did not include forces such as wind and ocean currents that cause ice to break up.

The Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans will publish the study next month, but you can read the full news release at MIT’s website.

2. Americans expect higher oil prices to impact economy and public health

More than two of out three Americans think oil prices will triple in the next five years, damaging the economy and public health. That’s according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, which surveyed Americans about the risks of declining oil production.

This article by the survey’s director, American University professor Matthew Nisbet, explains more.

3. Electric cars with a side of solar panels

San Jose’s SunPower Corporation is serving up a discount on solar panels for Ford Focus Electric car buyers. According to the company, the bundled rooftop panels will provide 3,000 kilowatt hours annually, enough energy to charge the vehicles and provide a little extra for households. Total small-scale solar capacity installed in California is 924 megawatts, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.

Read more at the Contra Costa Times.

4. The latest in solar-power racing machines
Stanford engineering students unveiled the Xenith: the half-million dollar, solar-powered racing machine. Twenty-six solar panels are all that power the 375 pound aerodynamic vehicle, which clocks speeds up to 70 miles per hour. In October, the students will compete the World Solar Challenge, a ten-day, 1,800-mile race across Australia.

Check out the Stanford student’s blog as they prepare for the race.

  • Chicken Little

    I’m sorry, but I’ve gotta post this somewhere, and this site (dedicated to the hand-wringing-global-warming-worrywarts amongst us) seems the best at the moment:

    Thought I’d kick back tonite and enjoy some of the beauty of Death Valley on Nature tonite. Instead, got a bunch of ultra-marathoners and a series of “issues” that I need to worry about for some reason, ranging from the Devil’s Hole Pupfish, which seems to be going extinct all by itself (i.e. no one dares blame man for this because he’s nowhere in the picture), to some ninny bemoaning the irreparable loss of Death Valley’s incomparable night-time stargazing due to the presense of Las Vegas 100 miles away. “Something must be done!”, to paraphrase the idiot …

    My God, you people! Do a little reading about sunspot activity, stop worrying so much, and get a life!

    • knowbetter

      I see your posts everywhere. If your baby was dying and 98 doctors said you should do something and 2 said she will be fine if you leaver her be, what would you do?

      You are either completely ignorant of facts, willfully ignorant of the facts, or just a plain 1 percenter that wants to wring out every last drop of oil and coal profit while the planet burns to a cinder.

      Either way you should be ignored in this debate.

      • AwakeMan

        2nd that… these lost, delusional imbeciles are killing us. Fantasy is their only reality, the only thing they know. Timid conformists to the corporate/military line, afraid to see the truth or challenge the lies, duped to the bitter end. The typical American fool, poorly educated, envious and powerless, they hope being a good infant will bring them more slop in the pig trough. Chances are good that “Chicken Little” is directly or indirectly on the military welfare system. With a big yellow stripe down his back, carrying his washed out little tea bag.

  • Superbizzy

    I third that. Quit listening to the small minority of people who say everything is ok, because it’s not. Look around you and gather an opinion of your own. If you would take the time to formulate your own, well researched, stance, instead of having cable “news” or dumb-ass Rush L. tell you what your opinion should be, then there is no way you would think the way you do.

    This isn’t a political debate anymore. It’s actually not even an issue of opinion anymore. It’s FACT. Take a look at the evidence and make a rational decision to ACCEPT the facts. The facts tell all of us “sane” people left, that we have a very serious problem on our hands. Just because the facts don’t necessarily mesh very well with our current system of economics and finances, that doesn’t mean something drastic shouldn’t be done. If you really do care about your children and their children, then YOU should quit worrying about all of the BS that the television tells you to worry about, and start worrying about things that are actually going to ruin the party for everyone. You’re kids kids are not going to care if the economy sucked in 2011, but they will care that they have to wear a special suit to go outside and breath air out of a mask because the world is trashed beyond repair. You would never sit in your car while it’s running and parked in the garage with the garage door shut, would you??? We’re doing the same damn thing to ourselves and the Earth over a long period of time. Think about it numbskull.

  • Craig Miller

    Really good to see this lively, important discussion. In the interest of keeping it useful (and this is directed at everybody, not just the last poster), let’s try to avoid the personal attacks that so easily cause debates to degenerate. It’s great to argue the point, no need to attack the person.

    - Editor

  • Ken

    It’s actually not a fact at all. Human caused global warming (HCGW) is a hypothesis developed by Hansen at NASA first published about 22 years ago. This hypothesis has been revised a few times and has not proven to be true. IN fact the predictions in the Computer models have been far off. In Science, a hypothesis may become a theory and may eventually become a fact. Typically this occurs after other scientists have tested the hypothesis, etc. The HCGW hysterics like to shout down any who want to challenge the hypothesis rather than inviting legitimate inquiry, which is how science is done. There is no doubt the Earth has warmed since the Maunder minimum and the Little Ice Age centuries ago. The Earth has had climate change since the beginning, long before humans. Yes climate change exists. Yes the earth has warmed. However there is zero proof that it is caused by humans and zero proof that we can do anything about it. We MUST find a balance between responsible use of our planets resources and our desire to have the comforts of the 21st century.

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