Author Archives: Christopher Penalosa

Climate: The Next Generation

What do they want? Climate Justice! When do they want it? You guessed it.

Young activists are taking to the streets to call for immediate action against climate change.

Young people rallied for climate action on Mothers' Day in San Francisco and ten other California cities and towns. (Photo: Chris Penalosa)

Youth turned out in eleven cities across California over the weekend in a series of coordinated demonstrations.

Dubbed the i-Matter marches, youth from Eureka to San Diego and from grammar school to college, demanded “climate justice” for their generation. The marches follow a recent lawsuit filed by young people against the Federal government and all 50 states, to force more aggressive reductions of greenhouse gases. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

California Counties Face Water Crunch

More than eight out of ten California counties will face frequent water shortages within 40 years. That’s the conclusion of a report released this week by Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

See complete map of California, below. (Image: NRDC)

“This report is a real eye opener,” says Theo Spencer, senior advocate for the NRDC’s Climate Center. “It shows the toll climate change will take on the water resources in the U.S.”

Tetra Tech projects that climate change will exacerbate water problems in more than a third of counties across the US. In California, the outlook is worse. Forty-eight counties (83%) will be at risk by 2050, and 19 counties are on the critical list, those the report describes as under “extreme risk.” Only ten counties, mostly at the northern end of the state, were assigned to the low-risk category.

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For Roofs, White Is the New Cool

Officials at the US Department of Energy are checking their roofs for some of that “low hanging fruit” available to increase energy efficiency in buildings. A study released this week by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that “cool roofs” have the potential to offset up to two years worth of worldwide CO2 emissions and reduce the effects of urban “heat islands.” If that’s the case, increasing the albedo, or reflectivity, of roofs and pavements might be the solution to hotter days in the city.

Flying over most California cities reveals relatively few white roofs (Photo: Craig Miller)

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In the (Climate) News

We know there’s a lot happening out there.  In case you missed them, here are a few recent climate stories that have been on our radar this week.

1.  Charges against “Climategate” scientists dismissed for the third time
Another independent review of British researchers in the “Climategate” scandal came to the same conclusion of previous investigations: The researchers did not manipulate their data. However, the review does fault the researchers for being less-than-forthcoming with their data at times, and for being  lax in response to critics.
(Read more at the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and BBC.com)

2. Utility giant PG&E opposes AB 32 blocker
CEO Peter Darbee released a statement in opposition of Proposition 23 saying that “…unchecked climate change could cost California’s economy alone tens of billions of dollars a year in losses to agriculture, tourism, and other sectors.”  Prop 23, which qualified for the Nov. 2 ballot last month, would suspend AB 32 until unemployment falls to 5.5 percent for four straight quarters.
(Read more at the The Sacramento Bee and CleanTechnica.com)

3. Federal funding for carbon capture and storage research
This week the Department of Energy announced approximately $67 million for ten projects designed to develop technology for CO2 capture and storage from coal power plants, a strategy considered central to reducing global CO2 emissions.  Menlo Park-based Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. is slated to receive almost $15 million of the funds.
(Read more at The New York Times Green blog.)

5. Cloud seeding could make things wetter
Spraying seawater into clouds to combat global warming could yield wetter seasons, a Stanford study found.  The analysis used computer simulations of the global climate system with increased CO2 levels and more reflective clouds over all of the world’s oceans. Researchers said they were surprised by the findings because previous computer simulations have found that using geoengineering to whiten clouds and decrease solar radiation could make the Earth drier, not wetter.

Chistopher Penalosa is a Climate Watch intern.