Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Floating Wind Turbine: Artist Concept

Norwegian Oil Company to Build Floating Wind Turbine

www.chinaview.cn 2008-05-23 19:03:41
State-controlled StatoilHydro ASA, based in the western port of Stavanger, announced it intent Thursday. StatoilHydro is the key producer in the offshore oil industry that makes Norway a major petroleum exporter.
The company said the 80 million U.S. dollar pilot project combines its offshore oil experience with advanced technology for wind power.
"We have drawn on our offshore expertise from the oil and gas industry to develop wind power offshore," said Alexandra Bech Gjoerv, head of StatoilHydro's new energy unit.
The 2.3 megawatt windmill will be placed about six miles off the coast of Karmoey, near Stavanger on the west coast. StatoilHydro said it has already signed contracts for the construction of the wind turbine and its floating base. The electricity will be sent to land through underwater cables.
Previous ocean windmill projects have been based on towers built onto the seabed near land, rather than floating structures. However, windmills on land or near the coast often draw complaints they spoil the view and disturb wildlife.
Bech Gjoerv said the windmill, with 260-foot blades, will be mounted on top of a giant spar buoy, a floating structure that is six meters in diameter and 100 meters deep. Spar buoys are often used for such things as offshore loading of oil from platforms to tankers.
The company said it plans to conduct a two-year test with the unit after it is goes on line in late 2009 in hopes of demonstrating that floating wind power is commercially viable.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Google Earth Brings Global Climate Change to Life

Posted by Josh Hill, DailyGalaxy.com, May 20, 2008. "Together with Britain's environment ministry and the country's Meteorological Office, Google has created a new animated map that... illustrates the potential impact of global climate change over the next century. The project is called Climate Change in Our World [and it] allows viewers to run a series of time lapse sequences to watch earth warm under a medium case scenario up to the year 2100. Another animation, developed in conjunction with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), shows the retreat of Antarctica's ice caps since the 1950's, with numerous factoids about climate change science, and its specific impact on the Antarctic... 'This project shows people the reality of climate change using estimates of both the change in the average temperature where they live, and the impact it will have on people's lives all over the world, including here in Britain. By helping people to understand what climate change means for them and for the world we can mobilize the commitment we need to avoid the worst effects by taking action now,' [said British environment secretary Hilary Benn]."

Global Warming Commission 17 June 2008

The next meeting of the Governor's Commission on Global Warming will meet on Tuesday, June 17th in Room 171 of the State Capitol in Little Rock.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Carbon Caps Task Force to welcome global-warming commission to NW Arkansas on Sunday

NWA Nonprofit Holds Reception for Arkansas' Global Warming Commission, Unveils Planetwork Initiative and PSA

Fayetteville, Ark., May 16 2008 – On Sunday May 18 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Springdale, AR, the Carbon Caps Task Force (CCTF), a committee of the Omni Center for Peace, Justice, & Ecology, will hold a reception for Governor Beebe's Arkansas Commission on Global Warming. At the same time, the group will also unveil the Planetwork initiative, a policy alert database used to raise awareness of state climate change policies that the 2009 Arkansas General Assembly will consider next year. The reception will be from 3:00 to 5:00pm. Attendance is free and an open invitation is extended to the public and all media.

With the event, the CCTF hopes to raise awareness of actions that Arkansas is taking to address climate change implications and support the Governor's Commission on Global Warming. Commissioners will describe their role and answer questions from those in attendance. Among those confirmed include Arkansas Representative and Commission Co-Chair Kathy Webb, Commissioner Steve Cousins, Commissioner Kevan Inboden, Commissioner Elizabeth Martin, Commissioner Robert McAfee, and Commissioner Cindy Sagers. Special invitations were sent to local and regional political leaders.

At the reception, the group will also explain their history and support with the Commission. The CCTF was instrumental in establishing the Commission, and on Sunday they will officially unveil a new project, called Planetwork. Planetwork is a legislative alert database which will be used in the 2009 General Assembly of the Arkansas State Legislature, while the policy recommendations put forth by the Commission are being considered. The group will also unveil a new PSA supporting the Commission and advertising Planetwork, which will be shown on state television networks.

The reception is an opportunity for the citizens of Northwest Arkansas to meet their commissioners and learn what they are doing to shape Arkansas climate change policy. A question and answer period will follow the Commissioners' talks, and a tour of the wind turbines that the church has recently installed will take place after the closing remarks.

Hors d'oeuvre and and beverages will be served, emphasizing a local and organic selection.

The CCTF is a committee of the Omni Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology (www.omnicenter.org), and was instrumental in establishing the Governor's Commission on Global Warming. Since the Commission was appointed, the CCTF has continued to support their work through other projects and continues to raise awareness of climate change issues in Arkansas.

About the Governor's Commission on Global warming – The GCGW (www.arclimatechange.us) will consider, evaluate, and compile a multi-sector set of recommended policy options and present them to the Governor. Members are appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas State Senate, and the Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives. The GCGW comprises a diverse group of stakeholders who bring broad perspective and expertise to the topic of climate change in Arkansas. Members represent the following sectors: energy, agriculture, forestry, industry, business, non-governmental organizations, academia, and government. The GCGW was formed by Gov. Beebe in response to public input from the Carbon Caps Task Force and the Citizens' First Congress in 2007.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Carbon dioxide levels highest in 650,000 years

World Carbon Dioxide Levels Highest for 650,000 Years, Says US Report
By David Adam
The Guardian UK

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Rise in chief greenhouse gas worse than feared. Earth may be losing ability to absorb CO2, say scientists.
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a record high, according to the latest figures, renewing fears that climate change could begin to slide out of control.

Scientists at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii say that CO2 levels in the atmosphere now stand at 387 parts per million (ppm), up almost 40% since the industrial revolution and the highest for at least the last 650,000 years.

The figures, published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on its website, also confirm that carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is accumulating in the atmosphere faster than expected. The annual mean growth rate for 2007 was 2.14ppm - the fourth year in the last six to see an annual rise greater than 2ppm. From 1970 to 2000, the concentration rose by about 1.5ppm each year, but since 2000 the annual rise has leapt to an average 2.1ppm.

Scientists say the shift could indicate that the Earth is losing its natural ability to soak up billions of tonnes of CO2 each year. Climate models assume that about half our future emissions will be reabsorbed by forests and oceans, but the new figures confirm this may be too optimistic. If more of our carbon pollution stays in the atmosphere, it means emissions will have to be cut by more than is currently projected to prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

Martin Parry, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's working group on impacts, said: "Despite all the talk, the situation is getting worse. Levels of greenhouse gases continue to rise in the atmosphere and the rate of that rise is accelerating. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change and the scale of those impacts will also accelerate, until we decide to do something about it."

Perched some 11,000ft up a volcano, the Mauna Loa observatory has been measuring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1958. It is regarded as producing among the most reliable data sets because of its remote location, far from any possible source of the gas that could confuse the sensors.

Over the decades, the Mauna Loa readings, made famous in Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, show the CO2 level rising and falling each year as foliage across the northern hemisphere blooms in spring and recedes in autumn. But they also show an upward trend as human emissions pour into the atmosphere, and each spring, the total CO2 level creeps above the previous year's high to set a new record.

Robin Oakley, head of Greenpeace's climate change campaign, said: "We're now witnessing a key moment in the climate change story, and it's not good news. The last time the atmosphere was this choked with CO2 humans were yet to evolve as a species. To even consider building new runways and coal-fired power stations at this juncture in history is an unpardonable folly, but Gordon Brown seems determined to stumble forward regardless with his ill-conceived plans in the face of the science and widespread public opposition."

A study last year suggested that the recent surge in atmospheric CO2 levels was down to three processes: growth in the world economy, heavy use of coal in China, and a weakening of natural "sinks", forests, seas and soils that absorb carbon. The scientists said the increase was 35% larger than they expected.

They said about half of the carbon surge was down to the Chinese reliance on coal, which has forced up the carbon intensity of the overall world economy since 2000, reversing a trend of increasing energy efficiency since the 1970s.

Meet members of the Governor's Commission on Global Warming on Sunday May 18 in Springdale

Keeping Arkansas Beautiful

Do you care about global warming in Arkansas?
Come meet the people who are making a difference.

Members of the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming
are coming to Northwest Arkansas just to meet you!

Reception 3 p.m. May 18, 2008
at St. Thomas Episcopal Church
48th Street and Watkins Ave
Exit Interstate 540 onto U.S. 412, then South on 48th Street
Springdale Arkansas
St. Thomas is the church with windmills east of Interstate 540

Wine and hors d’oeuvres
Sponsored by the Carbon Caps Task Force
of the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology

For details, call Robert McAfee, 479-638-0035
or e-mail Robertmca1@aol.com
Gladys Tiffany, 479-973-9049 or e-mail gladystiffany@yahoo.com

Build Hill Place right or don't build it

The maps based on aerial photos below are reasonably new, and people who live in some houses along the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River between Eleventh Street and Fifteenth Street who are paying on mortgages on their homes now have to pay for flood insurance.
A close look at the maps reveals that FEMA now acknowledges not only that many buildings in that stretch are either IN or immediately adjacent to the acknowledged flood plain but also that much of the infrastructure for the failed Aspen Ridge site was built in the flood plain between Sixth and Eleventh streets west of South Hill Avenue.
People who have lived in the neighborhood a long time know that the actual floodplain is much wider in places than the FEMA map shows.
While the developers of the Hill Place project are being required to remove a sewer line and blocks much of the flow under the bridge at Eleventh Street, they have not been told to build their proposed traffic bridge higher than the current walkiing bridge. In fact, they are proposing to build the traffic bridge LOWER than the walking bridge built in 2005 or 2006 across the stream. Because federal agencies will barely even look at the plans, the city must make the decision on this further construction in the floodplain.
In 2003 and 2004, the developers claimed that FEMA maps did not show floodplain in the area. Neighbors pointed out that the Town Branch FLOWED OVER much of that land frequently even though the government had not designated it as floodplain and that, not only did the stream flow over the bridge at Eleventh Street but sometimes flowed over the bridge at Fifteenth Street.
Just another example of NIMBIES being ignored in favor of developers and builders who don't care what harm their projects might do as long as they are able to reach the density level required to make a huge profit. People who say "Not in my backyard" in this neighborhood have seen the water there (and some have seen it in their houses or flowing in front of their houses); so they aren't talking about a trivial problem.
The lowest portion of the former wooded wetland at the southeast end of the project must be dug out and structured to pre-Aspen Ridge grade or lower to reapproach the historical flood-prevention capacity of that land.
No further paving should be done southeast of the existing walking bridge and the impervious fill dirt should be removed and water again should be allowed to soak into appropriate organic soil.
Developers claim their right to build as long as their project doesn't send more water off their land than flowed off there before.
They use voodoo mathematics that ignore overflow from the Town Branch and that ignore the nearly 100 percent permeability of the surface of the area before it was cleared and filled with rocky dirt and red clay.
They rely on the fact that water has threatened the downstream homes a little more each year during the decades the University of Arkansas has filled similar land on the campus and covered or dredged absorbent soil on the campus in favor of non-absorbent, non-organic soil and concrete.
Now is the time to begin to require developments to DECREASE downstream flooding, not aggravate it and blame the university for its building practices. Multiple wrong decisions don't add up to a right decision.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Please attend meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Members of Governor's Commission on Global Warming to meet people of Northwest Arkansas

If you care about global warming in Arkansas, come meet the people who are making a difference.
Members of the Governor’s Commission on Global Warming are coming to Northwest Arkansas to meet the press and the public at 3 p.m. May 18 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Springdale (the church on I-540 with windmills).
You are invited to meet the commissioners, learn about the work they’re doing, and the role they see for themselves in helping Arkansas through the hard times ahead.
The Global Warming Commission is made up of people from science, industry, government and nonprofit groups. They have labored together for months to identify primary issues our state needs to address to fight global warming, and they’re ready to talk to you about it. They also need to know the problems, concerns, and solutions you see. They want to hear from you.
A news conference begins at 3 p.m., with the reception immediately following. Please join us.
For details, contact Matt Petty at 479-595-8380 or e-mail matt@matthewpetty.org, or Gladys Tiffany at 479-973-9049, e-mail gladystiffany@yahoo.com .
St. Thomas Episcopal is at 48th Street and Watkins Ave. in Springdale. Take I-540 to the US. 412 exit just north of the windmills on the east side of the freeway. Exit east to 48th Street, and turn South 2 blocks just past Watkins Avenue. The church is on the right. Free parking is available.
Dick Bennett is the founder of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology. He may be reached at 479-442-4600, jbennet@uark.edu
Melanie Dietzel, 479-442-8600, melaniedietzel@cox.net
Gladys Tiffany, 479-973-9049, gladystiffany@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 1, 2008

All outdoor burning should be illegal. No exceptions

Arkansas had a law against all outdoor burning for a few years, but then farmers converting bottomland hardwoods to overflow-challenged crop land and timber-production companies converting mountain hardwoods to pine saw logs and developers converting everything to wasteland pushed through exemptions to a law that would have prevented more environmental damage than any other.

Forest burning a conversion tactic, says Tom McKinney