Bloomberg poll agrees – Americans support carbon rules

Americans by 2 to 1 Would Pay More to Curb Climate Change

By Lisa Lerer – Jun 10, 2014

Americans are willing to bear the costs of combating climate change, and most are more likely to support a candidate seeking to address the issue.

By an almost two-to-one margin, 62 percent to 33 percent, Americans say they would pay more for energy if it would mean a reduction in pollution from carbon emissions, according to the Bloomberg National Poll.

While Republicans were split, with 46 percent willing to pay more and 49 percent opposed to it, 82 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents say they’d accept higher bills.

America supports GHG controls

Two-thirds of United States residents support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to reduce power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions, according to a poll released Wednesday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The survey found that 37 percent of respondents strongly support EPA’s proposal unveiled June 2, and 30 somewhat support it. Twenty-nine percent oppose it, the poll found.

More generally, 57 percent of respondents said they’d approve of a policy that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if even if meant higher electricity bills. That is the highest approval rating for that question since NBC and the Wall Street Journal started asking it.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/209743-poll-shows-support-for-epas-climate-rules#ixzz36L9fNVyO

Coal jobs down, Coal tonnage mined up.

mining employment is a fraction of what it was during the heyday of coal mining in the 1910′s and 20′s:[6][7][8][5]
This chart didn’t reproduce at all. What is happening is that the first number after the year is the coal produced in that year, followed by the number of mine jobs, followed by the productivity of the miners. Coal production up, jobs down, productivity per miner up. Wages stagnant.

Year

Total U.S. Coal Production

Total U.S. Coal Miner Employment

Annual Production Per Miner

1900

269,684

448,581

0.60

1910

501,596

725,030

0.69

1920

658,265

784,621

0.84

1930

527,172

644,006

0.82

1940

512,256

530,388

0.97

1950

560,388

488,206

1.15

1955

490,838

258,616

1.90

1960

434,329

188,451

2.30

1965

526,954

144,864

3.64

1970

612,659

146,078

4.19

1975

654,641

193,787

3.38

1980

829,700

228,569

3.63

1985

883,638

169,281

5.22

1990

1,029,076

131,306

7.84

1995

1,033,000

83,462

12.38

2000

1,073,600

71,522

15.01

2006

1,162,750

82,595

14.08

Coal and jobs=0.12% of all jobs in US

Total coal-related jobs

There are approximately 174,000 blue-collar, full-time, permanent jobs related to coal in the U.S.: mining (83,000), transportation (31,000), and power plant employment (60,000). (See below for details on each sector.) The U.S. civilian labor force totaled 141,730,000 workers in 2005; thus, permanent blue-collar coal industry employees represent 0.12% of the U.S. workforce.[1] (Compare this percentage with the 1.89% of U.S. workers who worked in coal mining alone in 1920.)

This total does not include indirect employment – workers who are not directly employed in the coal industry, but whose jobs are supported by that industry. It is entirely possible that thousands – even tens of thousands – of workers are indirectly supported entirely by the coal industry. However, the National Coal Association’s 1994 estimate that the coal industry directly and indirectly employs around 1.5 million people[2] seems exaggerated. The level of indirect employment is in the low hundreds of thousands – not in the millions.

A 2014 assessment of global jobs found coal provides about seven million worldwide, while renewables (excluding biomass) provide 5.4 million worldwide, despite having only a quarter of the energy share as coal.[3]

Poll – US supports carbon rules

Two-thirds of United States residents support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to reduce power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions, according to a poll released Wednesday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The survey found that 37 percent of respondents strongly support EPA’s proposal unveiled June 2, and 30 somewhat support it. Twenty-nine percent oppose it, the poll found.

More generally, 57 percent of respondents said they’d approve of a policy that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if even if meant higher electricity bills. That is the highest approval rating for that question since NBC and the Wall Street Journal started asking it.

Only 31 percent agreed that climate change is a serious problem that needs immediate action, but that was the highest response since 2007.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal survey came to a similar conclusion as a Bloomberg News survey a week prior. That June 11 poll found that 62 percent of United States residents would be willing to pay more in their electricity bills to reduce carbon pollution, and only 33 percent would not.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/209743-poll-shows-support-for-epas-climate-rules#ixzz3570QCv1P

Cool cities needed to fight Global Warming

Cities take steps to address extreme heat
Julia Pyper, E&E reporter
Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014
It’s that time of year again when sweat seeps through T-shirts and shoes feel as if they’re melting into the sidewalk.

But severe heat can do far more damage. High urban temperatures have negative effects on air quality, energy consumption, climate resilience, stormwater management and public health. In Chicago, for instance, almost 740 people died during a single weeklong heat wave in 1995.

Several cities across the United States and Canada are now taking steps to mitigate local heat and prevent future warming, according to a new survey by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA). Of 26 medium and large cities, two-thirds cited extreme heat events and an increased number of high-heat days as the trigger for adopting policies to address the heat island effect.

Urban heat islands are created by the predominant dark, impermeable surfaces that absorb sunlight and heat-producing human activity like running vehicles and air conditioning systems. This global phenomenon can make cities hotter than surrounding suburban and rural areas by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

“This type of weather, especially when it doesn’t cool off at night, can be deadly,” said Kurt Shickman, executive director of GCCA.

Between 1989 and 2000, the report states that heat caused more casualties than hurricanes, floods and tornadoes put together. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1999 and 2010 excessive heat caused 7,415 premature deaths in the United States.

Walkable neighborhoods are cooler

Installing reflective and light-colored surfaces on walkways, roads and roofs is one of the most effective ways to address the heat island effect. For instance, U.S. EPA research shows that conventional asphalt can reach 120-150 F in the summer, while reflective pavement stays 50-70 degrees cooler.

Increasing the amount of vegetation in a city is another solution. Plants cool the air through evapotranspiration, remove air pollutants and provide shade.

Reducing the number of exhaust-spewing vehicles in a city by making it easier for people to walk will also mitigate the urban heat island. Walkable neighborhoods have other benefits. Two recent studies released by the American Diabetes Association found that people who live in walkable areas have substantially lower rates of obesity and diabetes than those who live in auto-dependent neighborhoods.

According to the GCCA website, the widespread implementation of the cool technologies could make a city cooler by 4-5 degrees F.

More than half of the 26 cities surveyed said they have requirements in place for reflective and vegetated roofing on private-sector buildings. And nearly every city had policies to increase tree canopy and improve stormwater management.

Washington, D.C., for instance, has put in place a suite of programs, such as Green Alleys, that help residents manage excess stormwater by replacing pavement with grass and trees. In 2009, New York set the goal to coat 1 million square feet of rooftop with light or reflective material each year so that all rooftops would be “cool” by 2035. And in reaction to the deadly 1995 heat wave, Chicago established the goal of having green roofs on 6,000 buildings by 2020.

The heat island report comes as preliminary data released this week by NASA found that global temperatures last month were the warmest of any May on record. NASA highlighted that the results do not yet include data from China and so are not directly comparable to earlier records. However, a separate analysis by the Japanese Meteorological Agency also found that surface temperatures in May 2014 were the warmest of any May in recorded history.

On Tuesday, D.C. set its own record-high temperature of 97 degrees F, surpassing the old record of 95 degrees F set in 1991, according to the National Weather Service. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its global temperature data Monday.

Cost of controlling carbon pollutoin

Althought the US Chamber of Commerce has wildly exaggerated the cost of new EPA rules controlling carbon, at $51 billion/year, that’s really not a lot. As Paul Krugman noted in a New York Times op-ed last week, the U.S. boasts a $17 trillion economy, so $51 billion amounts to one-third of one percent. Against the sheer size of the U.S. economy, it’s nothing more than a decimal place rounding error to take meaningful action against one of the greatest threats to the nation’s people, environment, and economy.

Solar Energy – costs down. Volume up.

The game has changed for solar energy

by Lee Ann Head

I’m just going to come right out and say it. We think that the U.S. government and many U.S. utilities are out of synch with reality when it comes to expectations for renewable generation – particularly regarding the potential for solar distributed generation. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates a solar photovoltaic generation growth rate of only 7.5% from 2012–2040 and projects that renewables will supply only 16% of U.S. energy use in 2040.

But these numbers are based on annual PV shipments from 1989 through 2012. Their estimates are built from a trend that doesn’t reflect recent PV sales growth.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports that 647 new MW of solar capacity were installed in the first four months of 2014 alone, in 59 new or expanding U.S. projects. Ninety-one new or expanding projects producing 977 MW were added in the same time period in 2013.

Based on an analysis of the top 20 solar manufacturers, which account for two-thirds of global shipments, industry tracker Solarbuzz projects a 30% growth rate in solar PV shipments in 2014.

Based on these and other more recent trends, some industry analysts project that renewable energy sources in the U.S. could reach or exceed 16% of the energy supply by 2018.

Why? Because the game has changed. In a custom client study five years ago, we estimated that a 5 KW rooftop residential PV system would run $37,500 in an “average” cost scenario for solar installation. And our client estimated that the payback period would run between 10 and 20 years on such a system, depending on electricity rates.

Since then, the cost of solar has dropped dramatically. According to a recent Triple Pundit article, PV panel costs declined 20% in both 2011 and 2012, and last year solar generation costs again dropped a little, to $2.50 per watt (installed). Solar module prices, in particular, have fallen to around 10% of the overall installation cost.

New leasing options make solar even more affordable. Major industry player SolarCity, for instance, promises homeowners an overall cost reduction from day one with their solar leasing program.

Power purchase agreements, leases, new financing options and new models for individual or community participation/ownership are making solar affordable for (almost) everyone.

Our new, soon-to-be-released Eco Pulse study, which was fielded in April, finds that 40% of Americans say they are searching for “greener” electricity (renewable energy, green power, solar panels, etc.). Will they all act? No. We consistently see a huge gap between interest and actual purchase in this category. Only 4% report they’ve actually purchased solar panels.

But Americans are engaged and beginning to actively investigate – and many will be pleasantly surprised at the new options. Five years ago, we found that the target buyer for solar was a middle-aged, conservative white guy earning $150,000 or more per year. Our Pulse research shows that the distributed generation target audience is no longer this small, extremely affluent niche. It’s younger and more ethnically diverse, and it earns a more moderate income ($50K+).

New solar options are viable for moderate incomes. The potential is huge. Utilities who aren’t actively facilitating solar options for their customers could find themselves irrelevant in the future.

Wind power is taking off !

Denmark, Portugal, and Spain Leading the World in Wind Power
J. Matthew Roney
www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2014/highlights46
Denmark produced one third of its electricity from the wind in 2013. In no other country has wind’s share of annual electricity generation yet topped 30 percent. But the Danes are not stopping there—they are eyeing a goal of 50 percent wind by 2020, with most of the needed expansion coming from offshore wind farms. Recent experience shows that Denmark’s grid can accommodate this much wind power and more: wind-generated electricity exceeded 100 percent of demand the evening of November 3, 2013.

In Portugal, wind farms produced nearly a quarter of the country’s electricity in 2013. The situation was similar in neighboring Spain, where wind power accounted for 21 percent of electricity output, just shy of nuclear at 22 percent.
More than 17 percent of Ireland’s power generation in 2013 came from wind farms. Over the course of the year, the wind share frequently went above 50 percent, peaking at 59 percent on September 16th, according to grid operator EirGrid.
And in both Germany and the United Kingdom, countries with a combined population of 145 million, wind contributed nearly 8 percent of electricity generation in 2013. Four states in northern Germany get half or more of their electricity from wind. As impressive as these figures are for Europe’s two largest economies, what is really astounding is that each country has enough potential wind generating capacity to be 100 percent wind-powered.
What’s more, so do the world’s other leading carbon emitters. This includes, of course, the United States, where wind farms currently supply 4 percent of national electricity. Iowa and South Dakota lead the way at the state level, each generating more than 25 percent of their electricity from wind as of 2013. And in China, wind power—despite accounting for less than 3 percent of electricity generation—recently overtook nuclear to become the country’s third largest power source after coal and hydropower. With a generation potential that is more than 10 times current demand, wind may one day become China’s leading electricity source.
Earth Policy Institute’s latest Wind Power Indicator. Data and additional resources available at www.earth-policy.org.

Feel free to pass this information along to friends, family members, and colleagues!

Media Contact: Reah Janise Kauffman (202) 496-9290 ext. 12 | rjk@earth-policy.org
Research Contact: J. Matthew Roney (202) 496-9290 ext. 17 | jmroney@earth-policy.org