Conservation Science News April 10 2015

 

 

Focus of the Week

1ECOLOGY, BIODIVERSITY, RELATED

2CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME EVENTS with special DROUGHT section

3ADAPTATION and HOPE

4- POLICY

5- RENEWABLES, ENERGY AND RELATED

6-
RESOURCES and REFERENCES

7OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST 

8IMAGES OF THE WEEK

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NOTE: Please pass on my weekly news update that has been prepared for
Point Blue Conservation Science
staff.  You can find these weekly compilations posted on line
by clicking here or at the CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative website.  For more information please see www.pointblue.org.


The items contained in this update were drawn from www.dailyclimate.org, www.sciencedaily.com, SER The Society for Ecological Restorationhttp://news.google.com, www.climateprogress.org, www.slate.com, www.sfgate.com, The Wildlife Society NewsBrief, CA BLM NewsBytes and other sources as indicated.  This is a compilation of information available on-line, not verified and not endorsed by Point Blue Conservation Science.  
You can view past issues of this at the.  You can also receive this news compilation by signing up for the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative  Newsletter or the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium listserve.  You can also email me directly at Ellie Cohen, ecohen at pointblue.org with questions or suggestions. 

Founded as Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Point Blue’s 140 scientists advance nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss and other environmental threats to benefit wildlife and people, through bird and ecosystem science, partnerships and outreach.  We work collaboratively to guide and inspire positive conservation outcomes today — for a healthy, blue planet teeming with life in the future.  Read more about our 5-year strategic approach here.

 

 

Focus of the Week

 

 

A huge excavator shoveled earth and brown coal near the Boehlen-Lippendorf power station in Germany in 2013. Credit Michaela Rehle/Reuters

If We Dig Out All Our Fossil Fuels, Here’s How Hot We Can Expect It to Get

APRIL 8, 2015 NY Times by Michael Greenstone

World leaders are once again racing to avert disastrous levels of global warming through limits on greenhouse gas emissions. An agreement may be in reach, but because of the vast supplies of inexpensive fossil fuels, protecting the world from climate change requires the even more difficult task of disrupting today’s energy markets.

The White House last month released a blueprint to reduce United States emissions by as much as 28 percent by 2025. The plan lays the groundwork for the formal international climate talks this December in Paris, where the goal is a treaty on emissions that will seek to limit the rise in global temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Beyond 3.6 degrees, scientists say, the most catastrophic climate consequences will occur, possibly including the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Forging a treaty in Paris would be no small task, yet would be just the beginning of a solution. The greater challenge will be deciding how much of the world’s abundant supply of fossil fuels we simply let lie. (Bill McKibben and more recently The Guardian have taken a maximal position in their Leave It in the Ground campaign.)

To understand the scope of this challenge, I’ve tallied the projected warming from fossil fuels extracted so far and the projected warming capacity of various fossil fuels that can be extracted with today’s technology. This accounting was done by taking the embedded carbon dioxide in each energy source and using a standard model for the relationship between cumulative carbon emissions and long-run temperature changes based on a 2009 Nature article. (More detail on the method is available here.)

For those who don’t like suspense, here’s the total: an astonishing 16.2 degrees. And here’s how that breaks down. Since the industrial revolution, fossil fuels have warmed the planet by about 1.7 degrees. We are already experiencing the consequences of this warming. In recent weeks, we have learned that the world had its warmest winter on record and that Arctic sea ice hit a new low, even as intense storms continue to inflict harm on communities globally.

Next, look at fossil fuel reserves, the deposits we know to be recoverable under today’s prices and technology. That is, they are inexpensive to access. If we were to use all of this coal, natural gas and petroleum, the planet would warm by an additional 2.8 degrees. Add the heat from those reserves to the 1.7 degrees from what has already been emitted, and you get a world that is 4.5 degrees warmer since the industrial revolution; this is beyond scientists’ recommended 3.6-degree [F] threshold.

The next set of fossil fuels in line is referred to as resources, rather than reserves. The difference is that they are recoverable with today’s technology, but not at current prices. There is 3.1 degrees’ worth of warming if the oil and natural gas in this category are utilized, which would lead to a total increase in global temperatures of 7.6 degrees.

This warming does not even consider our coal resources. A middle-of-the-road estimate of the coal that qualifies as resources indicates that its use would lead to an additional increase of 8.6 degrees. Thus, the use of all reserves and resources would lead to a total increase of 16.2 degrees. Today’s climate and planet would very likely be unrecognizable.

Buried Fuel and a Much Warmer World

Scientists predict global disaster at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial temperatures; there is enough fossil fuel extracted and within reach to raise temperatures 16.2 degrees. 

Without pricing carbon to reflect expected climate damages, all of this coal, oil and natural gas is worth many trillions of dollars, so keeping it in the ground would mean passing up economic opportunities that are waiting to be taken and turning our backs on a long history of going to great lengths to recover these energy sources. A January study in Nature developed estimates of which fuels would have to be abandoned to stay below the 3.6-degree threshold. It found that most Canadian tar sands; all Arctic oil and gas; and a significant share of potential shale gas would need to stay locked up. It also found that major coal producers like the United States would need to keep 90 percent of their reserves in the ground.

There are essentially only three long-run solutions to the climate challenge. The first is to price carbon emissions to reflect the damages from climate change. In practice, this means pricing carbon in as many parts of the world as possible — and ideally, globally — so that there is a level playing field for all energy sources. There has been important progress in this area, including in the European Union, individual American states and regions (for example, California and the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), and parts of China.

And there are several ways to introduce carbon pricing, as a New York Times Op-Ed by David Hayes and James Stock underscored. But we are a long way from a global price on carbon, and the prices in existing carbon markets are lower than the projected damages from increased carbon emissions.

The second way to disrupt the energy market is to have low-carbon energy sources like nuclear, wind and solar become cheaper than their fossil fuel competition. Although there has been much progress in reducing the costs of wind and solar recently, they generally remain more expensive than fossil fuels. Further, the fracking revolution makes it clear that there will be continued technical advances that reduce the costs of recovering fossil fuels.

Indeed, it is well known that there are ample supplies of coal deeper beneath the Earth’s surface that do not yet qualify as resources, and there is increasing evidence that energy from methane hydrates may become relevant commercially. In other words, it seems unlikely that today’s low carbon energy sources will play a major role in the solution without significant public investment in research, development and test deployments of new technologies.

The third approach is to continue using those fuels, but capture and store the carbon before it is released or pull it out of the atmosphere after its release. Neither approach has yet been proved to work at scale, and costs remain high. Even if costs come down, it will very likely remain more expensive than using fossil fuels without capture and storage, so a carbon price would be necessary for it to be applied broadly. A related idea is to reflect sunlight away from the earth so temperatures do not rise as much. This approach does not reduce the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and there is agreement that further research is necessary.

If we use all of the fossil fuels in the ground, the planet will warm in a way that is difficult to imagine. Unless the economics of energy markets change, we are poised to use them.

Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman professor of economics at the University of Chicago, runs the Energy Policy Institute there. He was the chief economist of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2009 to 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Clara County has approved a plan to let SunPower build five solar farms at sites around the county. (SunPower file photo) ( sunpower )

Santa Clara County approves deals for five solar farms from SunPower

By Eric Kurhi San Jose Mercury News Posted:   04/07/2015 03:34:56 PM PDT

SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County is moving forward with a plan to install fields of solar panels on 32 acres of property, which would make it one of the nation’s top 10 on-site renewable users even as some environmental groups question using open space for the arrays. County leaders voted unanimously Tuesday to go ahead with power purchase agreements that will allow Sunpower to build solar farms at five sites, including one on Malech Road in South San Jose that could prove problematic because it may be the natural habitat of an at-risk butterfly. …. the arrays — similar to those that can be seen behind Evergreen Valley College — will generate 11.4 megawatts of power, which is about 17 percent of the total energy consumption of county facilities. Add that to existing solar installations, and it brings the county’s renewable usage to 49 percent. For Santa Clara County, “It continues to demonstrate the board’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing the county’s carbon footprint,” Snow said. Cost savings through the ower agreement are estimated to be $40 million over 20 years, although that’s dependent on a federal benefit tied to getting all of them connected through PG&E by a November 2016 deadline. While staff said the probability of not making that deadline is very low, there is a potential for holdup at Malech Road, where a biological consultant is checking the serpentine grass habitat for the existence of the threatened bay checkerspot butterfly. A report is due back this summer. “If it is determined that there is sensitive habitat, the design will need to avoid those,” said Rob Eastwood, an environmental planner with the county.

Alice Kaufman of the Committee for Green Foothills said that while her group and others including the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Greenbelt Alliance and California Native Plant Society support development of renewable energy sources, they do not agree with putting them on open space and particularly not on potential natural habitats.
“This trend of putting these installations out in rural areas is not something we want to see,” Kaufman said. “That’s not recognizing the value of open space. It’s not just dirt — solar panels should be put on rooftops or parking lots, especially when that’s already been shown to be feasible.”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anesthetic equipment in a crash room at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool. Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Associated Press

Anesthetics may be changing Earth’s climate after putting patients to sleep

By Andrew Freedman April 7, 2015

Some of the most commonly-used anesthetics may be doing more than putting patients to sleep. A new study shows they are accumulating in the planet’s atmosphere, warming the climate by a small but growing amount.

The study, published online in March in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that while the contributions of most manmade airborne anesthetics are relatively small when compared to the warming effect of carbon dioxide and methane, which are two of the biggest manmade players in causing global warming, they are increasing the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere. The study examines halogenated inhalation anesthetics, rather than anesthetics that are delivered intravenously. These inhalation anesthetics aren’t metabolized during clinical application, and go on to evaporate into the atmosphere. The study found evidence of a “rapid accumulation and ubiquitous presence” of three of these anesthetics in particular: isoflurane, desflurane and sevoflurane.

Each of these gases used for putting patients to sleep prior to and during surgery pack a global warming punch that’s far above their weight class. Of these three gases, the one with the biggest global warming influence is desflurane, according to the study. For example, 2.2 pounds of desflurane is equivalent to 5,512 pounds of carbon dioxide, in terms of the amount of greenhouse warming potential, according to a press release from the American Geophysical Union. “On a kilogram-per-kilogram basis, it’s so much more potent” than carbon dioxide, says Martin Vollmer, an atmospheric chemist at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dubendorf, Switzerland, who led the new study, in the release. Vollmer and his colleagues detected the anesthetics at varying amounts throughout the world, including their presence in the pristine Antarctic atmosphere. The study found that desflurane has an atmospheric concentration of 0.30 parts per trillion, while sevoflurane and halothane were present at 0.13 parts per trillion and 00.0092 parts per trillion. These chemicals are frequently used anesthetics, the study says. In comparison, carbon dioxide — which hit 400 parts per million last year and is already creeping above that mark at times this year — is a billion times more abundant than these anesthetics, according to the study. The researchers analyzed air samples from the Northern Hemisphere since 2000, as well as aboard research ships in the North Pacific and Antarctic, in addition to two sites in Switzerland.

 

 

 

Pacific Ocean currents visualized by a computer model.Image: Earth Simulator

Rapid global warming may be coming sooner than you think

By Andrew Freedman April 9, 2015

A new study bolsters the case that a period of much faster global warming may be imminent, if not already beginning. The study, published Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters, uses climate records gleaned from coral reefs in the South Pacific to recreate sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content dating back to 1791. The corals examined were from Fiji, Tonga and Rarotonga. Information from the coral reef core samples reveals how ocean surface temperatures have varied over time in the South Pacific, along with how the uptake and release of upper ocean heat content has varied over time, as well. The insights they provide, together with other recent research, carry important implications for how global warming may play out during the next two decades or so. The news that the coral reef core samples (combined with other climate signals) bring is not good, either. The research is important for understanding present-day climate because it demonstrates that there are regular decade-to-decade fluctuations in ocean surface temperatures and ocean heat content in the South Pacific that correlate with cycles of climate variability in other parts of the Pacific. The results suggest that when a cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, switches to a “positive mode,” the world will see faster temperature increases than it has since about 1999. The PDO, as it happens, has just switched into strongly positive territory. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the positive phase of the PDO — which features milder-than-average water temperatures along the West Coast of North America and parts of the South Pacific, as well as cooler ocean conditions in the central North Pacific — has persisted since July 2014. The slowdown in the rate of global warming since the late-1990s, commonly referred to as the “global warming hiatus,” has been a chimera, since more heat has been deposited into ocean waters during the period, according to this study and several others. Once the PDO flips and stays flipped, that heat will be rapidly released into the atmosphere, increasing global average temperatures….

 

 

DROUGHT

 

 


 

 

 

 

In Sequoia National Park, the paltry snowpack has forced skiers to hike to higher elevations to find enough snow for spring skiing. Credit Brian Melley/Associated Press

An almond seedling in a new orchard in Hanford, Calif. Almonds are an extremely thirsty crop, and California farmers are planting new orchards. Credit Max Whittaker for The New York Times

In Parched California, Innovation, Like Water, Has Limits

APRIL 7, 2015 NY TIMES Eduardo Porter

California’s drought has not spared A. G. Kawamura. A former state secretary of food and agriculture, Mr. Kawamura grows vegetables and strawberries south of Los Angeles in Orange County. He was relatively lucky, losing 15 percent of one green bean crop when his well went dry last June, two and a half weeks before harvest. Still, the fields have remained fallow since then. “If I didn’t have another farm, I would be out of business.”

Despite his worry over California’s four-year drought and its weirdly warming winter, Mr. Kawamura remains optimistic about farmers’ ability to adapt through human ingenuity. Irrigation systems have evolved from furrows to sprinklers to drips in the three generations since his family began farming in what is now the highly urbanized Los Angeles basin. These days, he said, there’s a water district experimenting with human waste, extracting methane and hydrogen to use for fuel and injecting the water into the aquifer. Australians have developed a technique to irrigate with brackish water, using the brine as fertilizer and cleaning out the water for use on site. He also sees promise in techniques to harvest water from the air.

Innovation, however, has a limit. California’s main challenge is not technological, but economic and political. One thing to keep in mind is that the state still has plenty of water. It just doesn’t have enough for every possible use, no matter how inefficient and wasteful. California’s cities consume 178 gallons per person per day, on average. That’s 40 percent more than the per capita water consumption in New York City and more than double that of parched Sydney, in Australia. A byzantine system of historic rights established to allocate water across the American Southwest actually encourages overuse. Even today, as almond trees in the Central Valley’s Kern County stand dead, farmers elsewhere in the state are planting new acres with this extremely thirsty crop, which sucks as much water in a year as Los Angeles does in three. And the decision by Gov. Jerry Brown to exempt farmers from California’s first restrictions ever on water use, even though they consume some 80 percent of the surface water used in the state, underscores the scale of the political challenge. But even if California moves to a more efficient system for allocating water among competing users — a big if — its problems are just beginning.

Most scientists agree there is little evidence to conclusively tie the recent instances of extreme weather to human-driven climate change. But there is little question that climate change will have a big impact on the weather and the availability of water, in the not-so-distant future. A new study by three researchers from Stanford University concluded that human emissions of carbon dioxide had increased the odds that California will suffer repeated combinations of warm temperature and low precipitation, “the co-occurring warm-dry conditions that have created the acute human and ecosystem impacts associated with the ‘exceptional’ 2012—2014 drought in California.”

And if such emissions continue growing throughout the century, researchers from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and Cornell University estimated that the entire American Southwest would face at least an 80 percent chance of suffering a multidecade “mega-drought” from 2050 through 2099…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Launches ‘First-Ever’ Sustainability Plan For LA Economy, Environment

April 8, 2015 11:20 AM
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti released a long-range plan Wednesday aimed at making the city more economically and environmentally sustainable.

The Sustainable City Plan calls for “an environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, equitable future in the context of an expected population growth of 500,000 people over the next 20 years,” according to the Mayor’s office.Not only does the plan make L.A. the potential national leader in solar, electric vehicle infrastructure, water conservation and green jobs, it also also new ground by making what Garcetti’s office called the city’s “first-ever commitments” towards zero emissions goods movement at the Port of Los Angeles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled.
Along with an executive order signed by Garcetti ordering implementation of the plan across all city departments, private organizations and individual Angelenos are being asked to “Adopt the Plan” in order to ensure its success, the mayor said. “Los Angeles grew into one of the world’s great cities because its residents and leaders dreamed, planned and then took action to build the metropolis we enjoy today,” said Garcetti….

 

From Community Conservation Solutions: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled his vision for a  sustainable Los Angeles with “the pLAn” – a suite of far-reaching environmental goals for the city of L.A. Directed by Chief Sustainability Officer Matt Petersen, Mayor Garcetti’s vision includes capturing 150,000 acre-feet of stormwater every year, replacing 50% of L.A.’s imported water with local water by 2035, and substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions

 

 

Garcetti Unveils “Sustainable City pLAn” Includes Transportation and Livability Goals

by Joe Linton Wednesday April 8 2015

At a public signing ceremony this morning in Echo Park, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced his ambitious new “Sustainable City pLAn.” The environmental plan [PDF] describes itself as “a roadmap for a Los Angeles that is environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all — now and over the next 20 years.” The mayor’s event was well attended by more than 200 people, including city department heads and many environmental leaders.

The document is extensive, but written very simply and clearly. For each category, the plan includes very specific, measurable goals for 2025 and 2035. Additionally, it includes near-term outcomes to be completed by 2017.

There is a whole lot to like in the 100-page Sustainable City pLAn – from water to solar energy to waste to urban agriculture. This article just summarizes outcomes directly related to transportation and livability. Those include:

Mobility and Transit: (page 54)

  • Outcome: Reduce daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 5 percent by 2025, and by 10 percent by 2035. 2012 per capita VMT was 14.7 miles/day, according to the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
  • Outcome: Increase the mode share percentage of all trips made by walking, bicycling, and transit to at least 35 percent by 2025, and to at least 50 percent by 2035. 2012 walk/bike/transit mode share totaled 26 percent, per SCAG.
  • Outcome: Increase trips through shared services – car share, bike share, ride share – to at least 2 percent by 2025, and to at least 5 percent by 2035. 2012 shared transportation mode share totals 0.9 percent, per SCAG.
  • Near-Term Outcomes for 2017: implement 1,000-bike bike share (Metro regional bike share underway), and increase multimodal connections at 10 rail stations.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: build bike infrastructure, expand and upgrade Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), expand rail network, expand dynamically priced parking, and revise parking minimums.

Livable Neighborhoods: (page 92)

  • Outcome: Implement Vision Zero policy to reduce traffic fatalities.
  • Outcome: Increase L.A.’s average Walk Score to 75 by 2025. Current L.A. average is 64.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: Adopt Vision Zero policy, establish multi-agency Vision Zero task force, incorporate pedestrian safety into all street designs/redesigns, expand People St, and increase number/scope of CicLAvias.

 Housing and Development: (page 48) 

  • Outcome: Increase the percentage of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) by ensuring proportion of new housing units built within 1,500 feet of transit is at least 57 percent by 2025, and at least 65 percent by 2035. In 2014, new housing was 24 percent transit-adjacent, per L.A. City.
  • Near-Term Outcomes for 2017: Issue permits for 17,000 new units of housing within 1,500 feet of transit.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: Leverage re:code L.A. to promote a transit-oriented city, work with Metro on affordable housing joint development opportunities (underway), update parking regulations to foster bike and car share.

Air Quality: (page 74)

  • Outcome: By 2025, zero days when air pollution reaches unhealthy levels. In 2013, there were 40 non-attainment days, per South Coast Air Quality Management District.
  • Strategies and Priority Initiatives include: Convert local goods movement to zero-emission and support electric vehicle infrastructure, including greening the city’s fleets.

 Environmental Justice: (page 80)

  • Outcome: Reduce the number of annual childhood asthma-related emergency room visits in L.A.’s most contaminated neighborhoods to less than 14 per 1000 children in 2025, and to less than 8 per 1000 children in 2035. In 2010, L.A.’s highest zip code saw 31 visits, per Plan for a Healthy L.A.
  • Outcome: Ensure all low-income Angelenos live within a half mile of fresh food by 2035.

Urban Ecosystem: (page 86)

  • Outcome: Complete 32 miles of Los Angeles River public access by 2025. As of 2014, 13.3 miles have public access, per L.A. City Bureau of Engineering.

Carbon and Climate Leadership: (page 34)

  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 1990 baseline by 45 percent in 2025, 60 percent in 2035, and 80 percent in 2050.

….It is telling that the plan acknowledges the Bloomberg Associates sustainability team, including Rohit Aggarwala, the mastermind behind PlaNYC. Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg laid the groundwork for New York City’s streets transformation with the quantifiable framework outlined in PlaNYC. The plan was praised wholeheartedly by environmental and business leaders at this morning’s event. Mayor Garcetti pledged that this “is not a plan for the shelves.” At today’s event he signed a mayoral directive [PDF] that requires all city departments incorporate pLAn outcomes into their departmental activities. In addition, the directive establishes sustainability officers in applicable city departments and bureaus, and sets up a reporting mechanism to track city progress on pLAn outcomes

 

 

Sonoma County Water Agency hits clean energy goal

BY ANGELA HART THE PRESS DEMOCRAT April 6, 2015, 7:11PM

To pump, treat and transport the drinking water for 660,000 North Bay residents, the Sonoma County Water Agency uses enough electricity every day to power the equivalent of about 6,500 local homes. Going forward, all that electricity will be from renewable and carbon-free sources, meaning it will come from the expanding network of solar installations popping up around the county, as well as from The Geysers geothermal fields on the Sonoma-Lake county line and other established green energy projects. The Water Agency has been moving steadily toward the clean energy goal since 2006 and this year expects to hit its target, a benchmark that officials celebrated on Monday. “This is a big deal,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who gathered with local and state lawmakers at the headquarters of Santa Rosa Water, the city’s utilities department. “If we’re going to tackle this huge problem of climate change, we’re going to have to address that embedded footprint in how we manage water.” The two largest local renewable energy sources for the Water Agency include hydroelectric power generated by Warm Springs Dam at Lake Sonoma, which supplies more than a quarter of the agency’s needs, and a power plant that generates electricity from methane gas at the Central Landfill, accounting for about 55 percent of the agency’s needs. The remainder of the Water Agency’s supply comes from a combination of local solar installations — the water wholesaler has installed three systems totaling more than 3,000 solar panels on county-owned property — and from sources linked to Sonoma Clean Power, the public provider, or other hydroelectric projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Workers install solar panels on a rooftop on February 20, 2015, at a home in Palmetto Bay, Florida. KERRY SHERIDAN/AFP/Getty Images

Report: The way we power our homes may be on the verge of a major change

By Chris Mooney April 7 2015 Washington Post

In recent years, the growth of the rooftop solar market has been astounding. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the growth rate for at-home solar has been above 50 percent for three years running (2012, 2013, and 2014).But if a new study is to be believed, the changes have only begun. The way we get power is “at a metaphorical fork in the road,” says the new report released today by the Rocky Mountain Institute, an influential energy policy think tank. The reason is not just rooftop solar but, beyond that, the growing feasibility of home electricity systems combining solar panels with batteries for storage of energy. “Grid-connected self-consuming solar will become economic for nearly all customers imminently, with grid-connected solar plus-battery systems following soon after,” notes the study, which was co-authored by Homer Energy. Customers will chose these options, the study finds, because they’ll save money on their bills. And once they can not only generate their own power from the sun, but can also store it until they need it (including overnight, when there’s no sun shining), the old model of buying all your power from a single utility company could be strongly challenged.

The new report agrees with another recent study, just out in the journal Energy Policy, that people will not be abandoning the grid en masse. But over time, more and more of the electrons that they use to power their homes and lives could. While most people will stay connected so that they’ll always have backup power, they’ll increasingly generate and store more and more of their own, and potentially sell it back to the grid (a key reason to remain connected)…..

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

ICLEI World Congress 2015: Sustainable Solutions for an Urban Future

Seoul, Korea April 8-12, 2015

The ICLEI World Congress 2015 will be the first in 20 years to take place in Asia following Saitama, Japan in 1995, which will enhance cooperation among its East Asian Members. Each edition of the ICLEI World Congress sees representatives of local governments from all over the world equip themselves firsthand with the practical know-how of their top performing counterparts, all the while profiling their cities’ achievements in the spotlight…Over 1,100 registered participants 243 local and regional governments… 151 ICLEI Members represented…

 

Science for Parks, Parks for Science – Now Online!

Summit Now Online Thanks to the National Park Service, we were able to livestream the opening ceremony, the keynote by E.O. Wilson and all the plenary lectures. The livestream of E.O. Wilson’s keynote “Saving half the world for the rest of life” was the most watched livestream in the history of UC Berkeley! You can now view all these recordings here. …Our recent conference “Science for Parks, Parks for Science: The Next Century” was a great success. We welcomed over 530 participants from as far away as Israel, Australia, Mexico and Canada. Our youngest participants were 5 week old “Flora” and 10 week old “Bodie” – who rely on good results from our conversations about science for parks, parks for science: the next century.

 

 

 

UPCOMING CONFERENCES: 

 

 

 

JOBS (apologies for any duplication; thanks for passing along)

 

 

President & CEO of NatureBridge

Do you know a leader who is passionate about connecting kids to nature? I am conducting a search for the next President & CEO of NatureBridge, a leading environmental education nonprofit headquartered in San Francisco. We are seeking a skilled senior-level executive with a deep commitment to the preservation of the natural world.   NatureBridge believes environmental education should be part of every child’s experience. Over 40 years, the organization has helped over 1 million kids connect with nature. Approximately 30,000 students participate in their residential field environmental programs each year in Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Channel Islands National Park, and at their newest site in Prince William Forest Park in Virginia. NatureBridge is in the process of transforming into a truly national organization, and becoming more integrated across multiple program sites. The organization is reorienting from a loose federation of local campuses to a single national educational institution that is focused on engaging and empowering young people so that they can grow into environmentally literate citizens who support a sustainable future. Successful candidates will have a breadth of successful general management and leadership experiences in the nonprofit, public and/or private sector, and experience moving a complex organization from ambitious vision to successful execution. Strong external relations skills and a deep connection to the mission are also required. To learn more about this opportunity or to apply, please see the full opportunity announcement on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

  • OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

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————

Ellie Cohen, President and CEO

Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO)

3820 Cypress Drive, Suite 11, Petaluma, CA 94954

707-781-2555 x318

 

www.pointblue.org  | Follow Point Blue on Facebook!

 

Point Blue—Conservation science for a healthy planet.

 

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