Energy in the News: Friday, October 21

Friday, October 21, 2016

Relying on future tech to suck up carbon is rolling the dice with the planet

Grist, feat. John DeCicco

Removing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere to prevent global warming from becoming catastrophic may be a fool’s game amounting to a “moral hazard par excellence,” according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Science.

Nobody knows if atmospheric carbon removal — known as negative emissions — will work, and it could delay critical cuts to emissions while tacitly giving people license to pollute, the paper says.

Read more

U-M's Joel Blum named editor-in-chief of new journal ACS Earth and Space Chemistry

University of Michigan News, feat. Joel Blum

University of Michigan environmental scientist Joel Blum has been named the inaugural editor of a new American Chemical Society journal dedicated to geochemistry, atmospheric and marine chemistry, and astrochemistry research.

ACS Earth and Space Chemistry will begin publication early next year and will unite the diverse and global community of scientists who explore the complex chemical nature of materials and processes that occur on Earth, within our solar system, and in the universe beyond.

"I am extremely excited about the introduction of this new ACS journal, because it brings together a large community of scientists from around the world who are investigating the chemistry of natural materials and processes on Earth and beyond," Blum said.

Read more

A window into battery life for next-gen lithium cells

University of Michigan News, feat. Neil Dasgupta

Dendrites, whiskers of lithium that grow inside batteries and can cause fires like those in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, are the bane of next-generation lithium batteries.

While they usually spread under cover of darkness in a closed cell, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan has spied on them by cutting a window in a battery and filming the dendrites as they grew (the battery they probed was a next-generation lithium metal battery, and not the lithium ion type used in commercial cell phones and other consumer electronics).

Read more

Why are greens opposing a carbon tax?

E&E ClimateWire, feat. Barry Rabe

A ballot measure in Washington state seeking to impose the first carbon tax in the United States faces an uncertain future due to an unlikely source of opposition: environmentalists.

The rancor among Evergreen State greens threatens to sink a long-standing priority of U.S. climate activists. A recent poll showed those in favor of a tax with a 5-point lead, 42 percent to 37 percent, but fully 21 percent of Washington voters remain undecided.

Much of the conflict is personal. An attempt last year to reconcile the plan proposed by CarbonWA, the group behind the initiative, with one favored by the state's leading environmental groups ended in acrimony.

Read more

EPA: self-driving car emissions need federal oversight

E&E ClimateWire, feat EAB member Chris Grundler

The next administration will have to regulate the spread of shared, connected and autonomous vehicles so they do not affect the climate, a top U.S. EPA official said yesterday.

Read more

Auto industry meets or beats fuel efficiency standards

The Huffington Post, feat. EAB member Phyllis Cuttino

Fuel drives our transportation system. It powers more than 250 million vehicles that move people and goods across the country. Today, consumers are saving money at the pump, cars and trucks pollute less, and the auto industry is rapidly innovating. Much of this good news can be traced to efforts the Obama administration made over the past seven years to create a cleaner and more efficient U.S. transportation sector. Thanks to a series of fuel efficiency and tailpipe emission standards, the administration succeeded.

Read more

Statoil chief: rise of electric cars will shrink oil industry

Climate Home

Oil demand will peak in the 2020s and then the industry will start to shrink, Statoil chief executive Eldar Saetre told an audience of industry executives in London on Monday.3

The Norwegian struck a pessimistic note at the annual Oil and Money conference, which traditionally offers upbeat assessments on the hydrocarbon sector.

But his logic was simple: transport accounts for 55% of oil use, and the electric vehicle industry is starting to gather pace meaning a once-guaranteed market could start to fade – fast.

According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report in June, there are now more than one million electric cars on the roads, with sales up 70% from 2014 levels.

Read more

U.S. energy shakeup continues as solar capacity triples

Climate Central

Solar power capacity in the U.S. will have nearly tripled in size in less than three years by 2017 amid an energy shakeup that has seen natural gas solidify its position as the country’s chief source of electricity and coal power continue to fade, according to monthly data published by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Cutting carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants is a major part of the U.S. strategy for tackling climate change as the country seeks to meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement and keep global warming from exceeding more than 2°C (3.6°F).

Read more

Rooftop panel benefits to 'society' outstrip net-metering costs, report says

E&E EnergyWire

A new report says homes and businesses that turn to solar energy tend to provide more benefits to the electric grid than they receive from net metering.

Read more