News & Events


Energy in the News: Friday, December 14

Congratulations to Jing Sun, who has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Fellows are named inventors on U.S. patents, nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation. See the full list here.

Greg Keoleian is a listed author on a new Science paper, Global carbon intensity of crude oil production.

Congratulations to Carrie Morton, who was named a Board Member of ITS America.

Work from CLOSUP: 88% of Americans support increasing the use of solar energy in their state, and 82% are in favor of increasing the use of wind energy.

Forecast 2019: Climate change reality takes firmer hold
Michigan News, with Andy Hoffman
The public debate over climate change is changing right now in some very interesting ways. Until now, the focus has mostly been on the science, and that allows people to create some psychological distance between themselves and the issue: “It’s gonna happen to somebody else, some place else, far into the future.” And the discourse now is starting to shift, saying, “It’s happening to us, and it’s happening right now and here.” The debate has been engaged and it will continue. It will have staying power.
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Why greens are turning away from a carbon tax
Politico, featuring Barry Rabe
Taxing carbon to tackle climate change is one of those big ideas that have long held a kind of bipartisan sway in Washington — endorsed by Al Gore and former members of Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet, economists from both parties and even Exxon Mobil.
But environmentalists are increasingly ready to look elsewhere.
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U.S. oil is surging. Here’s what it means for the climate
E&E News, featuring Daniel Raimi
America is closer than ever to energy independence.
Last week, the U.S. became a net exporter of oil and petroleum products. The 11.7 million barrels pumped at the end of November makes the U.S. the world’s largest crude producer. American exports now total 3.2 million barrels a day, an extraordinary number given that former President Obama lifted the ban on crude exports just three years ago.
All of which raises the question: Has the boom in U.S. oil production contributed to the global rise in greenhouse gas levels?
The short answer is yes, but by how much is a matter of some debate.
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Earth on course to match climate from 3 million years ago by 2030, UW study says
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, featuring Jonathan Overpeck
Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have surpassed those from any point in human history and by 2030 are likely to resemble levels from 3 million years ago when sea levels were more than 60 feet higher than today and the Arctic was forested and largely ice-free, according to a new paper by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

During that period, known as the mid-Pliocene era, temperatures were warmer by between 3.2 to 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and there was no Greenland ice sheet. Though it is melting today, the ice sheet is still two miles thick at its highest point.
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Jonathan Overpeck was also featured in Six things Wisconsin families can do to fight climate change.

How Rivian is building the longest lasting batteries in the EV business
The Rivian R1T “adventure vehicle” made headlines and dropped jaws when it was revealed at the 2018 LA Auto Show last month, namely because nobody has ever really tried to make an all-electric pickup for the US market before. Much less one with more than a 400-mile range. That capability is due to the vehicle’s gargantuan power pack with capacities up to 180 kWh — 80 percent larger than today’s biggest batteries.
Building the biggest battery on the market and making it rugged enough to handle the rigors of offroading is no mean feat, argues Richard Farquahr, Rivian’s VP of Propulsion. The company employs a team of more than two dozen battery and energy storage engineers to figure out how to pack as much power into those cells and release it as fast as possible.
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‘Carbon removal is now a thing’: Radical fixes get a boost at climate talks
The Washington Post
With most of the world’s nations seemingly unable to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, some climate experts here are focusing on coming up with an economic way to remove them.
Fueled by glum reports about the trajectory of global carbon emissions, more and more businesses, policymakers and researchers are coming to the same conclusion: The world must improve and commercialize methods to capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it or find practical uses for it.
The focus on carbon capture comes as representatives here from nearly 200 nations try to hash out how the world can collectively combat climate change by reducing emissions. What has been largely a science experiment now seems to be a vital way to come up with a technological breakthrough that can reduce and maybe one day reverse some of the damage being done.
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Binational Report Lists 15 Great Lakes Sites As Most Vulnerable To Oil Spills
Wisconsin Public Radio
A new report from the science advisory board for a U.S.-Canadian group has identified 15 sites on the Great Lakes that are the most vulnerable to crude oil spills.
The report released Monday by the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board lists sensitive shoreline areas near pipelines or rail corridors that transport oil. The St. Louis River Estuary in Duluth-Superior, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, northern Green Bay and the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Michigan and Huron are among the most vulnerable areas.
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Offshore Wind Bonanza Draws Bidding War in Record-Setting Sale
Companies competed Thursday for the opportunity to install wind turbines in Atlantic waters off Massachusetts in an auction that shattered records even as it headed toward a second day of frenzied bidding.
After 24 rounds of sealed bidding, companies had already pledged $285 million toward the three offshore wind leases that are up for grabs — more than six times the previous high-water mark: Norwegian energy company Equinor ASA’s $42.47 million bid in 2016 for the rights to build an offshore wind farm near New York.
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Wild winter weather in Illinois presses the case for microgrid development
Midwest Energy News
As climate change brings more frequent extreme weather to the Midwest, the resiliency case for microgrids improves.
Microgrid advocates have long touted the systems’ potential to help customers withstand extreme weather, a selling point that’s been stronger outside the Midwest in hurricane-prone areas along the East Coast.
Climate change could be changing that, though, as the risk of disruptive storms rises in the region alongside global temperatures. The shift is gradually improving the resilience case for microgrids in the Midwest.
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