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Comprehensive Review of Climate Change Science from the Green Market Oracle

Climate-ChangeSolarFeeds note: We bumped into this Green Market Oracle post from 2012 and it was too good not to share. Republished (with permission) here in its entirety , the post inspired SolarFeeds to create a new category for not-so-new stuff worth sharing. The category is called “Awesome”!

The evidence for anthropogenic global warming is unassailable. In 2009, 18 scientific groups — including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Meteorological Society — issued a joint statement indicating that human activities are the “primary driver” of climate change. The National Academy of Sciences (the gold standard for objective scientific assessment) have also clearly supported the body of evidence on anthropogenic global warming.

“Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is due to human activities.”

Here are 33 articles, reports and studies that support the existence of anthropogenic climate change:

  1. No scientific body of national or international standing maintains a dissenting opinion on climate change
  2. September 2012 was the Warmest in Recorded History (NOAA)
  3. Strong Body of Evidence for a Changing Climate
  4. American Meteorological Society Corroborates Anthropogenic Climate Change
  5. More Scientific Support for Anthropogenic Climate Change 
  6. Science and Pernicious Ignorance of Climate Change Denial
  7. The Fifth Global Environmental Outlook Report
  8. Findings and Solutions in the Living Planet Report 2012
  9. A New Study Indicates We Are Reaching a Tipping Points
  10. Environmental Tipping Points
  11. Climate Change Science
  12. Top Four Climate Studies of 2011
  13. State of the Climate Global Analysis Nov 2011
  14. Interactive Map Reveals Warmer Spring 2012
  15. 2012 is but the Latest Year Marked by Heat and Drought
  16. Heat in the US Northeast and Drought Around the World IN 2012
  17. Temperature Data: 1880 – 2011 (Video)
  18. New NASA Video Graphically Illustrates that the Earth is Warming
  19. Popular Media is Distorting the Facts about Climate
  20. State of the Climate Global Analysis Nov 2011
  21. Debunking CO2 Myths and The Science of Climate Change
  22. Primer on CO2 and other GHGs
  23. Video: Why People are Confused about the Scientific Veracity of Climate Change
  24. Bill McKibben: Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math
  25. The Effects of Global Warming
  26. The human fingerprint in global warming
  27. Human activities produce in just 3 to 5 days, the equivalent amount of carbon that volcanoes produce globally each year
  28. Chronological history of atmospheric CO2, showing a massive spike from the Industrial Revolution onwards
  29. Strong correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels, man-made carbon emissions and the global average temperature
  30. The rapid decline in Arctic sea ice is between 70% and 95% due to man-made global warming
  31. A NASA study reports that changes in solar activity cannot be responsible for the current period of global warming
  32. 10-year average (2000–2009) global temperature anomaly relative to 1951–1980 mean
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Ivanpah, a concentrated solar plant, faces tough road

Thousands of heliostats focus solar energy on three boilers at the top of solar power towers at the world's largest solar thermal power station in the Mojave Desert
Thousands of heliostats focus solar energy on three boilers at the top of solar power towers at the world’s largest solar thermal power station in the Mojave Desert

Seen from the air, the Ivanpah solar project is both breathtaking and terrifying. In a valley just north of Interstate 15, near the Nevada border, close to 350,000 mirrors reflect sunlight toward three massive towers, which glow impossibly bright as they convert that sunlight into energy.

Ivanpah is the largest concentrated solar plant in the world. Unlike traditional solar photovoltaic panels — which convert sunlight directly into electricity — concentrated solar technology uses sunlight to heat water or another liquid, ultimately creating steam that can be used to turn turbines and generate electricity.

Concentrated solar power is much more expensive than solar panels and wind turbines, but advocates say it has a major advantage over those technologies, particularly in California: the ability to store energy. As the state races to adopt renewable energy, one of its biggest challenges will be intermittency — the fact that most solar and wind plants only produce power when the sun is shining, or when the wind is blowing.

Community Solar Allows Utilities to Adapt, Thrive as Energy Landscape Evolves

utilities-and-community-520Adaptability is the key to survival—both in nature as Charles Darwin observed, and in the business sector. As the solar industry continues to flourish, utility companies across the U.S. are beginning to witness how the traditional electric grid is transforming.

As tens of thousands of residents have solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on their rooftops and begin generating their own power, they need less electricity from the utility grid. The issue of net-metering, selling the excess solar energy back to the utility, has sparked a heated debate since utility companies must still incur the costs of maintaining the grid for all users—including the solar homes that are interconnected.

While companies spend their time battling for and against net-metering and state regulators strive to reach a compromise, other disruptive forces are quickly evolving. From battery storage and other renewable technologies to shifting consumer-usage trends and pressure to upgrade the grid, utilities face increasing threats to their centralized service model.

 

Green power floods Japan grid as premium prices bite

Kyushu Electric | KYODO
Kyushu Electric | KYODO

Japan’s utilities say they are being swamped by green power because of rules forcing them to buy up every last watt produced from renewable sources, as new generating companies seek to cash in on premium prices.

Power firms say the grid does not have enough capacity to cope with the rocketing levels of electricity that is coming from a growing number of solar power facilities, possibly risking blackouts.

Yet critics point out that these utilities are simultaneously agitating to restart mothballed nuclear reactors, insisting they need the stability and reliability that atomic power plants provide.

“It sounds inconsistent that a power company says it plans to restart a nuclear plant on the one hand, and on the other says it does not want solar power because there is not enough demand” to soak up all the supply, said Hisayo Takada, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace.

Under rules that came into effect in 2012, Japan’s 10 electricity providers — all with a monopoly in their supply area — are obliged to buy power generated from green sources at rates fixed by the government each year.

This rate represents a significant premium on the cost of generation, which the utilities can pass on to consumers. That currently works out at 2,700 yen ($25) per household, per year.

The idea was to offer income guarantees to new generating companies and encourage production from renewables which — together with hydropower — accounted for around 10 percent of Japan’s electricity in 2012, boosting that rate to around 30 percent by 2030.

But Kyushu Electric and four other utilities said in September they would suspend purchases under the so-called Feed-In Tariff (FIT) system, citing the risk of blackouts from overload.

Critics charge that utilities don’t like this green energy because it competes with their own supplies. They say the monopoly these huge firms have on distribution allows them to obfuscate.

“If a utility says it can’t transmit solar power on its grid, currently no one can verify the claim because the grid system is a closed box to outsiders,” said Greenpeace’s Takada.

“I hope the (ministry of economy, trade and industry) will review the claims with fairness and based on information disclosure that should be provided by utilities,” she told AFP.

– Predictable –

Green energy has taken on a particular significance in Japan since the tsunami-sparked disaster at Fukushima knocked public confidence in nuclear power, a technology that had previously supplied more than a quarter of the country’s electricity.

Japan’s entire stock of reactors is now offline, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s business-friendly government wants to get some of them back up and running, insisting nuclear is crucial to energy security and can help towards greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

For Hikaru Hiranuma, research fellow at the Tokyo Foundation, the quibbles from the power companies were symptomatic of the half-baked deregulation that has left them with too much control over both production and distribution.

“I’m a bit worried about the future of renewable energy in this country because a power grid system that is accessible to everyone is yet to be realised,” he said.

Primarily, he argues, the utilities should not be allowed to own the means of distribution.

“Otherwise they can set up barriers to new entrants to the power market, by, for example charging for transmission and imposing penalties for unstable electricity supply.”

The growth in green energy production — up 54 percent since 2012 to 31.6 million kilowatt hours, according to government data — was predictable enough once the FIT system was introduced, he said.

“That’s how a country like Spain has made such good use of renewable energy,” he said, adding 30 percent of its supply now came from renewables.

“The causes of the emerging problem is not the FIT but utilities’ failure to prepare for growth in solar power … which raises a question about the utilities’ suitability as business entities,” Hiranuma said.

Interconnect Technology Makes Major Advances

interconnect-technology

Today’s announcement of the Applied Endura® Volta™ CVD Cobalt system, which deposits thin conformal and selective cobalt films for manufacturing the copper circuitry that connects billions of transistors in today’s integrated circuits, marks the biggest change in the copper interconnect in the last 15 years.

The Endura Volta CVD system is a major technical achievement for Applied Materials that showcases the company’s precision materials engineering expertise. I’m thrilled about today’s announcement and pleased to provide a brief overview of the new system, highlight key challenges the industry is facing in the manufacturing of advanced interconnects, and discuss the critical applications using cobalt.

Growth in semiconductors today is driven primarily by mobile applications and this demand continues to increase with no slowdown in sight. Supporting this trend, chipmakers continue adding smaller and faster transistors to chips to maintain the pace of Moore’s Law, and as a consequence copper wiring is being drastically scaled and densities increased. Today advanced chips can feature up to 15 layers of copper metallization and more than 7 linear miles of wiring embedded in a square-inch 28nm chip layout—a distance that will only increase as transistor density increases and additional metal levels are added. At these dimensions it becomes exceptionally difficult to achieve perfect copper fill in 100% of the trenches and vias that make up the circuitry of a device. Other performance-degrading effects, such as electro-migration, which can cause movement of copper that leaves voids in the wiring, also become significantly more problematic. The smallest defect can kill a device; interconnect performance and reliability begin to suffer under these conditions. For chipmakers, this means yield issues. For consumers, it means mobile devices that they rely on may fail or not function correctly.

 


Higher densities at smaller nodes generate several new manufacturing challenges, specifically in the ability to fill narrow geometries and to extract reliable performance from the wires and interconnects. As a result, the industry needs new materials that can keep extending copper technology to maintain the pace of Moore’s Law.

New Materials Era for Interconnects
The Volta system’s breakthrough technology leverages Applied’s expertise in precision materials engineering to alleviate roadblocks to copper interconnect scaling beyond the 2Xnm node through two enabling applications—a conformal cobalt liner and a selective cobalt capping layer, which together completely encapsulate the copper wiring.

Cobalt is a phenomenal new material, primarily because it has several good characteristics.  It offers low resistivity and adheres well to copper and barrier layers. Plus, there is flexibility in depositing and tuning this material — making it production friendly.

In the first new process step, CVD cobalt enables the thin, continuous deposition for the liner layer that optimizes the subsequent copper seed layer, driving good plating performance and, ultimately, reliable device performance.

The second cobalt process deposits a selective CVD cobalt capping layer after the chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) step on copper lines to reduce electro-migration. The cap immobilizes the atoms at the surface of the copper, promoting good adhesion of the copper lines to the subsequent dielectric barrier layer.

What Applied Materials has done by enabling the two new process steps—the Volta CVD system’s cobalt liner and selective cobalt capping layer—is to demonstrate improved copper gap fill and an order-of-magnitude reduction in electro-migration. These are critical to extending Moore’s Law beyond 20 nanometers.

Original Article on Cleantech, Applied

Gulf Of Mexico: Dirty Energy Exploitation Now Allowed

Gulf Of Mexico: Open For Dirty Energy Exploitation Again (via Desmogblog)

Tue, 2014-02-25 05:00Farron Cousins It has been nearly four years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and neither the dirty energy industry nor politicians in Washington, D.C. have learned anything…

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Hasbro Announces Partnership with 3D Systems

Print & Play: Hasbro Announces Partnership with 3D Systems (via BestTechie)

Today, one of the biggest names in toys, the Pawtucket, RI-based Hasbro, announced a new partnership with 3D Systems, one of the few companies in the business of selling 3D printers to consumers and businesses. A press release published today explains…

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