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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 10:47:51 AM EST
ENERGY: Nuclear Does Not Make Economic Sense Say Studies - IPS ipsnews.net
BERLIN, Feb 12, 2010 (IPS) - The enormous technical and financial risks involved in the construction and operation of new nuclear power plants make them prohibitive for private investors, rebutting the thesis of a renaissance in nuclear energy, say several independent European studies.

The risks include high construction costs, likely long delays in building, extended periods of depreciation of equipment inherent to the construction and operation of new power plants and the lack of guarantees for prices of electricity.

Adding to these is the global meltdown and the consequent cautious behaviour of investors as also fiscal and revenue difficulties of governments in the industrialised countries, say the studies.

In the most recent analysis on the feasibility of new nuclear power plants, the Citibank group concludes that some of "the risks faced by developers ... are so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially."

The Citibank paper, titled `New Nuclear - The Economics Say No', lists five major risks developers and operators of new nuclear power plants must confront. These risks are planning, construction, power price, operational, and decommissioning. According to the study, most governments in industrialised countries today have only "sought to limit the planning risk" for investors.

But, while it is "important for encouraging developers to bring forward projects, [planning] is the least important risk financially," the survey goes on. According to the Citibank group, the most important risks are construction, power price, and operational. The paper dubs these risks "the corporate killers."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Link to the study: https://www.citigroupgeo.com/pdf/SEU27102.pdf

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 04:09:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate change impact of soil underestimated: study
Helsinki (AFP) Feb 8, 2010
Finnish researchers called for a revision of climate change estimates Monday after their findings showed emissions from soil would contribute more to climate warming than previously thought.

"A Finnish research group has proved that the present standard measurements underestimate the effect of climate warming on emissions from the soil," the Finnish Environment Institute said in a statement.

"The error is serious enough to require revisions in climate change estimates," it said, adding that all climate models used soil emission estimates based on measurements received using an erroneous method.

The institute said that while emissions from soil were known to have a significant influence on climate warming, previous studies took into account short-term measurements which gave "systematically biased estimates on the effects of climate change on the emissions."

The Finnish scientists' experiments in boreal forests used radiocarbon measurements and showed that the more abundant, slowly decomposing compounds in soil were more sensitive to rises in temperature, the statement said.

This showed "carbon dioxide emissions from the soil will be up to 50 percent higher than those suggested by the present mainstream method," if the mean global temperature rose by the previously forecasted five degrees Celsius before the end of the century, and if the carbon flow to soil did not increase.

The institute said a 100 to 200 percent increase of forest biomass was needed to offset the increasing carbon emissions from soil, whereas previous estimates called for a 70 to 80 percent increase.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CLIMATE CHANGE: The Day After Tomorrow Might Have Been Yesterday - IPS ipsnews.net
As Washingtonians finally dug themselves out Friday to brave clogged metro trains and icy roads on the way to the office, one of the lasting impacts of the past week is the discussions it has provoked about how climate change has impacted the current weather - and how this weather might impact the ongoing debate here over how the U.S. government should address the threat of climate change.

Dubbed the "snowpocalypse" - or sometimes "snowpocalypse II" in deference to the previous storm that blanketed Washington in December - the scenes on the streets this past week have actually seemed eerily post-apocalyptic. Silent, monochrome and empty, they have, for some, forebode a world in which no action is taken to stem the effects of climate change.

Others, though, see the wintry landscape as undermining the direness - or even the reality - of the threat posed by climate change, which they prefer to refer to as global warming, thus underscoring what they see as the incongruences between the phenomenon and the snowy spell.

On Wednesday, for example, climate change denier Sen. James Inhofe told The New York Times that the recent weather furthered doubts over whether climate change is "unequivocal" or a human-made phenomenon.

Fox News commentators likewise raised throughout the week what they felt was the "inconvenient" connection between the blizzard and the theory of global warming.

And conservative Republican Sen. Jim DeMint posted the comment "It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries 'uncle'" to his Twitter account Tuesday morning.

If anything, though, the weather should help discredit climate change deniers, contend major climate scientists and activists.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BIODIVERSITY: India Bans Farming of GM Aubergine - IPS ipsnews.net
NEW DELHI, Feb 9, 2010 (IPS) - After India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh announced Tuesday a ban on the cultivation of Bt brinjal, the country's first genetically modified (GM) food crop, food security experts and activists said this major farming country has been saved from a biodiversity disaster.

"This is a historic decision. The minister deserves to be congratulated, given that he was under enormous pressure to give approval for Bt brinjal, especially after the country's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) cleared it," leading food security specialist Devinder Sharma told IPS.

Had Bt brinjal - more widely known as eggplant or aubergine - been cleared in India, it would have opened the floodgates to a technology that is regarded with huge suspicion around the world, Sharma said. "Countries like the Philippines and Bangladesh were waiting to see which way India would go on this."

Sharma said Ramesh's decision had several implications, starting with the credibility of the GEAC which had earlier approved the cultivation of genetically modified Bt cotton. Both Bt cotton and Bt brinjal carry a gene taken from a bacterium, bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), that is toxic to pests and supposedly saves on pesticides.

The introduction of Bt brinjal has not been as smooth as that of Bt cotton and the public outcry that followed GEAC's approval of Bt brinjal on Oct. 14, 2009 was so fierce that Ramesh was compelled to announce the holding of public hearings before final clearance.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:15:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy for complexity: big government vs big business - it doesn't really matter which you hate (environmentalresearchweb blog) - environmentalresearchweb

What has unfortunately been quite absent from most of the political discussions about how to get the economy "back on track" is the true role of energy resources and technologies. With all of the talk in the United States about the need to "connect the dots" for the "War on Terrorism", what we really need to do is accept the way the energy and economic dots are connected in our modern industrial society.

By taking the following factors into account and enhancing our knowledge of how we can and cannot affect these indicators, we will "connect the dots" on our future as well as possible:

  • (1) Jevon's Paradox states that increased efficiency in the use of resources (in this case energy resources) through the use of technology and structural change increases total resource consumption.
  • (a) Policy point: if we target increasing efficiency, we can expect to only delay environmental problems.
  • (2) The energy return on energy invested (EROI) for the combination of energy resources, renewable and fossil, together with technology that converts those resources into services dictates the level of complexity attainable by society.
  • (a) Policy point: society seems to have reached a level of complexity in the last 1-3 decades such that:
  • (3) The EROI of energy services has been extremely high with the use of fossil fuels, and EROI will eventually come to a value such that it is equal for fossil and renewable resources. That time of EROI equality will mark a turning point in human civilization.
  • (4) The human species has now grown in size that it is capable of affecting the environment on a global scale as opposed to only very localized impacts before the industrial revolution.

The connecting of the dots goes as follows:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 12:17:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jevon's Paradox also states that increasing the effeciency with which fossil fuel is utilized increased the rate at which it is consumed (and thus decreases the time to peak fossil fuel.)

The last point of the article seems problematic:

(5) The inherently lower EROI of renewable resources will not enable the same level of economic production and societal complexity as provided by higher EROI fossil fuels. This is because renewable technologies are based upon current flows of energy (e.g. sunlight, wind, waves), as compared to fossil fuels which are based upon stocks of energy stored over hundreds of millions of years.

The EORI of renewable energy sources, such as wind and tidal power, could be far greater than that of fossil fuels, as quality and life span improvements in the devices will increase the total power generated by a given investment over time. It might be an abomination to the finance community as once the initial cost of a windmill or water turbine is paid off, the resulting energy is almost free. But I suppose concerned investors could always hire hit men to go out and destroy generators that no longer require financing.  :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:03:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
It might be an abomination to the finance community as once the initial cost of a windmill or water turbine is paid off, the resulting energy is almost free

nailed. in. one.

there's a whole lot of kings going to see their crowns rolling on the floor when that happens.

ergo all the misinfo, all the time...

ARGeezer:

This is because renewable technologies are based upon current flows of energy (e.g. sunlight, wind, waves),

haha. nice try! big stupid...

use it as a metaphor for ideas, too. why use ones with no future, stuck in the past, (hey, it worked for granpa), when you can use/initiate ones that are generous in 'current flows', and infinite into the future?

keep spinning guys, your hologram is coming apart at the edges, but you don't see that, do you, as you're paid not to. time turning table...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 04:19:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be an abomination to the finance community as once the initial cost of a windmill or water turbine is paid off, the resulting energy is almost free.

They could always charge lower rates over longer periods of time if they're that worried. ;)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 09:29:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Had they more than one neuron they might consider all of the possibilities available with cheap energy--AGAIN!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 09:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eating rhubarb may fight diseases like cancer

The Daily Telegraph today said that rhubarb crumble is the "new cancer-busting superfood".

This news story was based on research to determine how cooking rhubarb would affect the amount of antioxidant chemicals it contains. Some scientists believe that antioxidants offer protection from diseases such as cancer, although it should be noted that this research did not directly look at any aspect of human health. It will take further research to assess how cooking affects the breakdown of these antioxidant chemicals and how this may affect any health benefits from the food.

  Where did the story come from?

This research was carried out by Dr Gordon McDougall and colleagues from Sheffield Hallam University and the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee. The study was funded by Sheffield Hallam University's Food Innovation Project. It was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Food Chemistry.

This research was inaccurately reported on by The Daily Telegraph. The published research did not investigate the effect of rhubarb extracts (or polyphenols) on cancer cells or human health in general. This study only looked at how the concentrations of these chemicals in rhubarb were affected by different cooking methods.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 01:16:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The researchers found that polyphenol content was generally greater in cooked rhubarb than raw rhubarb. The highest polyphenol levels were found in slow-cooked and baked rhubarb.

The researchers could identify and measure the amounts of 42 different chemicals found in their rhubarb samples. They said that this `chemical profile' was different to other species of rhubarb. They also found that cooking times had different effects on different types of polyphenols. Anthocyanins made up one fifth of the total polyphenol content of raw rhubarb. In baked rhubarb, the amount of anthocyanin was increased.

Oh, my, how I
Love that rhubarb pie.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well as it's been repeated in the Daily Mail...

Kill or cure?

Help to make sense of the Daily Mail's ongoing effort to classify every inanimate object into those that cause cancer and those that prevent it.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 09:32:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dana Milbank - Global warming's snowball fight - washingtonpost.com

The back-to-back snowstorms in the capital were an inconvenient meteorological phenomenon for Al Gore.

"It's going to keep snowing in D.C. until Al Gore cries 'uncle'," Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) exulted on Twitter.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) posted photos on Facebook of "Al Gore's New Home" -- a six-foot igloo the Inhofe family built on Capitol Hill.

"Where is Al Gore?" taunted Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

"He has not been seen since the snow and the arctic blast have pummeled the Eastern Seaboard in America, turning it into a frozen tundra," reported Fox News's Glenn Beck, who also tastefully suggested hari-kari for climate scientists.

<snip>

Al Gore, for one, seems to realize it's time for a new tactic. New TV ads released during last week's blizzards by Gore's climate advocacy group say nothing about climate science. They show workers asking their senators for more jobs from clean energy.

That's a good sign. If the Washington snows persuade the greens to put away the slides of polar bears and pine beetles and to keep the focus on national security and jobs, it will have been worth the shoveling.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 04:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a putz Dana Milbank is! Someone of some profile needs to push back on this idiotic meme. Have none of these idiots noticed that this has been a record warm January in Vancouver Canada. Geez, how can it be warmer in Canada in January than in Washington D.C.? Couldn't be heat being extracted from mid-latitudes for transport to the Arctic. That would be so confusing. These fools probably think cold is a quantity.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 13th, 2010 at 11:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See above.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 03:43:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Weed Killer in the Crosshairs: Concerns prompt reexamination of atrazine's safety
By Janet Raloff   Science News

Each year, American farmers and turf managers apply some 34 million kilograms of atrazine to quash broad-leaved and grassy weeds. Most treatments go to protect corn, sorghum, sugarcane and cotton, though golf courses sometimes tap the weed killer to maintain immaculate fairways and putting greens.

....

Atrazine, an organic compound belonging to the triazine family of herbicides, stops pre- and post-emergent weeds by inhibiting electron transport, ultimately blocking photosynthesis. The EPA reexamined data on the herbicide's putative toxicity four years ago as part of a systematic review of the safety of older pesticides -- those initially registered for use before 1984. Atrazine was reregistered -- meaning it could continue to be sold -- after the EPA concluded that its regulated use could continue without posing undue risks to health and the environment. The chemical is banned by the European Union and, ironically, in Switzerland, where atrazine's leading manufacturer, Syngenta, is headquartered.

In a surprising turnabout, the EPA instructed its Scientific Advisory Panel on pesticides, a group of outside experts, to reevaluate the weed killer's safety through three meetings this year, the first of which took place earlier this month. The panel will review human data and any studies, including animal or test-tube assays, that might suggest risks to people.

EPA admits this new review was prompted by a flurry of recent news stories and critical reports by advocacy groups, which continue to show that large numbers of people are being exposed to atrazine through drinking water (SN: 11/3/01, p. 285) and which offer new data suggesting health concerns.

Among these new criticisms was a report in August by the Natural Resources Defense Council: "Poisoning the Well: How the EPA is ignoring atrazine contamination in surface and drinking water in the central United States." Its analysis of data that the EPA collected -- but didn't publicly release --shows that traces of atrazine frequently pollute not only rivers but also water exiting the tap, oftentimes at concentrations exceeding EPA's 3-parts-per-billion limit for drinking water.


A welcome development in the USA is the revisiting of poor decisions made by EPA and others in an environment of political pressure under G. W. Bush.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 01:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A couple of links 1 and 2 on the effects of atrazine on amphibians.

Banned in the EU, but unfortunately hugely used over the years before that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 14th, 2010 at 04:06:09 AM EST
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