Tag Archives: greenhouse gases

Rivers bigger and more important that previously thought 2018-06-28

Rivers and streams cover more of the earth’s surface than previously thought, and likely interchange more CO2 and other gases with the atmosphere than previously thought. WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter found this paper.

George H. Allen and Tamlin M. Pavelsky, Science, 28 Jun 2018, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0636 Global extent of rivers and streams,

Abstract

The turbulent surfaces of rivers and streams are natural hotspots of biogeochemical exchange with the atmosphere. At the global scale, the total river-atmosphere flux of trace gasses such as CO2 depends on the proportion of Earth’s surface that is covered by the fluvial network, yet the total surface area of rivers and streams is poorly constrained. We used a global database of planform river hydromorphology and a statistical approach to show that global river and stream surface area at mean annual discharge is 773,000 ± 79,000 km2 (0.58 ± 0.06%) of Earth’s non-glaciated land surface, an area 44 ± 15% larger than previous spatial estimates. We found that rivers and streams likely play a greater role in controlling land-atmosphere fluxes than currently represented in global carbon budgets.

Fig. 1. Global River Widths from Landsat (GRWL) Database, Figure
Fig. 1. The Global River Widths from Landsat (GRWL) Database contains more than 58 million measurements of planform river geometry. The line plot on the right shows observed river coverage as a percentage of land area by latitude, and the bottom insets show GRWL at increasing zoom. The rightmost inset shows GRWL orthogonals over which river width was calculated, with only every eighth orthogonal shown for clarity.

You can see the lower Suwannee River in the above figure.

The authors zoom in on the Amazon River Basin in Brazil, but those last two zooms could easily be Continue reading

Glick and LaFleur dissent again from a Spectra pipeline permit 2018-07-19

FERC just rubberstamped three pipelines before Commissioner Robert Powelson exits next month. Yet Commissioners Glick and LaFleur are still complaining every time about lack of use of Social Cost of Carbon to account for Greenhouse Gases (GHG). Those dissents started after Sierra Club won against FERC and Sabal Trail in the DC District Court on just that subject; recently FERC and Sabal Trail declined to appeal to the Supreme Court, thus admitting the pipeline company and its permitter lost that case.

Open Season, Maps
Open Season Maps, TX-LA Pipeline Project

Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur spelled out the connection in her dissent on Spectra’s Texas-Louisiana Markets Project:

I believe the fact pattern presented in this case, a pipeline designed to serve a specific known downstream powerplant, falls squarely within the precedent of Sierra Club v. FERC.1 Given that the majority’s analysis here suffers from the same flaws as its decision on remand in Sabal Trail,2 I respectfully dissent.

Commissioner Richard Glick in his dissent on the same pipeline also explicitly cited Sierra Club v. FERC (Sabal Trail) and went further about the specific underlying laws FERC is shirking:

“Today, the Commission issues a certificate to Texas Eastern Transmission, LP to construct and operate the Texas Industrial Market Expansion Project and the Louisiana Market Expansion Project (Projects), concluding that the Projects are required by the public convenience and necessity.1 The Commission also finds that the Projects will not have a significant effect on the environment.2 In reaching these conclusions, the Commission maintains that it need not consider the harm caused by the Projects’ contribution to climate change. The Commission’s refusal to do so falls well short of our obligations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA)3 and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).4 Because I disagree with these conclusions and believe the Commission cannot find that the Projects are in the public interest without first considering the significance of the Projects’ contribution to climate change,5 I dissent in part from the Commission’s action today.

And yes, he really wrote “shirk”: Continue reading

FERC inadvertently clears path for renewable energy via storage 2018-02-15

FERC just let slip the wolves of sun and wind by enabling the storage that those sunny twenty-first-century “aggregated distributed energy resources” (DER) will use to blow down the straw houses of traditional twentieth-century so-called baseload capacity coal, oil, and nuclear power plants.

FERC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson called out the “participation model” Thursday’s twin orders enable, bypassing many traditional charges by accounting for physical characteristics that do not change over time, recognizing that batteries, sun, and wind power are basically different from old-style dinosaur power plants. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee named Senators Ed Markey and Sheldon Whitehouse as proponents of these new rules, which is very interesting since both have long been proponents of renewable energy, and Sen. Whitehouse called out FERC for failing to implement the DC Circuit Court’s Order on greenhouse gases. Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur said “Electric storage is like a ‘Swiss army knife’”. Maybe more like the South Australian storage utility player that has already out-responded natural gas during coal plant outages. Commissioner Richard Glick says sun and wind power “no less than energy storage, have the potential to play a leading role in the electric grid of the future”. None of the Commissioners could bring themselves to say what they all know: sun, wind, water power with storage will be the electric grid of the future. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff and I were right in 2013: solar power will provide more U.S. electricity than any other source by 2023, on the way to complete conversion of everything to sun, wind, water, and storage by 2050.

Frequency response of Tesla South Australian battery
Giles Parkinson, Reneweconomy, 23 January 2018, Tesla big battery moves from show-boating to money-making.

Gavin Bade, UtilityDive, Feb. 15, 2018, FERC issues storage, reliability orders, calls conference on aggregated DERs, Continue reading

Emergency! Cries Sabal Trail 2018-02-02

Desperately seeking loopholes, at 4:58 PM today on a Friday, Sabal Trail claimed “Applicants would face irreparable financial harm,” which is pretty rich for the company that stuck the Bell Brothers with $47,000 in Sabal Trail legal fees for fighting eminent domain from that same FERC certificate the DC Circuit Court is likely to void next week.

Emergency,

It wants to “avoid the irreparable impacts of a system shutdown,” says the company that destroyed world-record-holding soybean farmer Randy Dowdy’s soybean fields. As Randy Dowdy said last May, and Sabal Trail’s own reports then say they have done nothing to correct:

“We’ve got loss of production for the future that will take not my lifetime, Continue reading

EPA perfunctory Lack of Objections to FERC Sabal Trail DSEIS 2017-11-20

EPA doesn’t even remember when it sent its own greenhouse gas (GHG) comments to FERC, forgets that it already told FERC nevermind, and now says, despite copious evidence filed by Senators, professors, Riverkeepers, and environmental organizations from multiple states as far away as Colorado, that FERC’s incorrect and inadequate Draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statemen (FSEIS) rates “Lack of Objections or “LO””.

EPA to FERC, Re: SMPP This latest EPA letter is dated November 20, 2017, but FERC didn’t inform intervenors about it until today, two weeks later. The EPA letter claims:

The EPA commented on the FEIS on January 25, 2016. In those comments the EPA provided several recommendations including that the FERC consider a detailed evaluation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in future analyses.

Yet FERC’s Docket CP15-17 shows no comment by EPA in January 2016. It does show this same G. Alan Farmer, Director, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, EPA, wrote a letter to FERC filed 1 December 2015 as Accession Number 20171201-0034 (see also WWALS blog post), in which he said nothing I can see about greenhouse gases, but he did basically say “nevermind” to EPA’s extensive letter of October 26, 2015, filed as Accession Number 0151102-0219 (clean text on the WWALS website), which October letter did include: Continue reading

Videos: Not so Fast, Sabal Trail: Suwannee and Flint Riverkeepers in Live Oak 2017-09-07

Thursday before the storm, Suwannee and Flint Riverkeepers updated on Sabal Trail in Live Oak, about the recent court win against FERC, plus LNG export.

Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper, with Suwannee Riverkeeper

WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman explained Continue reading

Sierra Club Sabal Trail victory –Harriet Heywood in Citrus County Chronicle

More about this in Live Oak this Thursday. Harriet Heywood, Citrus County Chronicle, 4 September 2017, Sierra Club Sabal Trail victory

On June 14, fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale began flowing through the Sabal Trail Pipeline despite a pending lawsuit Sierra Club had against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Seems the agency had failed to conduct an environmental impact study to consider the climate impacts of the project.

Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Maxine, Harriett
WWALS members Harriet Heywood and Maxine Connor holding the Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Dunnellon, Florida, 28 January 2017. Picture by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

On Aug. 22, a federal appeals court denied the Southeast Market pipeline and Sabal Trail project approval, since FERC did not do the requisite climate study.

Turns out there are still Continue reading

Not so Fast, Sabal Trail: Suwannee and Flint Riverkeepers in Live Oak 2017-09-07

Update 2017-09-01: Add #StopETP Day of Action one day early to the same event in Live Oak.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman will show four years of Sabal Fail, and the Three Stooges plumbing in Dunellon. WWALS member Cecile Scofield will talk about LNG export all over Florida. Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers will explain what the fossil fuel industry calls the Great Major Victory by Sierra Club, Flint Riverkeeper, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, and what it means (so far as anyone knows). WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman will lay out what you can do to help stop Sabal Trail and reform FERC. Plus videos.

When: 6:30 PM, Thursday, September 7, 2017

Where: Live Oak Woman’s Club, 1308 11th St SW, Live Oak, FL 32064

Free: There is no admission fee and you do not have to be a member of WWALS to attend. Naturally, we do encourage you to join WWALS today. http://wwals.net/blog/donations/

Event: facebook, meetup

Gretchen Quarterman, WWALS Watershed Coalition and Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper
Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper and Gretchen Quarterman, WWALS Executive Director

Videos: Continue reading