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 on: Today at 07:38 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Litvinenko inquiry judge suspects 'Kremlin manipulation' for no-show

Sir Robert Owen gives murder suspect Dmitry Kovtun one final chance to give evidence after he pulled out of proceedings on Friday

Luke Harding
Monday 27 July 2015 14.10 BST

The judge presiding over the inquiry into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko has said he had the “gravest suspicions” the Kremlin was trying to manipulate proceedings after one of the Russian spy’s alleged murderers failed to show up.

Sir Robert Owen said he would give Dmitry Kovtun one final chance to give evidence on Tuesday at 9am.

Kovtun was originally scheduled to appear by videolink from Moscow for three days this week. Kovtun and another Russian, Andrei Lugovoi, are accused of smuggling radioactive polonium into Litvinenko’s green tea during a November 2006 meeting at the Millennium hotel in London. Both have refused to travel to the UK.

In March, as the hearing was winding up, Kovtun suddenly indicated he wanted to take part. Owen granted him “core participant” status, which gave Kovtun – and presumably others in Moscow – access to 15,000 inquiry documents, excluding secret government files.

On Friday, however, it emerged Kovtun was now claiming his obligations to the Russian investigative committee meant he could no longer appear.

“In my mind [there is] the gravest suspicion that an attempt is being made to manipulate the situation,” Owen said on Monday.

He added that he was giving Kovtun a last window to testify so he would be unable to claim later that he had wanted to participate but had been turned down.

Ben Emmerson QC, counsel for Litvinenko’s widow Marina, told Owen: “I can only endorse your concern. It appears these proceedings are being manipulated in a coordinated way between Mr Kovtun, the murderer, and the Russian state which sent him to commit the murder.”

He added: “It’s a continuation of a collusion that began in 2006.”

Emmerson endorsed Owen’s decision and said that the inquiry, which began in January and was delayed for several months to accommodate Kovtun, had been “conducted openly, transparently and logically”.

The inquiry heard Kovtun had offered implausible and ridiculous explanations for his failure to give evidence. He claimed that he had been unable to find the Russian prosecutor and said he needed consent from Russia before he could participate. He also said he had signed a non-disclosure agreement.

On Friday, Richard Horwell, acting for Scotland Yard, said Kovtun had been engaged in a blatant fishing expedition. Its goal was to scoop up as much evidence as possible, he suggested.

Horwell said on Monday it was obvious what was happening. Far from respecting confidentiality, Kovtun had given an interview on Monday to the BBC, he pointed out. “Kovtun is speaking to journalists,” he said.

Kovtun’s apparent exit from the inquiry follows damning evidence on Friday from a German witness known as D3. According to D3, Kovtun confessed he was travelling to London to put a “very expensive poison” in the food or drink of Litvinenko, “a traitor” and a pig. “It’s meant to set an example,” Kovtun told D3.

The inquiry resumes on Tuesday. It ends this week with Owen’s report to the home secretary, Theresa May, due later this year.

 on: Today at 07:29 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
US Companies Plan $140B Climate Pledge

Avaneesh Pandey
International Business Times

Several U.S. companies, including Apple Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Bank of America Corp., will on Monday announce at least $140 billion in new investments to lower their carbon emissions and increase funding for clean energy, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The announcement -- part of a White House initiative to recruit private companies in the fight against climate change -- would come just months ahead of a crucial United Nations summit in Paris. Securing long-term climate finance is seen as a crucial step to a potential deal in Paris later this year.

“It’s significant because they are carbon-intensive, energy-consuming companies making a bottom-up commitment to address climate change,” Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington-based firm, told the Journal.

However, none of the companies scheduled to take part in Monday’s pledge are involved in the production of oil, natural gas and coal -- major sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

 A second round of similar pledges from several other companies is expected to be announced later this fall, the Journal reported. It is not yet clear whether American fossil fuel companies would also make commitments to reduce carbon emissions in the second round.

Among the pledges to be announced Monday is a commitment by General Motors Co. to cut its carbon intensity [ which denotes the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of energy consumed] by 20 percent in the next five years -- as compared to 2010 levels -- and a $75 billion pledge by Bank of America, the Journal reported.

The pledges, if followed through, would go a long way in helping the U.S. government meet its commitment to cut emissions by up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

In 2010, the U.N. announced the creation of the Green Climate Fund, which aims to raise up to $100 billion a year to help developing countries mitigate the effects of climate change.

Later this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce final regulations that aim to reduce carbon emissions from American power plants by 30 percent over 2005 levels by 2030.

"As the world looks toward global climate negotiations in Paris this December, American leadership at all levels will be essential,” the White House reportedly said, in a statement detailing the announcement.

 on: Today at 07:20 AM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Rad
Hi Pallas, Kristin, Skywalker, and Linda

We will get started in the next few days.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Today at 07:19 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
CS Monitor

Rarely seen beaked whale washes ashore in Massachusetts

Scientists are trying to figure out how a beaked whale usually confined to deep water washed up on the shore Friday in Plymouth, Mass.

By Sarah Caspari, Staff writer July 26, 2015   

Swimmers and sunbathers on Jones Beach in Plymouth, Mass. were joined Friday by an unexpected guest: a rarely-seen beaked whale.

The 17-foot-long female whale weighing almost a ton had died by the time it washed up on the beach. The New England Aquarium said it believes the animal was a Sowerby’s beaked whale, a species of deep-water whale that inhabits northern waters and virtually never approaches the shore.

The aquarium said in a statement Saturday that beaked whales are “so rarely seen that New England Aquarium biologists have been conferring to determine the exact species,” according to the Boston Globe. The aquarium has not seen a beaked whale in close to a decade, the statement said. Usually, sightings of Sowerby’s beaked whales are limited to fishermen who find the whales caught in their nets.

“It’s a glimpse into a habitat that’s not so far away, but it’s still a world away,” aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse told the Boston Herald of the sighting. “They live in a world of their own.”
take the quizTest your scientific literacy!

As of Saturday, the aquarium and the International Fund for Animal Welfare were jointly conducting a necropsy on the whale, which upon initial examination showed no signs of having collided with a boat or become tangled in fishing gear, the Globe reported. The carcass’s “fresh,” “good” condition combined with its unusual location have biologists questioning the “how” and the “why” behind the whale’s appearance.

“They’re very, very rare,” Mr. LaCasse told the Herald. “It’s definitely one of those things you’re not quite sure what to make of,” he said.

Plymouth harbormaster Chad Hunter told the Globe officials were alerted Friday at around 10 a.m. that a whale had washed up onto the beach. But during low tide, the whale was stuck on rocks and could not be moved. When high tide came around 5 p.m. that day, the whale was towed to the pier and crane-lifted onto a trailer to be taken away by the aquarium.

Mary Kate McHugh DiLoreto, a regular beach walker, posted a picture of the whale to Facebook, calling the sighting “very cool.”

Sowerby’s beaked whales are not believed to be rare – just rarely spotted. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, sightings are uncommon and biologists know little about the whale despite the fact that it is one of the most frequently stranded species. Massachusetts marks the southern border of the whale’s habitat; in the west, it extends up to Labrador, Canada, and in the east, it ranges from Iceland to Norway.

LaCasse told the Globe the sighting offers “a glancing insight into a marine species that not much is known of.”

 on: Today at 07:17 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
CS Monitor

Are wildfires getting worse with climate change?

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, describe the increased frequency of wildfires in high elevations as 'yet another harbinger of climate change.'

By Henry Gass, Staff writer July 27, 2015   

Wildfires in California are burning at increasingly higher elevations, according to a new study, with scientists saying the phenomenon is another signal of approaching climate change that could also have implications for how forests are restored after fires.

The study, which analyzed 105 years of data, found that forest fires in the Sierra Nevada mountains rarely burned above the 8,000-foot elevation early in the 20th century. Fuel for fires were typically dryer and more abundant at lower elevations, but over the past three decades several fires each year have burned at or above the 8,000-foot elevation.

Mark Schwartz – lead author of the study and also director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Davis – described the increase of higher-elevation forest fires as “yet another harbinger of climate change” in a statement released with the study.

Tree density may be increasing at higher elevations as temperatures warm with climate change, he noted in the statement. With increased tree density comes an increased likelihood of forest fires, especially considering that California is in the midst of a four-year drought, added Professor Schwartz.

“Low snowpack in the mountains and related forest stress are further increasing the chances of large, destructive fires that move high into the Sierra,” said Schwarz, who is also a professor of environmental science and policy at UC Davis.

Firefighters have responded to some 1,200 forest fires since Jan. 1 this year, including one in the Sierra Nevada foothills that sprang up over the weekend. About 1,100 firefighters have responded to the blaze – which threatens up to 200 homes in a drought-stricken region about 45 miles northeast of Sacramento – but as of Sunday night only 15 percent of the 2-square-mile fire was contained.

Firefighters in the state are also battling a 10-square-mile blaze near Napa Valley wine country, which was 65 percent contained on Sunday.

Another significant outcome of the higher-elevation fires could be a change in overall forest composition, the study found. Forest fires are the primary driver of forest change in the Sierra Nevada, and more scorched forest at higher elevations could accelerate shifts in vegetation, allowing lower-elevation plants and trees to migrate uphill.

In turn, Schwarz said, that could effect how forest managers restore a forest after a fire, including whether or not to seed locations that have burned and which species to seed as part of forest restoration.

“The findings will likely not impact the way high-elevation forest fires are managed, because safeguarding human life and protecting property will continue to dominate how forest fires are managed,” he added. “We suspect, however, that the study results may influence how forest managers respond in restoring a forest after a fire.”

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

 on: Today at 07:12 AM 
Started by Linda - Last post by Rad
CS Monitor

Astounding New Horizons photos reveal Pluto's atmosphere, surface

Spectacular new photos snapped by NASA's New Horizons space probe reveal flowing ices and a hazy atmosphere.

By Calla Cofield, July 27, 2015      

Stunning new images of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft show flowing ices, a complicated surface covered in mountain ranges and a surprisingly far-reaching atmosphere. 

At a news conference today (July 24), members of the New Horizons team spoke about the incredible new science being pulled from data collected by the probe, which performed history's first flyby of Pluto on July 14. Among other findings, scientists announced big surprises in the study of Pluto's atmosphere, as well as the discovery of what appear to be flowing fields of ice in Pluto's "heart."

"Pluto has a very complicated story to tell," Alan Stern, principal investigator for New Horizons, said at the news conference. "There is a lot of work that we need to do to understand this very complicated place."

Photos of Pluto and Its Moons:

One of the new images released today is a gorgeous global view showing half of Pluto's surface, lit by sunlight, with the heart-shaped region informally known as Tombaugh Regio in the lower-left quadrant. The new image shows features on the surface as small as 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers), or twice the resolution of a similar image released on July 13.

The image shows Pluto's surface in "true color," or as it would appear to the human eye. It combines data from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and Ralph instruments.

Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, appear together in a new, "true color" portrait that highlights the reddish hue of Pluto compared to Charon's gray tone. Scientists think Pluto's red color is the result of particles created in its atmosphere, through methane's interaction with UV light. The particles stick together, growing heavier, and eventually rain down on the surface.

On the other hand, new observations of Charon suggest that it has "much less atmosphere than Pluto, if any," Stern said. The probe will send back more data on Charon's atmosphere in September.

"For now, all that we can say is, it's a much more rarefied atmosphere [than Pluto's]," Stern said. "It may be that there's a thin nitrogen layer in the atmosphere, or methane, or some other constituent. But it must be very tenuous compared to Pluto — again, emphasizing just how different these two objects are despite their close association in space."

In a stunning image taken from beyond the far side of Pluto, in which the dwarf planet eclipses the sun, scientists can see a haze in the Plutonian atmosphere.

Click to view:

"This is one of our first images of Pluto's atmosphere. [It] stunned the encounter team," said Michael Summers, a New Horizons co-investigator based at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, at today's news conference. "For 25 years, we've known that Pluto has an atmosphere. But it's been known by numbers. This is our first picture. This is the first time we've really seen it. This was the image that almost brought tears to the eyes of the atmospheric scientists on our team."

The haze is created by the particles that scientists think eventually fall to the surface and give Pluto its reddish hue. The haze extends at least 100 miles (160 km) above the surface of Pluto, or five times higher than models predicted, according to Summers, who called the discovery "a big surprise." Scientists previously thought the upper layers of the atmosphere would be too warm for hazes to form, he said.

"We're going to need some new ideas to figure out what's going on," Summers said in a statement from NASA.

In another set of new images, scientists revealed what appears to be a wide field of glaciers flowing across Pluto's surface. The flowing ice field is easily spotted in images of the dwarf planet: It's the smooth, light-colored upper-left lobe of the heart-shaped region — an area unofficially known as Sputnik Planum.

Fly Over Pluto's Hillary Mountains and Sputnik Plain (Video):

Scientists think that, unlike glaciers on Earth, the ice in Sputnik Planum is made of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane. At the frigid temperature of about minus 390 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 235 Celsius), water ice "won't move anywhere," because it is too rigid and brittle to flow, said Bill McKinnon, of Washington University in St. Louis, deputy leader of the New Horizons geology, geophysics and imaging team.

But even at such low temperatures, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and methane ices are "geologically soft and malleable," McKinnon said. At the news conference, McKinnon showed regions near the heart-shaped region's upper-left edge where the ice could be seen creeping around other geologic barriers and filling in craters. The images, he said, show "conclusive evidence" of ice flow that may still be happening on Pluto's surface today.

"To see evidence of recent geological activity is simply a dream come true," McKinnon said. "The appearance of this terrain, the utter lack of impact craters on Sputnik Planum, tells us that this is really a young unit."

McKinnon also noted another interesting finding that has surfaced from the New Horizons data: Pluto is very close to being perfectly spherical.

"We actually can't detect any obliqueness or out-of-roundness in the body," McKinnon said. Many other bodies in the solar system have distortions to their roundness, which "tells you about their history," he said.

"Pluto was probably spinning very, very fast after what we believe to be a giant impact that led to the formation of [Charon]," McKinnon added, noting that the gravitational pull of the two bodies on each other would have, over time, slowed down Pluto's rapid rotation.

The New Horizons space probe made its closest approach to Pluto on July 14. The entire data set that it collected during its flyby of the dwarf planet will take 16 months to download back to Earth. The wide variety of features on Pluto's surface poses many questions that will keep scientists busy for years to come, mission team members have said.

 on: Today at 06:59 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Climate change threatens China’s booming coastal cities, says expert

With an ageing society and more people living by the coast, China faces a challenge coping with climate change, reports China Daily

Peng Yining for China Daily, part of the Climate Publishers Network
27 July 2015 08.00 BST

A recent study led by Georgina Mace, ecosystem professor at University College London, indicated that governments across the world have failed to grasp the risk that population booms in coastal cities pose as climate change continues to cause rises in sea levels and extreme weather events. Mace is director of the UCL Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research.

Mace says population growth in coastal areas can lead to big increases in exposure to extreme weather. The biggest direct effect of projected climate change is heat waves. The number of people dying from extreme heat could increase twelvefold by the end of this century, as a result of global warming combined with increasing numbers living in affected areas.

“People are increasingly living in the wrong places, and the demographic shift in China is enormous. China has a lot of old people who are vulnerable to extreme weather,” says Mace.

A report from China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed South China’s Guangdong province was the most popular immigration destination, with more than 20 million people from other provinces residing there in 2010, and central China’s inland province of Henan had the biggest population migration, with more than 10 million people from there living in other regions in 2010.

According to the statistics bureau in Shanghai, the city had more than 24 million residents in 2014, with about 10 million having migrated from other provinces. A report released in July by the municipal government showed 28.8% of Shanghai residents are over age 60. Jiang Rui, vice-director of Shanghai’s civil administration, says in the report that Shanghai is now facing a the problem of a rapidly ageing society.

By the end of last year, more than 200 million Chinese citizens, 15.5% of the total population, were older than 60, according to a report from the national health and family planning commission.

The commission also released a report in July indicating that by 2030, China will have 230 million rural residents who have relocated to urban areas and the urbanisation rate will reach 70%.

Increased urbanisation will also exacerbate the effects of climate change, particularly among elderly citizens who are more vulnerable to extreme weather, Mace said recently at the release of the latest climate change report commissioned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The report, drawn up by experts from UK, the United States, China and India, demonstrated risks triggered by climate change, including extreme weather and social instability, and also stressed the potential impact on coastal areas caused by rising sea levels

“The reason we chose to work with China is very much because of the population factor. The eastern coastal region is highly populated, and the sea level is rising. That could be a big challenge,” says David King, the UK foreign secretary’s special representative for climate change, who led the project.

Can China fix the world’s climate? – video: <iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Mace and her research group recommended that big engineering projects, including sea walls to prevent flooding or wells in areas prone to drought, should be combined with natural ecosystem-based approaches such as re-establishing flood plains, planting vegetation and protecting coastlines with mangrove forests.

“It is just about getting the right infrastructure,” says Mace. “It needs advance planning to build the coastal cities more hazard-proof. The increased mortality from heat waves in Russia and France was because people were living in houses that are poorly designed.”

 on: Today at 06:56 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
The Daily Mail and Telegraph get it wrong on Arctic sea ice, again

Coverage of a recent paper on Arctic sea ice and climate change suggests conservative media can’t seem to grasp the concept of long-term trends

Dana Nuccitelli
Monday 27 July 2015 09.43 BST

Cherry-picking is one of the five telltale techniques of climate change denial. By focusing on short-term blips in noisy data, those who want to maintain the status quo can distract from the long-term threats posed by climate change. Climate contrarians most frequently deploy this strategy using global temperature and Arctic sea ice data.

A recent study in Nature Geoscience concluded that, not surprisingly, there is a strong relationship between the summer temperatures in the Arctic (specifically the number of “melting degree days”), and the amount of sea ice that melts in a given year. 2013 happened to be a relatively cool year in the Arctic – the coolest since 2004. As a result, there was relatively little ice melt in 2013. The annual minimum Arctic sea ice extent and volume were their largest since at least 2009, or perhaps as far back as 2005, according to the data used in this new study.

The following figure from the paper is as clear as ice – while there was a short-term increase from 2012 to 2013, the Arctic has lost more than half its sea ice over the past three decades.

The following video by programmer Andy Lee Robinson also illustrates the dramatic rate of sea ice decline over the past 35 years.

Arctic sea ice minimum annual volumes 1979–2014, by Andy Lee Robinson:

Lead author Rachel Tilling was quite clear and explicit that while her study is good news in that Arctic sea ice could potentially recover if the planet eventually cools, the short-term blip is not indicative of such a recovery.

    We do not want to suggest that this is a recovery in the long term. If you look at the long-term temperature trend in the Arctic, it’s upward, and if you look at the long-term volume trend, it’s downward. If temperatures continue to rise, volume is going to continue to decrease.

Indeed, the Arctic is the fastest-warming region on Earth precisely because of the sea ice “feedback.” Melting ice decreases the reflectivity of the Arctic surface, causing it to absorb more sunlight, warm faster, and melt more ice, which causes yet further warming in a vicious cycle. There are short-term natural variability wiggles on top of the trend, but the long-term Arctic sea ice decline is indisputable.

Although the Daily Mail news coverage of this paper was reasonably accurate, its editorial opinion piece about it was anything but. The opinion piece initially claimed the study showed “the northern ice-cap INCREASED by a staggering 41% in 2013 and, despite a modest shortage last year, is bigger than at any time for decades.”

    — Rachel Tilling (@rachel_tilling)
    July 22, 2015

    Think someone got the wrong end of the stick here

That last statement was flat-out wrong. As noted above, the Arctic may have had more ice in 2009 than 2013, and certainly did in 2005, and every year before that. In short, the Daily Mail editorial staff tried to figure out the science and math by themselves, got it badly wrong, and eventually corrected the text after many, including Tilling, pointed out the error.

Arctic sea ice volume estimate from PIOMAS, annotated by John Mason to indicate the last time the volume was as high as 2013, which the Daily Mail claims has been "decades." Source:

Now, although it doesn’t note the correction, the Mail editorial piece says that sea ice “is bigger than at any time for years” instead of decades. This statement was true in 2013, but is hardly notable. The rest of the piece rants against efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and was not changed after the Mail corrected its error.

Writing for the Telegraph on the same study, Christopher Booker made even more mistakes than the Daily Mail. There are too many to address here, but in two particular egregious examples Booker claims,

    Polar bear numbers are rising, not falling. Temperatures in Greenland have shown no increase for decades.

I debunked the polar bears myth in the Denial101x lecture video below (which also discusses Arctic sea ice). Greenland has warmed incredibly rapidly, at a rate of 0.36C per decade since 1960, and a whopping 1.1C per decade since 1990. The latter period represents a warming rate in Greenland more than six times faster than the global average.

Denial101x lecture on polar bears, by Dana Nuccitelli:

This is far from the first time the Daily Mail and Telegraph have gotten Arctic climate science wrong. In fact, in 2013, both ran similar articles focusing on the short-term noise and ignoring the long-term trend. David Rose, who wrote the 2013 Mail piece, was in the Spectator last week advocating against climate policies because Republican politicians in the USA and anti-climate policy advocates in the UK don’t want to accept that the temporary global surface warming slowdown is now over.

Similarly, the Mail and Telegraph got the science wrong in articles about solar science research the previous week. On both the solar and Arctic research, they seem to have written articles without talking to any climate scientists.

It appears that these conservative media outlets have a particular message to get out (that we shouldn’t take action to curb global warming), and they try to make the science fit that political message. Ideally it should be science that informs policy, not policy preferences that bias beliefs about science.

When ideology is allowed to trump scientific realities, that’s bad journalism.

 on: Today at 06:51 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Green cuts risk sending UK back to the dark ages

The UK government’s sudden abolition of subsidies for wind, solar and biomass energy send a risky message and could shake investor confidence

Estelle Brachlianoff
Brachlianoff is senior executive vice-president, Veolia UK and Ireland
Monday 27 July 2015 12.12 BST

The government’s U-turn on renewable energy risks sending this country back to the dark ages of relying only on fossil fuel.

Since the election we have seen a slashing of subsidies for biomass, anaerobic digestion and biogas as well as solar and wind.

This will make very little difference to household bills but will impact heavily on energy security and in the long-term increase bills with no way back. Renewable energy can actually secure energy prices, giving security for households, whatever fossil fuel prices are.

The sudden abolition of these subsidies was, wind power aside, a massive surprise. For a business-friendly government, it is a risky message to send and one that could shake investor confidence.

What I don’t understand is why the government would apply the climate change levy on renewable energy plants which are carbon-positive. It’s illogical. Even worse, it removes the business case for existing renewable energy plants that were predicated on the investment avoiding carbon tax until 2023.

Without financial justification, it will be very hard for business to invest in renewables again – particularly if there is a worry that any other support could be scrapped at a moment’s notice. Worse still, the government’s logic behind the U-turn is flawed.

Working with Imperial College London, we researched the potential of a ‘circular’ economy, an economy which gets full value from natural resources. The research forecast that this economy would be worth an extra £29bn to the UK and would create 175,000 jobs.

Rather than stifling the potential of a circular economy, the government needs to encourage it. Instead of removing subsidies, it should expanding them and finding other, creative ways to boost sustainability.

In December, the government will be taking part in the UN climate summit in Paris. A global event, incorporating governments and business, it could be a generation-defining event and enable a climate secure future.

Paris will perhaps be the last chance to deliver climate security. Of course, energy will be a major pillar of these discussions.

Do we really want to be the country stepping back in time?

The government needs to accept its environmental and energy responsibilities and bring back subsidies for renewable energy. By doing so, it will help secure this country’s energy future. It will also set the right tone heading into Paris, where we should be a significant force in ensuring global climate security.

 on: Today at 06:50 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Hillary Clinton pledges half a billion solar panels for US if she wins office

Democratic presidential frontrunner also says she wants America to generate enough clean renewable energy to power every home within 10 years

Monday 27 July 2015 01.20 BST

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has announced goals for increasing US reliance on renewable energy, pledging to have more than half a billion solar panels installed nationwide within four years of taking office.

Clinton, the front-runner for her party’s 2016 presidential nomination, also pledged on her website on Sunday that the United States would generate enough clean renewable energy to power every home in the country within 10 years of taking office.

The two goals were the first elements of what she said would be a comprehensive climate-change agenda to be announced over the next few months.

Her campaign said the goals would lead to a 700% increase in the nation’s installed solar capacity from current levels, and eventually could generate at least one third of all electricity from renewable sources.

Clinton’s plans also call for extending federal clean energy tax incentives and making them more cost effective both for taxpayers and clean energy producers, her campaign said.

“We’re on the cusp of a new era,” Clinton said in announcing the goals on her website. “We can create a more open, efficient and resilient grid that connects us, empowers us-improves our health and benefits us all.”

Clinton will discuss the proposals in more detail during a campaign stop on Monday at an energy-efficient transit station in Iowa, the state that kicks off the 2016 presidential nominating race in barely six months and is a leading wind energy producer.

Clinton has promised to make the issue of climate change a key pillar of her campaign platform, and the proposals she will discuss on Monday are the first steps toward fleshing out what has mostly been bare-boned climate rhetoric.

While Clinton is the clear frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination in the November 2016 presidential election, she has come under growing pressure from the left from rival Bernie Sanders, a US senator from Vermont and a self-styled socialist who has called for swift action on climate change.

The former US senator and secretary of state has been criticised by environmental activists anxious for her to move beyond President Barack Obama’s energy policies and spell out details of a comprehensive climate plan that would boost renewable energy sources.

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