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Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear and Grid Reliability?

           

Lessons from the Lone Star State: A surge in wind power on the Texas grid didn’t cause reliability problems (and brought down electricity prices) because regulators improved the efficiency of wholesale electricity markets. Sarah Fields Photography/Shutterstock.com

theconversation.com - by Joshua D. Rhodes, Michael E. Webber, Thomas Deetjen and Todd Davidson - May 11, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.

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Chicago Just Posted All the Climate Data Deleted by Trump’s EPA

CLICK HERE - City of Chicago - Climate Change - United States Environmental Protection Agency

grist.org - by Kate Yoder - May 8, 2017

The EPA’s climate change webpage was taken down for revisions last month to “reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” It’s apparently still being updated. (We checked, so you don’t have to.)

The page — which explained the basics of climate science and how it affects us — now has a new home: The City of Chicago’s website.

“Here in Chicago, we know climate change is real, and we will continue to take action to fight it,” reads a statement city officials added to what is essentially a direct facsimile of what was once on the EPA’s site.

An archived “Jan. 19 snapshot”  of the climate science page is still linked on the EPA site, but there’s one tiny problem: As Climate Central reported, the archive is missing information.

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Zika Testing Recommendations Changed for Pregnant Women

           

A nurse practitioner gives a pregnant woman insecticide and information about Zika at a Miami clinic last summer.  LYNNE SLADKY/AP

CLICK HERE - CDC - Health Alert Network (HAN) - Prolonged IgM Antibody Response in People Infected with Zika Virus: Implications for Interpreting Serologic Testing Results for Pregnant Women

statnews.com - by Helen Branswell - May 5, 2017

 . . . Testing for Zika infection is becoming more difficult, making it harder for doctors to advise pregnant women about the chances their child might have a Zika-related birth defect, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in a health advisory issued Friday.

The CDC is now suggesting that women thinking of getting pregnant, and who may be exposed to the Zika virus through travel or because of where they live, should consider having their blood tested for Zika antibodies before they get pregnant. Having a baseline reading would help to interpret Zika tests done during a later pregnancy.

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Here’s the Ideal Temp for Mosquito-Borne Diseases

           

(Credit: budak/Flickr)

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Detecting the impact of temperature on transmission of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya using mechanistic models

futurity.org - Stanford University - May 5, 2017

New research shows how rising temperatures might influence mosquito behavior and disease risk around the world. The researchers also calibrated their model with field data on human infections of mosquito-borne diseases.

Scientists have known for some time that climate change has caused the extension of mosquito season beyond the summer months, but the ways in which climate change affects the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika has remained somewhat mysterious . . .

 . . . The group found that mosquito traits favorable to spreading disease peaked when temperatures reached 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), but were lower when temperatures were cooler or warmer.

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Bill Gates Won’t Save You From The Next Ebola

 Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

Image: Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

huffingtonpost.com - April 30th 2017 - Robert Fortner, Alex Park

In late August 2014, Tom Frieden, then director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveled to West Africa to assess the raging Ebola crisis.

In the five months before Frieden’s visit, Ebola had spread from a village in Guinea, across borders and into cities in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Médecins Sans Frontières, the first international responder on the scene, had run out of staff to treat the rising numbers of sick people and had deemed the outbreak “out of control” back in June.

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High Level of Heart Defects Found in Zika-Affected Babies

kontiki / iStock

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Echocardiographic findings in infants with presumed congenital Zika syndrome: Retrospective case series study

cidrap.umn.edu - by Lisa Schnirring - April 21, 2017

Echocardiography evaluation of a group of Brazilian babies with Zika-related birth defects found three times the expected rate of congenital heart disease (CHD), but only one infant had symptoms and most had minor septal defects that weren't hemodynamically significant.

The study is the first time CHD has been assessed in infants with congenital Zika infections, and so far there haven't been any reports of autopsy findings suggesting a connection, but other flaviviruses such as dengue have been associated with myocarditis and pericarditis.

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Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse

Aedes aegypti. Credit Andrew Bettles for The New York Times

Climate change is altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for viruses like Zika.

nytimes.com - by Maryn McKenna - April 20, 2017

 . . . Climate change is turning abnormal weather into a common occurrence: Last year was the warmest year on record, the third in a row, and there were more heat waves, freezes and storms in the United States that caused $1 billion or more in damage just in 2016 than in the years 1980 to 1984 combined. Anything that improves conditions for mosquitoes tips the scales for the diseases they carry as well: the West Nile virus that flattened Dallas, the dengue that returned to Florida in 2009 after 63 years and the newest arrival, Zika, which gained a toehold in the United States last year and is expected to surge this summer . . .

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How a Warming Planet Drives Human Migration

           

           

Climate displacement is becoming one of the world’s most powerful — and destabilizing — geopolitical forces.

CLICK HERE - NASA - Common Sense Climate Index

CLICK HERE - UNHCR - Global Forced Displacement

CLICK HERE - REPORT - UNHCR - Global Trends - Forced Displacement in 2015 (68 page .PDF report)

nytimes.com - by Jessica Benko - April 19, 2017

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‘They’re Just Hiding’: Experts Say Puerto Rico May Be Underreporting Zika-Affected Births

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

A mother caresses her 2-month-old son, who has been diagnosed with microcephaly.  CARLOS GIUSTI/AP

statnews.com - by Helen Branswell - April 8, 2017

The number of babies born in Puerto Rico with microcephaly and other birth defects caused by the Zika virus appears to be unexpectedly low — so low that experts are beginning to question whether the actual count is being significantly underreported by authorities on the island.

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Stunning Drops in Solar and Wind Costs Turn Global Power Market Upside Down

           

CREDIT: U.N. and BNEF

CLICK HERE - REPORT - United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) - GLOBAL TRENDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT 2017 (90 page .PDF report)

The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

thinkprogress.org - by Joe Romm - April 6, 2017

Stunning drops in the cost of wind and solar energy have turned the global power market upside down . . .

 . . . Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In just one year, the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 percent, the report found. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18 percent last year, while those for offshore wind fell a whopping 28 percent.

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