Failed Levee Near Taylor Bayou Could Compromise Portion of Jefferson County - Texas

A hole in the basin near Taylor Bayou created a shift in the dirt and the wall where the levee exists, County Judge Jeff Branick tells KFDM/KBTV. It is not clear what caused the hole. There is no timetable for repairs but workers are attempting a temporary fix. They were building a pad at the levee late Monday morning. There is also no official cost estimate of the fix. The levee is close to the Valero docks. (KFDM/KBTV photo)

kfdm.com - by Angel San Juan and Brandon Scott - August 7, 2017

A failed levee near Taylor Bayou could compromise a portion of Jefferson County south of Beaumont - mainly Port Arthur and its surrounding refineries - if a tropical storm or hurricane hit the area, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In a news release dated Aug. 4, the Corps states it was notified by Jefferson County Drainage District-7 of a failure of a section of floodwall near Taylor Bayou last Tuesday morning.

A hole in the basin created a shift in the dirt and the wall where the levee exists, County Judge Jeff Branick tells KFDM/KBTV.

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Utilities companies won't let you sell your own solar power. Why not?

The electric utility sector is broken – but the transformation we need will be virtually impossible so long as a handful of wealthy elites are calling the shots

           

Utilities companies have their sights on ending net-metering: your ability to sell excess power at market rates. Photograph: Rex

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Energy and Policy Institute - Utilities Knew: Documenting Electric Utilities’ Early Knowledge and Ongoing Deception on Climate Change From 1968-2017

theguardian.com - by Kate Aronoff - August 1, 2017

A new report from the US-based Energy and Policy Institute last week found that investor-owned utilities have known about climate change for nearly 50 years – and done everything in their power to stop governments from doing anything about it.

From their commitment to toxic fuels to their corrosive influence on our democracy to their attempts to price-gouge ratepayers, it’s long past time to bring the reign of privately-owned electric utilities to an end.

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Europe's Most Dangerous Pathogens: Climate Change Increasing Risks

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Scientific Reports - Systematic Assessment of the Climate Sensitivity of Important Human and Domestic Animals Pathogens in Europe

sciencedaily.com - University of Liverpool - August 2, 2017

The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought, according to new research by the University of Liverpool.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, is the first large-scale assessment of how climate affects bacterium, viruses or other microorganisms and parasites (pathogens) that can cause disease in humans or animals in Europe.

The results will help policy makers prioritise the surveillance for pathogens that may respond to climate change and, in turn, contribute to strengthening climate change resilience for infectious diseases.

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The Fight Against Famine Needs More Voices

           

A woman dries a small quantity of sorghum on May 31, 2017, outside her house in Panthau, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan. Albert Gonzalez Farran—AFP/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - International Rescue Committee (IRC) - Ending famine is defining global issue for millennials

time.com - by Liz Schrayer - August 3, 2017

 . . . A recent poll by the International Rescue Committee found that an astounding 85% of Americans are unaware that 20 million people — more than the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia combined — are living on the verge of starvation in just three African countries plus Yemen.

We have news on 24 hours a day. We live with unprecedented connectivity. And yet we don’t even know that simple fact. That is disturbing.

But that same poll also bears some good news: Once they learn about the famine crises, the vast majority of millennials see it as one of the world’s most pressing global issues . . . 

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Planet Has Just 5% Chance of Reaching Paris Climate Goal, Study Says

Researchers find that economic, emissions and population trends point to very small chance Earth will avoid warming more than 2C by century’s end

       

Environmental activists protest Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate accords, which set a goal of avoiding warming beyond 2C. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature Climate Change - Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature Climate Change - Future global mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change

theguardian.com - by Oliver Milman - July 31, 2017

There is only a 5% chance that the Earth will avoid warming by at least 2C come the end of the century, according to new research that paints a sobering picture of the international effort to stem dangerous climate change.

Global trends in the economy, emissions and population growth make it extremely unlikely that the planet will remain below the 2C threshold set out in the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the study states.

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12 years after Gulf Oil Platform Destroyed, Feds Start Investigating Environmental Damage

nola.com - by Mark Schleifstein - July 28, 2017

Twelve years after Hurricane Ivan destroyed a Taylor Energy Co. platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government has finally started investigating how oil and gas that is still leaking from its wells damages natural resources. The flow of oil, "if left unchecked, could continue for 100 years or more," says the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Interior Department agency that oversees gulf drilling.

Although the storm waylaid Taylor Energy's MC-20 Saratoga platform on Sept. 15, 2004, it was not until late 2016 that the government began its inquiry, and not until Thursday (July 27) that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed the investigation. 

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Britain to Ban Sale of All Diesel and Petrol Cars and Vans from 2040

Plans follow French commitment to take polluting vehicles off the road owing to effect of poor air quality on people’s health

           

Ministers believe poor air quality poses largest environmental risk to public health in UK. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

theguardian.com - Anushka Asthana and Matthew Taylor - July 25, 2017

Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

The commitment, which follows a similar pledge in France, is part of the government’s much-anticipated clean air plan, which has been at the heart of a protracted high court legal battle. 

The government warned that the move, which will also take in hybrid vehicles, was needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality was having on people’s health.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Electric cars win? Britain to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040

 

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Texas Reports First Locally Transmitted Case of Zika in US This Year

                                                    

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of State Health Services - Health officials find probable local Zika infection - July 26, 2017

cnn.com - by Debra Goldschmidt - July 26, 2017

A resident of Hidalgo County, Texas who has now recovered from the Zika virus was probably infected within the county, local and state health officials said Wednesday. This represents the first locally transmitted case of the virus reported in the continental United States this year.

"Because the individual has not recently traveled outside the area or had any other risk factors, the infection was probably transmitted by a mosquito bite in South Texas sometime in the last few months," according to a joint statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Hidalgo County Health and Human Services.

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Multi-Billion Dollar Electric Grid Risks Need Risk Transfer: Swiss Re

CLICK HERE - REPORT - Swiss Re - LIGHTS OUT: THE RISKS OF CLIMATE AND NATURAL DISASTER RELATED DISRUPTION TO THE ELECTRIC GRID - 25 July 2017

artemis.bm - July 25, 2017

Risks to the electric grid due to severe weather, natural catastrophes and climate change can cause losses in the billions of dollars, and while threats make our energy future more uncertain there is a role for risk transfer and potentially the capital markets in helping to stave off economic disruption.

A new report published by reinsurance firm Swiss Re but authored by students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) explains that the electric grid is among the most important pieces of our critical infrastructure, but is also one of the most exposed to natural disasters, weather and climate related threats.

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Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea Level Rise for Decades

           

Credit: Joe Raedle  Getty Images 

Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea level rise is accelerating as Earth warms and ice sheets thaw

scientificamerican.com - by Jeff Tollefson - July 19, 2017

The numbers didn’t add up. Even as Earth grew warmer and glaciers and ice sheets thawed, decades of satellite data seemed to show that the rate of sea-level rise was holding steady—or even declining.

Now, after puzzling over this discrepancy for years, scientists have identified its source: a problem with the calibration of a sensor on the first of several satellites launched to measure the height of the sea surface using radar. Adjusting the data to remove that error suggests that sea levels are indeed rising at faster rates each year.

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CLICK HERE - University of Colorado - CU Sea Level Research Group

CLICK HERE - New estimate of the current rate of sea level rise from a sea level budget approach

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Prospect of Trump Tariff Casts Pall Over U.S. Solar Industry

           

FILE PHOTO: An employee makes a final inspection on panels during a tour of an REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore, May 5, 2017.  Edgar Su/File Photo

reuters.com - by Nichola Groom - July 25, 2017

U.S. solar companies are snapping up cheap imported solar panels ahead of a trade decision by the Trump administration that could drive up costs and cloud the fortunes of one of the economy's brightest stars.

Domestic consumers and businesses have been embracing solar energy at a furious pace - thanks to a big assist from China. Low-cost photovoltaic cells and panels made in China and other Asian countries have helped drive down costs by around 70% since 2010, enabling more Americans to go solar.

Installations in the United States last year hit a record. Jobs are mushrooming too.

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Why are Californian Solar Firms Paying to Give Away Power?

           

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bbc.com - June 29, 2017

California companies are generating so much solar power that firms in other states are getting paid to take it.

The state has been forced into the arrangement to "avoid overloading its own power lines", according to the Los Angeles Times.

The situation doesn't necessarily mean we are "throwing money away", says economist Severin Borenstein, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

"But it probably is an indication that there are some serious problems in the way we're running the grid and the way we're making investment decisions."

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Jimmy Carter Powers Half of His Hometown With Solar

           

From peanut farmer to solar farmer . . . A view of the new solar "farm" on land owned by former President Jimmy Carter, with the city of Plains seen in the background. Nearly four decades after he turned heads by installing solar panels on the White House roof as part of his push to increase "clean" energy use in America, Carter has leased part of his property to SolAmerica. The Atlanta based company says more than 50 percent of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's hometown will be solar-powered as a result.  SolAmerica

ecowatch.com - by Joe McCarthy - July 13, 2017

 . . . Earlier this year, he <Jimmy Carter> commissioned SolAmerica to create a solar farm on 10 acres of his land in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. Today, that farm is supplying half of his town's electricity needs. It's expected to supply 1.3 megawatts of electricity annually, the equivalent of burning 3,600 tons of coal.

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TEPCO Chair: Nuclear Plant Must Release Contaminated Water

           

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s new Chairman Takashi Kawamura speaks during an interview at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Kawamura said the utility needs to stop dragging its feet on plans to dump massive amounts of treated but contaminated water into the sea and make more money if it’s ever going to succeed in cleaning up the mess left by meltdowns more than six years ago at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

abcnews.go.com - by Mari Yamaguchi - July 13, 2017

. . . Takashi Kawamura, an engineer-turned-business leader who previously headed Hitachi's transformation into a global conglomerate, is in charge of reviving TEPCO and leading the cleanup at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. In an interview Thursday with selected media including The Associated Press, Kawamura said despite the massive costs of the cleanup and meeting tighter safety requirements, nuclear power is still vital for Japan's national security.

Below are highlights from the interview, where Kawamura spoke in Japanese:

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