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Solar power incentives

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By Shannon Bell

Anyone who’s looked into installing solar panels for their home know that solar power for the entire home is very expensive. At minimum, most homeowners can expect to pay at least $15,000. At maximum, homeowners may pay as much as $45,000 or even $60,000 for a solar panel array that will power their entire home.

However, both federal and state tax credits aim to encourage homeowners to take on a solar project anyway. The federal government, according to the US Department of Energy, will kick in 30% of the cost for a solar project registered before December 31, 2016. A 30% tax break would bring the cost of a $15,000 solar project down to $10,500.

A Glacier Meltdown – The Himalayas and climate science.

An excellent opinion in the Wall Street Journal. It is absolutely amazing that there are so few media companies that try to get the story straight.

Last November, U.N. climate chief Rajendra Pachauri delivered a blistering rebuke to India’s environment minister for casting doubt on the notion that global warming was causing the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers.

“We have a very clear idea of what is happening,” the chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told the Guardian newspaper. “I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

Lord Turnbull’s comments

I thought that Lord Turnbull’s speach in front of the House of Lords on December 8, 2009 was very well done. It does an excellent job of praising many in the community for their efforts in addition to appropriately questioning the correct next action. As this is a public forum paid for by British taxpayers, I feel that I can include his complete comments here.

I especially like the realism in his comments about the exporting of carbon usage to China (or other less developed countries) and then blaming those countries for their dramatic increase. This is an issue that is often overlooked in the discussion of curtailing carbon output in any individual country.

Windmills Are Killing Our Birds

The subject of windmills killing birds has been discussed occasionally on the web for several years. Every time the subject gets popular, it suddenly seems to drop out of vogue to discuss. The argument is always that the bird fatalities are a fraction of other human activity and therefore not significant.

There is little doubt that windmills kill birds and bats. Their remains are found at the foot of windmills on a regular basis. Robert Bryce, the author of “Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of ‘Energy Independence‘”, “Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron“, and “Cronies: How Texas Business Became American Policy– and Brought Bush to Power” recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the wind energy industry is being held to a different standard than other energy companies.

Could we be wrong about global warming?

There is an article in the USAToday (that is based on an article in Nature Geoscience) that is getting a lot of web traffic lately.

While few people would call me a global warming alarmists, I do think it is important to have relatively balanced perspective on all of this.  In fact, that is the essence of this blog.

Most reputable scientists without an agenda (which likely excludes anyone associated with Al Gore) had concluded long ago that it wasn’t the CO2 concentrations that would deliver the doom and gloom of the alarmists.  Rather, the concern was a feedback loop that would be accelerated by a fairly rapid expansion of carbon dioxide.  One theory is that this CO2 increase would cause temperatures to increase slightly which causes an increase in H2O in the atmosphere which further increases the temperature in an escalating fashion.

World’s Dirtiest Rivers and Lakes

image Treehugger recently did a slideshow on the World’s Dirtiest Rivers and Lakes. While the slideshow doesn’t have anything to do with global warming, it should be important to all and especially the readers that stop by this site each week. If you are concerned with global warming then you should be concerned with most things where we have screwed up the environment to our own detriment.

Recently, there was a rather foolish announcement that said that said global warming kills over 300,000 per year already.  I didn’t talk much about this report here, as I thought it didn’t merit my time.  However, I do wonder how many real deaths (as opposed to Kofi’s fictitious 300K) are caused by poor drinking water. If you have ever been in a Starbucks, you have likely seen the bottles of Ethos water which donate part of the proceeds to clean drinking water to poor countries. Their site says:

Geothermal Future

While I am a big proponent of nuclear energy to solve our energy needs as well as to allow us a green source of energy, geothermal also offers some advantages that may be worth considering.

Like nuclear, it takes years to implement a large geothermal plant (perhaps decades). It is imperative that the United States aggressively and quickly begins the construction of these alternative sources of energy rather than building more coal fired plants.

The NY Times ran an editorial on geothermal which I have reproduced, in part, below. Also, for those that don’t understand the technology, the following video will allow you to learn the basics.

In short, geothermal energy is:

  • safe to operate in very populated areas

The Conveyor Belt is broken!?!?

I am shocked and dismayed! (Not really – just being a bit sarcastic and melodramatic)

One of the foundations of predicting the climate is that we have some idea of how water moves around the planet. That water can be in the form of water vapor or liquid water that is flowing in streams, lakes and the oceans. Since the Earth is approximately 2/3 water and water vapor is the single largest greenhouse gas, the way it acts is very important for understanding climate and predicting the future of climate.

New Milepost for Arctic Sea Ice Extent

There is a great article on Watts Up With That? that you should read.

This article misses out by not making a big enough distinction that weather is not climate and climate is not weather. The amount of ice in any given 2 or 3 year stretch has as much to do regarding global warming as the occassional all time high or low that is hit in Peoria, IL. I have talked about weather v. climate before but we always seem to go around to the same things.

Last year, there was a great deal of talk about Arctic Sea ice and the fact that it was vanishing. Very little talk at the time had to do with the currents under the ice (except for here). The end of the world was at hand though if you read some blogs!

A Look Into Future Oceans for Shellfish Reasons

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a great article that studies the effect of the increased acidification of the ocean by an increase in carbon dioxide.

I know that many of my readers doubt that CO2 actually has changed the climate. I also have doubts on this since the science is so ambiguous and so strongly relies on computer models. However, the acidification of the ocean due to an increased absorption of carbon dioxide is chemistry and is not subject to fuzzy computer models and guesses.

In case you question that the increase of CO2 is man-made and not natural – check out this article.

Some excerpts from WSJ: