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How Google, Microsoft, and Big Tech Are Automating the Climate Crisis

How Google, Microsoft, and Big Tech Are Automating the Climate Crisis

Big Tech, Climate Change, Global Warming, Oil and Gas
  In a deal that made few ripples outside the energy industry, two very large but relatively obscure companies, Rockwell Automation and Schlumberger Limited, announced a joint venture called Sensia. The new company will “sell equipment and services to advance digital technology and automation in the oilfield,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Yet the partnership has ramifications far beyond Houston’s energy corridor: It’s part of a growing trend that sees major tech companies teaming with oil giants to use automation, AI, and big data services to enhance oil exploration, extraction, and production. Rockwell is the world’s largest company that is dedicated to industrial automation, and Schlumberger, a competitor of Halliburton, is the world’s largest oilfield services firm. Sensia will be, according to the press release, “the first fully integrated digital…
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3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

Uncategorized
Renewable energy innovations symbolize what's great about America. Discussing them provides opportunities for climate dialogue. Energy use is the biggest cause of climate change, and it’s the first place we should look for solutions. It’s also a smart angle for talking about climate change, because it’s easy to find agreement on issues like improving energy efficiency, reducing pollution, cleaning up our energy supply, and reducing reliance on unstable foreign supplies. But energy can be a bit of a double-edged sword. The very reason that some people reject climate change is that they fear some of its solutions, such as regulations on carbon, or government subsidies for clean energy, pose risks to established fossil-fuel based ways of life. The good news is that it’s not hard to have positive conversations about…
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By the End of the Century, San Francisco’s Climate Could Feel Like LA

By the End of the Century, San Francisco’s Climate Could Feel Like LA

Climate Change, Global Warming
When your grandchildren plan a trip to Denver later this century, they’ll need to leave the winter hat at home and instead plan like they’re going to the Texas Panhandle. That’s according to a new study published on Tuesday in Nature Communications, which looked at the future climate of 540 cities in North America and drew comparisons with cities of today. The results show that cities’ climates will, at the end of the century, look more like cities 528 miles south do today if emissions continue rising in line with current trends. That will rearrange more than vacation plans as city residents will be forced to cope with more intense heat and the dangerous impacts that came with it. The study also shows that if we begin to cut emissions,…
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A Surge of Climate Lawsuits Targets Human Rights, Damage from Fossil Fuels

A Surge of Climate Lawsuits Targets Human Rights, Damage from Fossil Fuels

Climate Change, Global Warming
[caption id="attachment_599" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Rhode Island in 2018 became the first state to sue the fossil fuel industry over climate change, citing the growing risks from sea level rise and extreme weather. Credit: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images[/caption] Cities, states and the fishing industry want courts to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for global warming. Others argue government inaction violates rights. A climate denier is in the White House, pushing policies that will boost emissions. Congress is doing nothing to stop him. So citizens and local governments who are facing the impacts of rising seas, worsening heat waves and extreme weather are increasingly looking to the courts for help. The past year saw a surge in new lawsuits filed against fossil fuel companies, and major developments in cases pressing governments…
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The Story of 2018 Was Climate Change: Future generations may ask why we were distracted by lesser matters.

The Story of 2018 Was Climate Change: Future generations may ask why we were distracted by lesser matters.

Climate Change, Global Warming
[caption id="attachment_594" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] In Lynn Haven, Fla., trees were upended by a hurricane in October.CreditCreditJohnny Milano for The New York Times[/caption] Our best hope may be the weather. For a long time, many people thought that it was a mistake to use the weather as evidence of climate change. Weather patterns contain a lot of randomness. Even as the earth warms and extreme weather becomes more common, some years are colder and calmer than others. If you argue that climate change is causing some weather trend, a climate denier may respond by making grand claims about a recent snowfall. And yet the weather still has one big advantage over every other argument about the urgency of climate change: We experience the weather. We see it and feel it. It…
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‘1,000 little steps’: Global climate talks end in progress but fail to address the galloping pace of climate change

‘1,000 little steps’: Global climate talks end in progress but fail to address the galloping pace of climate change

Climate Change, Global Warming
“In the climate emergency we’re in, slow success is no success." [caption id="attachment_586" align="aligncenter" width="1484"] Participants leave town on Friday, even as negotiations drag on at the end of the two-week United Nations summit on climate change in Katowice, Poland. (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)[/caption] KATOWICE, Poland — Weary climate negotiators limped across the finish line Saturday night after days of round-the-clock talks, striking a deal that keeps the world moving forward with plans to curb carbon emissions. But the agreement fell well short of the breakthrough that scientists — and many of the conference’s own participants — say is needed to avoid the cataclysmic impacts of a warming planet. The deal struck Saturday at a global conference in the heart of Polish coal country, where some 25,000 delegates had gathered, adds legal…
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The Trump Administration Is Spinning Its Latest Pro-Coal Policy as Good for People of Color

The Trump Administration Is Spinning Its Latest Pro-Coal Policy as Good for People of Color

Climate Change, Global Warming
[caption id="attachment_580" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Nothing to see here, just your local coal-fired power plant.Photo: AP[/caption]   The Environmental Protection Agency is using energy affordability among low-income communities and people of color as an argument to bring back coal. Yes, the same coal responsible for an estimated 3,000 American deaths a year. Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a new proposal Thursday that would repeal Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. The EPA is doing so under the guise of advancing “clean coal,” a term typically used to describe emerging technologies that capture carbon on site from coal plants. Trouble is, that technology hasn’t advanced quickly enough for the market to make it affordable, and the EPA’s new proposal calls actually for doing away with Obama-era…
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Climate Change Response Pits Trump Against US Government

Climate Change Response Pits Trump Against US Government

Climate Change, Global Warming
I don’t believe it. – Donald Trump, November 26th, referring to the 1596-page Fourth National Climate Assessment, released by the White House at 2 p.m. on Black Friday, November 23rd, the day after Thanksgiving. don’t believe it” is not, by definition, a rational argument supported by evidence. It’s a statement of faith, not susceptible of proof or rebuttal, and as such is useless to effective governance. “I don’t believe it” is the empty opposite of the Fourth National Climate Assessment that is part of a continuing, multi-disciplinary, real-world examination of climate change that began in 1990 (more on this under-publicized report later). Produced by the 13 government agencies that comprise the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Assessment is the latest report in a thirty-year climate watch that has seen steady,…
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What causes climate change? Carbon isotopes show it’s fossil fuels.

What causes climate change? Carbon isotopes show it’s fossil fuels.

Climate Change, Global Warming
Scientists can measure how much of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is caused by us. To identify the cause of global warming, scientists study the carbon in our atmosphere. Powell: “Carbon has three varieties: three different isotopes, all with the same number of protons, but three different numbers of neutrons.” James Powell of the National Physical Sciences Consortium says these isotopes are found in different proportions in different substances. For example, the carbon found in plants has a distinct ratio of the isotopes carbon-12 and carbon-13. There’s also a difference between the carbon isotopes in living plants and those in fossil fuels, which are made from plants that died millions of years ago. That’s because plants contain the radioactive isotope carbon-14, which decays over time. Powell: “Geological materials like…
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Meet the microgrid, the technology poised to transform electricity

Meet the microgrid, the technology poised to transform electricity

Uncategorized
By David Roberts and Alvin Chang This is the path to a cleaner, more reliable, more resilient energy grid. If we want a livable climate for future generations, we need to slow, stop, and reverse the rise in global temperatures. To do that, we need to stop burning fossil fuels for energy. To do that, we need to generate lots of carbon-free electricity and get as many of our energy uses as possible (including transportation and industry) hooked up to the electricity grid. Electrify everything! We need a greener grid. But that’s not all. The highly digital modern world also demands a more reliable grid, capable of providing high-quality power to facilities like hospitals or data centers, where even brief brownouts can cost money or lives. The renewable energy sources…
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