Monday, August 13, 2007

Predicting Climate Risks - Renewable Energy is Cheaper in the Long Run - Research is Best - Texas Braces for Record Electrical Use

Wind turbines with the moon
Scientists try new ways to predict climate risks

Scientists are trying to improve predictions about the impact of global warming this century by pooling estimates about the risk of floods or desertification.

Scientists in the U.N. climate panel, for instance, rely on several complex computer models to forecast the impacts of warming this century, ranging from changing rainfall patterns over Africa to rising global sea levels.

But these have flaws because of a lack of understanding about how clouds form, for instance, or how Antarctica's ice will react to less cold. And reliable temperature records in most nations stretch back only about 150 years.

Study says low-carbon research offers big payoff

It would cost up to $1.8 trillion to dramatically reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, but spending $35 billion on research into cutting edge technology for nuclear and low-emission coal plants could cut the price tag in half, researchers said on Monday.

Without key technology advances, it would cost $1.8 trillion to reduce U.S. CO2 emissions by 2 percent a year starting in 2010, or about 50 percent below 2010 levels by 2050, the study found.

That number drops to $900 billion if U.S. industry spends about $1.4 billion annually in research and development through 2030 - about $35 billion total.

Texas power grid braces for record electric use

Temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and higher forecast for Monday afternoon across Texas may push electric use in the state to an all-time record, according to the grid operator.