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Weekly John Locke Foundation research division newsletter focusing on environmental issues.

The newsletter highlights relevant analysis done by the JLF and other think tanks as well as items in the news.

1. "Massive Power Outage Paralyzes North India" (Is this in our future?)

This was the headline on the online version of Monday’s Wall Street Journal.  The article opens with the following:

Northern India’s worst power failure in 10 years created chaos Monday, leaving hundreds of millions of people without power for several hours, disrupting transport and businesses, and highlighting India’s woeful efforts to boost its power infrastructure.

Eight states, with a total population of around 369 million people — equal to that of the U.S. and the U.K. combined — were hit by the power outage, which was caused by a failure of the northern grid — the network supplying electricity — early Monday morning.

So why do I suggest that this might be a scenario that many of us here in the US and especially in NC might face in the future? The answer comes later in the article:

Efforts by the South Asian country to build new power stations haven’t yet yielded much result because of a shortage in coal supply.

More than half of India’s power-generation capacity of 205 gigawatts is coal-based, and Coal India Ltd., the world’s biggest coal producer, is unable to produce enough owing to delays in getting environmental clearances for mining. [emphasis added]

An ambitious program to build nuclear-power plants has faced public demonstrations, which took off in earnest after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, last year.

This is effectively the trend in the United States. Under environmental regulations implemented by Obama’s EPA, new coal-fired plants have, in practice, been banned. And like India, more than half of North Carolina’s electricity comes from coal. Nuclear power is facing a similar fate as many states, including North Carolina, have implemented renewable energy production standards that exclude nuclear.  

2. Sudden Greenland ice melt not "unprecedented" — NASA headline ignores information in its own press release.

The headline on a press release from NASA dated July 24th reads "Satellites see unprecedented ice sheet melt."

Here’s what the release says:

For several days this month, Greenland’s surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its 2-mile-thick (3.2-kilometer) center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

But as you read further you find out that this kind of event is not unprecedented at all. In fact, it happens quite regularly at intervals of 150 years. Tucked in at the very end of the press release we find the following statement:

"Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," said Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

So NASA proves once again that, on issues related to climate, it is little more than an arm of the environmental lobby. The release concludes, gratuitously and without evidence:

But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.

3. Ozone Report

The 2012 ozone season began on April 1 and each week during the ozone season this newsletter reports how many, if any, high ozone days have been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to date. The ozone season will end on October 31. All reported data is from the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

During the period, July 23 to July 29, there were no reported high ozone readings on any of North Carolina’s ozone monitors. Since the beginning of the ozone season, there have been 105 high ozone readings on North Carolina monitors.

Click here for the Environmental Update archive.