Antarctic Sea Ice Expands To New Record

southern extentTime to take a quick look at the sea ice situation down under, as I must have missed it on BBC News. According to NSIDC, a new record high has been set for April, beating last year. Ice is above average virtually all around the continent. Meanwhile, according to Bob Tisdale, Southern Ocean surface temperatures continue to plunge. It really does not take a genius to add two and two together. –Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 3 May 2015

Falling oil and gas prices have short-circuited rollouts of renewable energy and alternative vehicle use, setting back progress toward reaching climate goals, the world’s top energy body said Monday. Many analysts had been hopeful that renewable investment could withstand the price drop brought about by America’s shale oil and gas boom. But the IEA says it’s not happening. –Rob Wile, Fusion, 4 May 2015

So how much is that battery power going to cost?  Adding together your 15 cents per kwh for solar power plus the 15 cents to cycle a kwh in and out of the battery, and you’re looking at 30 cents per kwh for electricity. I think 30 cents per kwh is bonkers. At my home in Texas I pay 10 cents per kwh to Reliant Energy for electricity that is mostly generated by natural gas burning power plants. And here’s where the economics of the Powerwall break down. If you do not have a big enough solar system to get your home entirely off the grid, then there is simply no point whatsoever in paying 30 cents per kwh to get electricity via the Powerwall. At night, when you’re not generating solar power, you could simply get your electricity from the grid. For 10 cents a kwh. –Christopher Helman, Forbes, 1 May 2015

Last week, Tesla introduced a 10kWh home battery pack for back-up use only. It will cost $7140 installed, will be dead in fewer than five hours, and can’t run an entire house or central air conditioning or charge an electric car. In other words, this new back-up battery from Tesla is just another attempted Musk distraction from a core auto business that I expect in this week’s Q1 earnings report will show record GAAP losses and the company’s lowest gross margin in at least a year. –Mark B Spiegel, Seeking Alpha, 3 May 2015

What I would like to emphasize is that human actions have very large effects on the ecology, which have nothing to do with the climate. Carbon dioxide is what we’re producing in big quantities and putting into the atmosphere. This happens to be a very good fertilizer for all kinds of vegetation, good for wildlife, good for agricultural production, so it has many benefits. And this is something you have together with the climate effects, which are much less certain, so it’s a question of drawing a balance. I’m just saying I don’t understand it and neither does anybody else. I’m skeptical because I don’t think the science is at all clear, and unfortunately a lot of the experts really believe they understand it, and maybe have the wrong answer. –Freeman Dyson, National Public Radio (NPR), 2 May 2015

Would you believe it was eight years ago today that the United Nations predicted we only had “as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.” This failed prediction, however, has not stopped the U.N. from issuing more apocalyptic predictions since. –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News, 4 May 2015