Climate Central: The World Passes 400 PPM Threshold. Permanently

In the centuries to come, history books will likely look back on September 2016 as a major milestone for the world’s climate. At a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide is usually at its minimum, the monthly value failed to drop below 400 parts per million.

That all but ensures that 2016 will be the year that carbon dioxide officially passed the symbolic 400 ppm mark, never to return below it in our lifetimes, according to scientists.

Because carbon pollution has been increasing since the start of the Industrial Revolution and has shown no signs of abating, it was more a question of “when” rather than “if” we would cross this threshold. The inevitability doesn’t make it any less significant, though.

Washington Post: William Holmberg, Decorated Marine Who Became Renewable Energy Advocate, Dies at 88

William C. Holmberg, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who received the Navy Cross for his actions on a Korean battlefield and later spent decades as an advocate on Capitol Hill for renewable energy and environmental causes, died Sept. 8 at a hospital in Palm City, Fla. He was 88.

The cause was cancer, said a son, Mark Holmberg.

He spent many years directing the Energy Department’s Office of Alcohol Fuel, where he began championing ethanol as a sustainable, alternative energy source. He also worked on the staff of Sen. Ben Nelson (R-Neb.) and managed associations promoting solar and wind energy initiatives, as well as legislative support for environmental measures.

Jalopnik: You Can Now Apply to Drive a Tesla Model S Race Car

We already have Formula E, and now we have this: the Electric GT Championship, which is the self-proclaimed first-ever zero-emissions GT championship. The first season will start in 2017, with the series launch and Tesla Model S EGT race car unveil taking place in Ibiza today. And you can totally apply to be a driver in the series.

As you know, the Electric GT Championship (not to be confused with Electric GT, those guys who electrify old classics) will use Tesla Model S P85+ cars that have been kept largely stock.

Think Progress: A Bunch of Coal Companies Went to Court to Hobble President Obama. Then It Got Weird

What do Pope Francis and National Public Radio have in common? According to Republican members of a powerful appeals court, they both demonstrate why the Obama administration’s plans to combat global warming are illegal.

Confused? Don’t worry, because there is nothing about the seemingly interminable arguments in West Virginia v. United States Environmental Protection Agency that is simple. The coal industry and its allies hired enough attorneys to crew a small armada of sailing frigates. On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard their arguments for why the EPA’s most ambitious effort to fight climate change should be struck down  --  and the court’s hearing was conducted with the sort of efficiency normally reserved for Humvees and faculty meetings. A scheduled three-and-a-half hours of oral arguments stretched for at least six. By the end, many of the judges sat in spent silence, their brains swimming with obscure details like whether EPA’s decision to halt mercury pollution somehow diminishes its power to reduce carbon emissions.

IEEE Spectrum: 'Too Cheap to Meter' Nuclear Power Revisited

The age of commercial nuclear electricity generation began on October 17, 1956, when Queen Elizabeth II switched on Calder Hall, on the Cumberland coast of England. Sixty years is long enough to judge the technology, and I still cannot improve on my evaluation from about 10 years ago: a “successful failure.”

The success part is well documented. After a slow start, reactor construction began to accelerate during the late 1960s, and by 1977 more than 10 percent of U.S. electricity came from fission, rising to 20 percent by 1991. That was a faster penetration of the market than photovoltaics and wind turbines have managed since the 1990s.

Today the world has 448 reactors, many with capacity factors of better than 90 percent. That’s the share of the reactors’ potential output that they averaged year-round, producing more than twice as much electricity as PV cells and wind turbines combined. Nuclear power provided the highest share of electricity in France (77 percent), but Swiss reactors contributed 38 percent and South Korea got 30 percent, as did Japan before Fukushima. The U.S. share remains at almost 20 percent.