Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
In the wake of a controversy over a dubious claim made about melting glaciers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a top Chinese official says that the panel should include the views of global warming skeptics in its next report.
Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of China’s national Development and Reform Commission, told a meeting of rapidly developing nations that the IPCC needs to “adopt an open attitude to scientific research and incorporate all views.”
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new ozone standards to protect health and environmental values. These standards will apply to the lower atmosphere, to the air we breathe. In the upper atmosphere, ozone is good.
The “hole” in the ozone layer over Antarctica has worried scientists for years since ozone in the upper atmosphere protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.
According to research at the University of Leeds, the hole in the ozone layer is now steadily closing. This is a concern, since its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere, the scientists at Leeds conclude.
Monday, January 25th, 2010
Growing algae for biofuels is an energy-intensive process that can generate more greenhouse gases than the process sequesters, according to a new study.
Examining the life cycle of algal biofuels, researchers from the University of Virginia found that the process emits high levels of greenhouse gases because algal production requires using large amounts of fertilizer.
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
David Archer and Stefan Rahmstorf are notable climate scientists. They are also excellent communicators of the science to the general reader, as is apparent in their new book The Climate Crisis: An Introductory Guide to Climate Change. The authors seek to provide an accessible and readable account of the “treasure trove” of the IPCC reports.
They distinguish their work sharply from the Summaries for Policy Makers officially provided by the IPCC, which are negotiated between government representatives and exclude much of what scientists think and write in the full report.
But while they draw heavily on the latest IPCC report and feature many of its informative graphs and tables, they also refer to new findings since the 2006 cut-off date for the report, and draw attention to weaknesses they sometimes see in the report.
Most of the book deals with global climate science, the focus of IPCC Working Group I, with subsequent brief attention given to the impacts of climate change (Working Group II) and to mitigation (Working Group III). (more…)
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
The Middle East’s first carbon dioxide recovery plant has been opened at the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company. This is also one of the first in the world to successfully recycle carbon dioxide air emissions. The $55 million facility at the company’s Sitra facility was formally inaugurated by Gulf chairman and adviser to the Prime Minister for oil and industrial affairs Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, in the presence of board members, company officials and guests.
Carbon dioxide is useful for many industrial operations. It can be used as a feedstock if compressed and transported and it can be used in carbonation of beverages. These are useful and productive recycling efforts but the industry using the carbon dioxide must be close by. (more…)
Monday, January 4th, 2010
An old Israeli joke describes how God led Moses through the desert to the Holy Land for 40 years, through hardships and dangers, only to lead the Israelite nation to the only spot in the Middle East where there isn’t a drop of oil.
Two thousand years later, things have remained pretty much the same. Today, Israel is considered an “island-state”, with over 99% of its capacity produced from imported fossil fuels.
In alignment with global trends, Israel has experienced a recent surge of new ventures in the field, comprising commercial, academic and regulatory initiatives. Although a pioneer and home to world leaders in the RE field, the post-80s low oil pricing era left the Israeli RE industry relatively dormant in comparison with its blossoming high-tech activity. (more…)
Monday, December 28th, 2009
Carbon dioxide air emissions is one of the big issues in global warming debate. However, before you start controlling by putting the carbon in the ground, you first have to put lawyers in a room to argue. After a year that saw billions of dollars spent around a variety of carbon capture and storage pilot projects, the focus in 2010 will shift from press conferences and engineering discussion to court cases and conference tables.
Everyone has an opinion on what is the right thing to do in global warming. Far from just an engineering decision the task of making technology an effective weapon in the fight against climate change will take a lot more than working out funding details and letting the engineers work.
Saturday, December 26th, 2009
When the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog embraces nuclear power, genetically engineered crops, and geoengineering schemes to cool the planet, you know things have changed in the environmental movement. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Stewart Brand explains how the passage of four decades — and the advent of global warming — have shifted his thinking about what it means to be green.
Stewart Brand helped shape the environmental consciousness of the 1960s and ‘70s with his Whole Earth Catalog, which became a bible of the counterculture and the back-to-the-land movement. An eclectic compendium of information and “tools” for innovative, environmentally friendly living, the Whole Earth Catalog reflected Brand’s ecological and technological interests, foreshadowing the rise of the San Francisco Bay Area’s computer and green cultures.
Friday, December 18th, 2009
Saying that “the time for talk is over,” President Obama called on the 193 nations at the Copenhagen climate summit to put aside divisions and agree on a treaty to tackle the threat of global warming. “We are running short of time, and at this point the question is whether we will move forward together or split apart. Whether we prefer posturing to action. We can choose delay, falling back into the same divisions that have stood in the way of action for years. And we will be back having the same stale arguments month after month, year after year — all while the danger of climate change grows until it is irreversible… We are ready to get this done today, but there has to be movement on all sides.”
Clearly frustrated by the lack of action as the 12-day conference drew to a close, Obama said a successful accord must contain three elements: a commitment from all major economies to make significant emissions reductions, the creation of a mechanism to verify that nations adhere to those commitments, and the establishment of a fund to help countries most vulnerable to climate change. Read the text of Obama’s speech and watch the video.
Monday, December 7th, 2009
The UN Climate Change Conference opened in Copenhagen this morning, with conference President Connie Hedegaard of Denmark telling delegates from 192 nations that they must take action now or risk putting off for years a crucial agreement to curb global greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is our chance,” said Hedegaard, Denmark’s former minister for climate end energy. “If we miss it, it could take years before we get a new and better one — if we ever do.” After weeks of pessimistic forecasts about what the 12-day conference might accomplish, the mood among participants was more upbeat following news that U.S. President Obama will appear at the end of the conference and that China would agree to reduce by nearly half the so-called carbon intensity of its economy — the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product. Today’s opening session featured video clips from children around the world urging delegates to act to stave off catastrophic global warming. A 24-year-old from Fiji wept as she presented a petition from 10 million people asking the conference to forge a deal to save low-lying islands like hers from rising sea levels.