Posts tagged ‘Carbon Emissions’

Deep-sea volcanoes play key climate role

A vast network of under-sea volcanoes pumping out nutrient-rich water in the Southern Ocean plays a key role in soaking up large amounts of carbon dioxide, acting as a brake on climate change, scientists say.

A group of Australian and French scientists have shown for the first time that the volcanoes are a major source of iron that single-celled plants called phytoplankton need to bloom and in the process soak up CO2, the main greenhouse gas.

Oceans absorb about a quarter of mankind’s CO2 from burning fossil fuels and deforestation, with the Southern Ocean between Australia and Antarctica among the largest ocean “carbon sinks.”

Phytoplankton underpin the ocean’s food chain. When they die or are eaten, they carry large amounts of carbon that they absorb to the bottom of the ocean, locking up the carbon for centuries.

There have been a number of studies showing iron is released from deep-sea volcanoes, said Andrew Bowie, a senior research scientist with the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center in Hobart, Tasmania.

“But no study has considered that on a global level and considered its importance on Southern Ocean carbon storage,” Bowie, one of the authors, told Reuters.

The volcanoes are dotted along deep ocean ridges that mark major plate boundaries of the earth’s crust and the study is based in part on measurements of how much iron there is in the Southern Ocean at depths of up to four kilometres (nearly three miles).

Click HERE for full article

Advertisements

March 15, 2010 at 2:09 PM Leave a comment

Solar Plane Almost Ready for Record Flight

In Switzerland, two pioneers are coming closer and closer to a flight around the world powered only by solar energy.

It doesn’t make good business sense, physics sense, or much of any kind of sense, to try to fly an airplane on solar power. Not yet. With the state of the technology, and how relatively young the solar sector still is, such an endeavor would be considered quixotic today—let alone in 2003, when Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, co-founders of Solar Impulse, announced they would design a solar-powered aircraft and fly it around the world.

It would be a statement, they said, about our global dependence on fossil fuels and the untapped promise of burgeoning green technologies. The Swiss pilot-entrepreneurs were after “perpetual flight”: a plane that could climb to 9,000 feet and fly on the sun’s energy by day, then descend below cloud cover to lower altitudes, where it would cruise on stored battery power by night.

It was a long shot. And yet seven years of innovation later, the 70-person Solar Impulse team is nearing its goal. “We were intrigued by this notion of perpetual flight,” said Borschberg when visited in September in Solar Impulse’s massive hangar, situated smack in the middle of Düendorf Airfield, a Swiss military zone. “We wanted to be totally independent of any fuel.” Forget hybrid planes, or the biofuels fixating most of the sustainable aviation sector today; Piccard and Borschberg are purists. “No fuel, no CO2, no pollution. It could fly almost forever, assuming good weather,” Borschberg said of their invention.

By November of last year, test pilot Markus Scherdel—formerly of DLR German Aerospace, the NASA of Germany—was climbing into the cockpit of the completed prototype to taxi down the Dübendorf runway for the first time. Soon after that, Scherde was back in the cockpit, this time guiding the plane not just down the runway but up into the air for a series of successful “flea-hop” mini-flights over the tarmac.

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA, as it is officially named, is a strange sight to behold. Resting under the sky-high ceiling of its hangar at Dubendorf, it looks fragile to the point of breakable. And no wonder: HB-SIA, comprised of a carbon skeleton covered in a flexible polycarbonate “skin,”� weighs only about 1.5 tons, about as much as a small car. Its wings are so light that a single person can carry them. And when I tested both the pilot’s parachute and the detached nosepiece of a second prototype of the plane for weight, the parachute was heavier.

Article continues: http://www.good.is/post/powering-planes-with-the-sun/

March 2, 2010 at 11:00 AM Leave a comment

Obama Changes Tune on Copenhagen Results

President Barack Obama makes a statement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. (AP)

President Barack Obama says the public is justified in its disappointment with the outcome of the United Nations climate change summit.

Despite statements from his advisers proclaiming the summit’s nonbinding agreement a great step forward, Obama says it didn’t take the steps necessary to combat the effects of climate change.

The accord Obama helped broker last week urges major polluters to make deeper emissions cuts but does not require them to do so. Still, despite its shortcomings, Obama says the agreement was better than doing nothing.

“I think that people are justified in being disappointed about the outcome in Copenhagen,” Obama said. “It didn’t move us the way we need to.”

He added: “I make no claims, and didn’t make any claims going in, that somehow that was going to be everything that we needed to do to solve climate change… My main responsibility here is to convince the American people that it is smart economics and it is going to be the engine of our economic growth for us to be a leader in clean energy.”

At the summit last week, Obama had said there had been “a meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough.”

From CBS and Associate Press

Washington, Dec. 23, 2009

January 20, 2010 at 10:34 AM Leave a comment

What would emissions cuts mean to you? Obama, Republicans at odds on costs: MIT expert sees ‘gradual evolution’

The White House will commit the U.S. to a goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 to about 17 percent below 2005 levels at a U.N.-sponsored climate change summit in Copenhagen early next month. That’s about 12.5 percent below 2008 levels, according to the Department of Energy. He also set a goal of cutting emissions by 83 percent by 2050, which is what European nations want.

View Full Story HERE

November 30, 2009 at 2:28 PM Leave a comment

EU ‘well on track’ to meet Kyoto target

The latest projections suggest that the EU-15 member states will reduce their domestic emissions to 6.9% below 1990 between 2008-2012, based on policies and measures that have already been implemented.

This falls slightly short of the Kyoto goal of 8%, but the EU is confident that with a little extra push and a little extra cash, this target can be reached. It said that plans by 10 of the EU-15 governments to buy carbon credits from outside the EU, via the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms (international emissions trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and the Joint Implementation) will bring a further reduction of 2.2%.

Continue Reading November 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM Leave a comment

Companies Mixing Up Greener Cement

Oakland, CA- You don’t have to look far to see just how much concrete humans use. Everything from highways to high-rise and bridges to runways around the world are made with the energy-intensive, carbon-spewing material.

Contributing at least 5 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the cement industry is ripe for changes to lower its impact. Cement, the glue that binds concrete, is one of the most carbon-intensive materials out there: It produces one ton of CO2 for every ton of cement made.

A number of companies, looking to cut the global impact of concrete, as well as open up huge markets for greener building blocks, are using a variety of methods like replacing concrete ingredients and adding new materials that make concrete waterproof.

See Full-Story HERE

November 12, 2009 at 10:29 AM Leave a comment

Wind power could make Norway “Europe’s battery”

Norway could become “Europe’s battery” by developing huge sea-based wind parks costing up to $44 billion by 2025, Norway’s Oil and Energy Minister said on Monday.

Norway’s Energy Council, comprising business leaders and officials, said green exports could help the European Union reach a goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity by 2020 from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro or wave power.

“Norway could be Europe’s battery,” Oil and Energy Minister Aaslaug Haga told Reuters after she was handed the report, which will be considered by the centre-left government in coming months.

Minister Aaslaug Haga

“The thinking is that Norway is blessed, is lucky, to have big energy resources. There is undoubtedly a large potential for wind power,” she said. Norway says it has the longest coastline in Europe, from the North Sea to the Arctic Barents Sea.

The 30-page report, mapping out a big shift for the world’s number 5 oil exporter, said: “Norway ought to have access to up to 40 terrawatt hours of renewable energy in 2020-2025, of which about half would come from offshore wind power.”

Sufficient wind parks — totalling 5,000 to 8,000 megawatts installed capacity — would cost between 100 billion Norwegian and 220 billion Norwegian crowns ($43.89 billion) assuming prices of 20-28 million crowns per installed megawatt.

The energy would be equivalent to up to about eight nuclear power plants. Norway pumps about 2.2 million barrels of oil per day — $44 billion represents the value of about half a year’s output.

 

WIND, HYDRO

Haga said offshore wind parks — which would stop on calm days — could be supplemented by hydro-power reservoirs which can be turned on and off to turn them into a battery storing power. Norway has about half Europe’s reservoir capacity.

“We can deliver a product whether the wind is blowing or not,” she said. Haga will meet EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs in Brussels on Thursday, partly to discuss the report.

It said Norway still needed new laws, competitive subsidies and more infrastructure. Norway sometimes has problems supplying even its own electricity needs with its existing hydro-power.

And it said that Denmark, Germany and Britain had done much more to develop wind power, both on land and in shallow waters. Norway’s advantage was wide experience from deeper offhore oil and gas installations.

StatoilHydro (STL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said last week that it will invest $80 million to build the world’s first full-scale floating wind turbine to start up in 2009. Power from such installations is likely to be more costly than on land.

The report said that Norway would have to agree long-term wind supply contracts with EU countries, including access to EU subsidies. But Haga also said: “I don’t expect Europe to subsidise Norwegian wind power producion.”

“It’s not a first choice to import power,” said Steinar Bysveen, who led the report. He said EU nations such as Germany might need imports because of a lack of space to build wind parks at home and plans to phase out nuclear power.

The Energy Council report said that 40 terrawatt hours of electricity from wind could cut 20 million tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for stoking global warming. Norway’s 2007 emissions were 55 million tonnes.

November 4, 2009 at 12:24 PM Leave a comment

Older Posts


University of San Francisco: unplugged

USFUNPLUGGED is brought to you by the Environmental Safety Community Outreach Liaison’s of USF. Here to educate, assist and encourage, we want you to get involved with the GREEN movement taking place on campus!

Unplugged Rewind