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Archive for the ‘Energy sources’ Category

What Can Be Done to Slow Climate Change?

Posted by Lindy on January 15, 2012


For the full article go to: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112193442.htm

This is a very interesting article, but if you are tempted to include in your GSCE exam, make sure you mention Shindell (of NASA) as it is so new, that many exam markers will not have come across it, and may think you have got confused.

The main idea behind what they are saying is that while CO2 has the main long term impact on climate change, it we want to have some effective short term impacts ( i.e. within 40 years) these are the best ways to go, as they don’t just reduce climate change but reduce the impacts on health and agriculture as well.

The 2 key elements are methane and black carbon.

Black carbon are specs that come from burning fossil fuels and wood, and are implicated in respiratory illness and climate change. If these specs are inhaled (e.g. by burning wood for cooking as happens in large parts of the LICs) then many get sick and/or die from it – in particular women and young children. Also black carbon absorb radiation form the sun and so raise the air temperature, darken the ice caps so increasing the heat they absorb and contribute to melting and also to changes in rainfall patterns.

Methane as we know is 20-30 times worse than CO2.

What are the specific actions Shindell thinks we should take?

For black carbon, reduce the emissions from cars by filtering, and even removing the worst offenders from the road, upgrading the cookers using wood, especially in LICs, and banning agricultural stubble burning.

For methane, change methods of production of rice so the paddies do not omit methane, capturing methane from landfill sites,making sure methane do not escape from oil and gas wells and managing animal/human manure more effectively.

Who will benefit?

Russia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan who have a lot of ice will be the prime winners.   Iran, Pakistan and Jordan would experience the most improvement in agricultural production. Southern Asia and the Sahel region of Africa would see the most beneficial changes to precipitation patterns.  The south Asian countries of India, Bangladesh and Nepal would see the biggest reductions in premature deaths as a result of chest infections.

Posted in Bangladesh, Climate change, Energy sources, Fragile environments, Global warming, management, Solution to problems, Weather | Leave a Comment »

World pays Ecuador not to extract oil from rainforest

Posted by Lindy on January 3, 2012


Friday 30 December 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/30/ecuador-paid-rainforest-oil-alliance

Governments and film stars join alliance that raises £75m to compensate Ecuador for lost revenue from 900m barrels. Supporters of the Yasuní ‘crowdfunding’ initiative say it could change the way important places are protected.

An alliance of European local authorities, national governments, US film stars, Japanese shops, soft drink companies and Russian foundations have stepped in to prevent oil companies exploiting 900m barrels of crude oil from one of the world’s most biologically rich tracts of land. According to the UN, the “crowdfunding” initiative had last night raised $116m (£75m), enough to temporarily halt the exploitation of the 722 square miles of “core” Amazonian rainforest known as Yasuní national park in Ecuador.

The park, which is home to two tribes of uncontacted Indians, is thought to have more mammal, bird, amphibian and plant species than any other spot on earth. Development of the oilfield, which was planned to take place immediately if the money had not been raised, would have inevitably led to ecological devastation and the eventual release of over 400m tonnes of CO2.

Ecuador agreed to halt plans to mine the oilfield if it could raise 50% of the $7.6bn revenue being lost by not mining the oil. While the world’s leading conservation groups pledged nothing, regional governments in France and Belgium offered millions of dollars – with $2m alone from the Belgian region of Wallonia. A New York investment banker donated her annual salary and Bo Derek, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton and Al Gore all contributed.

The idea of asking people to pay for something not to take place was widely dismissed by national treasuries as holding the world to ransom. The German development minister, Dirk Niebel, said that the principle of paying for the oil not to be exploited “would be setting a precedent with unforeseeable referrals”. However, Germany has now contributed $48m in “technical assistance”. The former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was widely criticised after he wrote off $51m of Ecuador’s $10bn external debt as Italy’s contribution. Other governments pledging support were Chile, Colombia, Georgia and Turkey ($100,000 each), Peru ($300,000), Australia ($500,000) and Spain ($1.4m).

Supporters of the scheme argued that it could be a model for change in the way the world pays to protect important places. The money raised is guaranteed to be used only for nature protection and renewable energy projects. Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and other countries with oil reserves, have investigated the possibility of setting up similar schemes as an alternative to traditional aid.

The biological richness of Yasuní has astonished scientists. One 6sq km patch of the park was found to have 47 amphibian and reptile species, 550 bird, 200 mammal and more species of bats and insects than anywhere in the western hemisphere. According to Ecuadorean scientists, it would take in the region of 400 years to record Yasuní’s 100,000 or more insect and 2,000 fish species.

Posted in Amazon, Climate change, Energy sources, Fragile environments, International action, Solution to problems, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

A really neat way to look at things

Posted by Lindy on November 19, 2011


Posted in Appropriate technology, Climate change, Development, Energy sources, Global warming, Recycling, Renewable, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

Mexico To Earn Royalty On Light Bulb Carbon Credits

Posted by Lindy on November 18, 2011


http://planetark.org/wen/63813

08-Nov-11 – from an article by  Sonali Paul

Mexico will earn a royalty on carbon credits generated from energy-saving light bulbs through a world-first deal that could pave the way for other developing countries to fund emissions cuts. Under the project, an Australian company, Cool nrg International will distribute 45 million energy efficient light bulbs to 6.5 million low-income households in Mexico City. The aim is to generate energy savings of 33,000 gigawatt hours, cutting annual emissions by the equivalent of about one-third of car emissions in a city renowned for its smog. In total, the project aims to reduce 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, over 10 years.

Every tonne of CO2 saved will generate a credit, or certified emission reduction (CER), which will be sold to companies in rich nations, which will incur huge fines if they overstep their limits and do not buy in carbon credits to cover any shortfall.

The project is seen as a possible model for other developing countries looking for ways to fund the promotion of energy saving and less-polluting technologies.

While complex to carry out and monitor, the Mexican project could result in significant emissions cuts, help low-income households save money on energy and generate funds for the government too as they receive commission from light bulb company.

A light-bulb project by Cool nrg and its partners in 2009 was the first of its type to be approved under an expanded form of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism. The CDM allows clean energy project developers to earn CERs from projects in poorer countries.

Posted in Climate change, Energy sources, Global warming, Solution to problems | Leave a Comment »

Analysis Promising Biodiesel Crop needs Time To Prove Itself

Posted by Lindy on October 30, 2011


http://planetark.org/wen/63724

Date: 28-Oct-11; From article by  Nina Chestney

There is new hope for biodeisal from a little known tree, the pongamia pinnata tree. It will not reduce food production as it grows on poor land but much more research is needed before we can be sure it will work.

Pongamia pinnata is native to Australia, India and parts of southeast Asia. Its oil has so far been used in medicines, lubricants and oil lamps. Pongamia is attractive because, after six years of cultivation, its oil yield is estimated to rise to around 23 tonnes per hectare per year — almost double yields of 12 tonnes from jatropha (see below), another tree that is a biodiesel feed crop, and 11 tonnes from palm oil.

But the optimism is cautious as prior experience with jatropha shows that what looks like a promising crop may prove disappointing. A few years ago, jatropha was hailed as a biofuel alternative to fossil fuels that would not further impoverish developing countries by diverting resources away from food production. Its high oil yield and ability to grow on marginal land were attractive, but its commercial promise was overstated. Some farmers found that it needed fertilizer to thrive and that its harvesting and processing proved energy-intensive.

However, the evergreen pongamia can grow on marginal arid or semi-arid land and is a nitrogen-fixing tree, which means that it helps fertilize the soil, is promising.

POTENTIAL?

While several large organisations have already planted trees in unused areas of Australia and India, it also believed that there is a role for small scale production.  India has recognized the potential for small-holders to grow the tree on marginal land and has encouraged them to plant around 25 million trees since 2003 and has bought the seed pods for processing into biodiesel.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Bio-enenrgy, Energy sources, Renewable, Solution to problems, Sustainability, Transport | Leave a Comment »

Renewable energy hits record high in UK

Posted by Lindy on October 18, 2011


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/29/renewable-energy-record-high#history-link-box

Renewable electricity contributed an all time high of 9.6% of the UK’s grid mix in the second quarter of this year, statistics released on Thursday by the Department of Energy and Climate Change have revealed.

The 7.86TWh (terawatt hours) contributed by green energy generators represented a 50% rise on the same time last year. The surge in green energy was led by the wind energy sector, which saw output more than double in 1 year, such as the off-shore turbines in N Lincolnshire ( see left) and hydroelectricity where output rose by ¾  year on year.

Nuclear energy also saw a large rise, increasing by more than 1/3 to 17.44TWh.

It needs to be said that  wind energy output was relatively low during the second quarter of 2010, while the mild spring will have contributed to the fall in overall energy use.

However, supporters of renewable energy will also point to a steady increase in capacity evidenced by the opening of new offshore wind farms and biomass power plants as one of the factors behind the sector’s strong performance.

Posted in Climate change, Economic geography, Energy sources, Renewable, Wind | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Lindy on September 18, 2011


http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/archives/29591

Overall in Africa, 80 percent of the continent’s population using traditional biomass (wood) and only 42 percent have access to electricity! Something needs to be done

Posted in Energy sources, IGCSE | Leave a Comment »

Microbes Generate Electricity While Cleaning Up Nuclear Waste

Posted by Lindy on September 7, 2011


Now this is a fairly complicated ideas but read the link if you dare!

Put as simply as possible, geobacter bacteria manage to not only survive in amongst toxic uranium but neutralize it wild using energy to produce electricity! As you probably know, one of the major problems with exploiting nuclear power is the waste products, and in the case in Japan following the tsunami, what to do if the uranium escapes. These little guys look like they may be the answer! While nuclear power is known as a carbon-free way of producing electricity, their down-side has put off many countries from exploiting it

Posted in Energy sources, IGCSE, Unit B4 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »