Tag Archives | Carbon

Here’s How Wind and Solar Energy are Increasing CO2 Emissions

Picture: JMT (PD)

Picture: JMT (PD)

Almost everybody today agrees that it would be really smart (if not vitally essential) that we reduce the amount of fossil carbon we release from giant, tupperware-geological structures deep inside the earth.  But how would we accomplish freeing ourselves from coal, petroleum, and gas while maintaining a dependable flow of electricity?

Mainstream environmentalists currently advocate for generating energy from wind turbines and solar arrays, whose energy comes more-or-less directly from the sun.  With solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, and wind turbines we can produce electricity without generating any carbon dioxide (once these devices have been manufactured and placed on a field or ocean somewhere).   Unfortunately, one issue with these technologies is that the energy is intermittent.  With the wind dying down and the Sun being obscured by clouds or the night, these devices only actually generate electricity a small minority of the time, let’s say generously 30% of the time.… Read the rest

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Where Should the Divestors Invest?

Carbon Dioxide. Source: Jacek FH (GNU)

Carbon Dioxide. Source: Jacek FH (GNU)

Brendan Smith, Jeremy Brecher, and Kristen Sheeran write at Common Dreams:

The stunning success of the fossil fuel divestment movement has caught many of us off-guard. Almost daily, new universities and foundations are committing to redirecting their endowments from companies that are destroying the planet into ones that are not. Now, on the heels of their successful campaigns, activists are clamoring for guidance on what types of investments they should advocate for. They know that their victories will be ashes in their mouths if their universities simply divest from Exxon and into a “green” Coca-Cola.

Emulating the anti-apartheid Sullivan Principles, there are efforts under way to certify investments as fossil-free. But a “moral screen” that simply rules out fossil fuel companies and perhaps a few other morally questionable investments is a necessary, but not sufficient, step.

Addressing the climate crisis requires massive investment in rebuilding our society and our economy on a sustainable basis.

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Peak Water, Peak Oil…Now, Peak Soil?

soilStephan Leahy writes at IPS:

Soil is becoming endangered.This reality needs to be part of our collective awareness in order to feed nine billion people by 2050, say experts meeting here in Reykjavík.

And a big part of reversing soil decline is carbon, the same element that is overheating the planet.

“Keeping and putting carbon in its rightful place” needs to be the mantra for humanity if we want to continue to eat, drink and combat global warming, concluded 200 researchers from more than 30 countries.

“There is no life without soil,” said Anne Glover, chief scientific advisor to the European Commission.

“While soil is invisible to most people it provides an estimated 1.5 to 13 trillion dollars in ecosystem services annually,” Glover said at the Soil Carbon Sequestration conference that ended this week.

The dirt beneath our feet is a nearly magical world filled with tiny, wondrous creatures. A mere handful of soil might contain a half million different species including ants, earthworms, fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms.

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Deforestation Intentions Soar With Carbon Prices Low

Picture: NASA (PD)

Picture: NASA (PD)

Brian Fallow writes at the New Zealand Herald:

Deforestation intentions have soared as the emissions trading scheme, at least at current rock-bottom prices, is no longer seen as a barrier to switching to other land uses.

A survey of large forest owners (with over 10,000ha) by Professor Bruce Manley of Canterbury University has found they intend to deforest 39,000ha between now and 2020, mainly in the central North Island and mainly to switch to dairy farming.

They represent three-quarters of the plantation forests with trees older than 20 years, which are likely to be harvested within the next eight years.

Assuming smaller forest owners only replant 80 per cent of the forests they harvest in the same period, the total area deforested would be 55,000ha or 12 per cent of the area of plantation forest maturing in that period.

On an annual basis it would represent only a modest increase on deforestation over the past five years – the period of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period, through which forest owners have had liabilities under the ETS.

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