Menu

Today is Earth Day – send an eCard!

Today is Earth Day.  Regardless of your feelings about the cause or realism of global warming, you probably would not be reading this site if you didn’t have some level of concern for the health of the planet.

Earth Day is not about global warming but rather a general understanding that we need to take care of our planet as best that we can.  It’s resources are, by definition, limited. At least as of this writing, it is the best place in the universe that we know of that can support human life – in fact it is the only place.

I would like to quote Stephen Leahy on an Earth Day Wish:

Take time to be outside today.

READ MORE

Is Your Global Warming?

GUEST ARTICLE 

By J Schipper

Carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas linked to global warming, is accumulating in the Earth’s atmosphere at an increasing rate, according to a new study released by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The research has renewed concern that the ability of the environment to absorb the gas may be waning. The NOAA study said the average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2005 reached 381 parts per million, up from 2.6 ppm since 2004. The annual rate of increase, which has been recorded since the 1950s, now exceeds 2 ppm for three of the past four years. This is an unprecedented increase; 50 years ago, the annual increase was less than 1 ppm.

READ MORE

Bush Wants to Beef Up Earth Monitoring

AP – February 4, 2008

The new budget for the US Bush Administration has additional scientific vehicles to better understand and monitor the world and its climate. While these improvements are good, I have repeatedly called for better efforts in computer modeling and analysis and these still did not receive the attention that they deserved.

One of the problems with the models employed is the sparseness of the data that they use and computing shortcuts that are employed. We need more points of data in the models that cover multiple distances off the planet and we need larger, faster, and more advanced computing power so that these data points can be left discrete for the entirety of the computing effort.

READ MORE

Intel says it will become largest buyer of green power in U.S.

Silicon Valley / San jose Business Journal – January 28, 2008

I am not a lover of carbon trading.  I have complained about them multiple times (read some of my comments here, here, and here).  However, I plan on discussing how companies are trying to be “green” and also how they are trying to profit from that effort – at least in the court of public opinion if not on their balance sheet. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

So it seems prudent to take a look at Intel which instead of trading carbon purchased renewable energy credits.  This is not a company that uses huge amounts of energy like a heavy manufacturer like GM or Ford.  However, they are quite large and their energy bill is likely quite considerable.

READ MORE

Solar Venture Will Draw on Molten Salt

Wall Street Journal – January 2, 2008

As the price of fossil based fuels continues to increase dramatically, other sources of energy begin to be more cost effective. This, combined with the increase pressure due to global warming concerns, has propagated the use of alternative fuels such as solar farms that capture the sun’s energy.

This story relates how a United Technologies company is starting a new venture that uses an old technique for storing energy. Only the current economic situation of today would allow for this to be a profitable venture. UT should not be overly commended here since all they are doing is taking advantage of a market condition and trying to make a business satisfying a need. I am confident that should the price of crude suddenly drop by 50%, UT would cancel this venture as fast as one would jump when touching molten salt.

READ MORE

Power Plant Rejected Over Carbon Dioxide For First Time

Washington Post – October 19, 2007

This is the first time in the US that a power plant was rejected due to concerns regarding its output of carbon dioxide as a pollutant. I don’t understand all of the laws in this area but I suspect that this decision would not have been possible had the Supreme Court not ruled that CO2 was a pollutant.

I am not going to make a lot of comments on this article except to ask two questions that are not adequately answered in this article:

READ MORE

In China, a Plan to Turn Rice Into Carbon Credits

Wall Street Journal – October 9, 2007

I am not a fan of carbon trading programs or carbon credits as most readers know. However, I do like programs that promise to reduce the use of our valuable resources.

This idea sounds promising as it will decrease the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere (did you know that agriculture put out more than automobiles?) and it will conserve resources.

…to sell farmers a genetically engineered rice seed. He says the seed, still in development, will cut their need for nitrogen fertilizer, which is among their biggest costs — and a huge source of greenhouse gases. He then aims to sell the resulting carbon credits on a growing global exchange.

READ MORE

The Scientific and Social Challenges of Global Warming

LITA – October 6, 2007

This is an interesting overview of global warming and its social challenges. I think that the author has oversimplified the conversation to some degree and may have even extrapolated some events that may not be applicable.  For instance, it is very difficult to say that polar bears will be extinct in 40 years since we do not have a good understanding of the numbers of polar bears today. There does not appear to be multiple and repeatable studies that show that current polar bear population is even declining.

The author also says that hurricanes will be more powerful in the future due to global warming and multiple scientists have come out against that hypothesis. Once again, it does not appear that the facts support that claim.

READ MORE

Smog may speed up global warming

Australian Broadcasting Corporation – July 26, 2007

This article details a study that was published in Nature. The study points out that plants absorb less CO2 if they are in the presence of ozone. Since ozone is a major pollutant in some parts of the world, this gas will reduce the ability to balance the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Once again, we are reminded that we do not totally understand the many influences on our environment and this calls into question any future predictions as well as challenges any suggestions on the solution to a climatic change.

We really need to make science a bigger priority in our world wide budgets. More funding and more effort is required to guide us.

READ MORE

South Africa: Marion Island Clue to Global Warming Threat

allAfrica.com – August 8, 2007

An extremely interesting article even though I think the title is making a basic claim that is not proven by the article!

I have written about the adaptability of species on this site before (see here and here and here). I found this article to have a unique spin. I am not convinced though that this article is about the dangers of global warming or the dangers of man introducing new species into another environment.  Wikipedia has a great write-up and other links on the dangers of species invasion and you may want to do some background reading there as well as check out their references.

READ MORE