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The world’s rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan

The Independent – February 5, 2008

The plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean will not affect global warming. Since this site is dedicated to the discussion of global warming, I assume that my readers will be interested in this very disconcerting story on the massive amounts of plastic trash that is floating in the Pacific Ocean that resembles a “chunky soup” analogy. The density of the trash makes one feel like “it is everywhere.”

No Right Turn even discusses how this plastic can get into our food cycle and poison us!

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Green initiatives making only small dent

East Bay Business Times – January 30, 2008

There is no doubt that it is difficult to make a real difference in changing the waste of our precious resources. While Al Gore may say that it is simple to make a major impact, the sad reality is that it isn’t. It takes considerable effort to make a major change and this underpins how difficult it would be to reverse mankind’s creation of carbon dioxide.

Even the recent Superbowl has tried to be a more green endeavor but the results were probably less than satisfactory. They even planted a bunch of trees to offset the carbon production, even though the carbon lifecycle shows that this is not truly a long-term solution to the problem since the trees will eventually die and then release most of their carbon back to nature.

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The truth about recycling

Economist.com – June 7, 2007

True or False: Recycling is a waste of time as it costs more money to recycle than to produce as new.

FALSE!!

There are a lot of old wives tales regarding the benefits of recycling. When an old friend of mine sent me this article, I decided that it fit into the goal of this site to try to educate the world on global warming issues.

The short answer is that it is far more efficient to recycle materials than to create new.  The Economist has a long article on the subject.  I will cite a couple relevant quotes for this global warming audience but check out the full article.

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Compact fluorescent lamps

Wikipedia

My interest in this subject came from a lot of talk on the web about replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). Much of this talk is surely driven by the Answer the Call: Make The Commitment campaign that Live Earth is currently promoting. While I was confident that fluorescent was better at producing light for a given amount of energy coming from the socket, the mechanical engineer in me questioned that it was a free lunch.

It didn’t take long for me to start to realize that lunch costs money!

Let’s start with Wikipedia which is always a decent source but sometimes can’t be trusted so we will dig more lower in this post. You can read the full Wikipedia reference here but I will pull out a few key passages and then add my comments.

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Live Earth London’s Glacial Pacing

Washington Post – July 8, 2007

I tried to do the math on the big quote from this article and couldn’t make it work. John Buckley of Carbon Footprint says that it would take 100,000 trees to offset the effects of the Live Earth concert from this weekend. While I am not sure on his math, I am sure that it is a big number.

The problem with saying this is that I don’t think carbon offsets are effective. To say that you can buy your way out of pollution by planting trees is, at best, a short term consideration. The trees are barely carbon negative over their entire life and death, even though they can have a big impact in their first years of fast growing. 

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Getting personal on global warming

Newsday.com – April 29, 2007

Okay, I admit it.  I am a relative softy. I read this personal editorial by a college sophomore and I felt a little pride in our human race. Not that I agreed with everything she said (more on that later) but simply that she was being active in her community and doing her best to understand and communicate a position. I think if more people thought intensely on a certain issue and took a position, the world would be a better place.

All that being said, I would like to point out a few things in her otherwise excellent article that bother me.

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