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Ethanol’s Grocery Bill

Very good article in today’s Wall Street Journal regarding the use of ethanol and how it costs a great deal to add it to our liquid fuel supply.  The article points out that depending on the technique used to create ethanol, it adds 5%-34% more greenhouse gas to the environment than pure petroleum.

There is also a case to be made that there is pressure put on food prices due to ethanol production as well.

I am not totally against using ethanol as an additive. I think there is some advantage to keeping the market alive and viable to spur development of new techniques of creating the liquid and new crop energy sources other than corn.

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One last chance to save mankind

Here is an excellent interview with famed scientist James Lovelock.  Dr. Lovelock is best known for formulating the controversial Gaia hypothesis in the 1970s, which states that organisms interact with and regulate Earth’s surface and atmosphere. Later this year he will travel to space as Richard Branson’s guest aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

If you read this site often, you know that I really don’t like carbon trading.  I don’t think it will help solve any problems and it is only a way to tax people and push industries into doom.  Dr. Lovelock appears to agree with me and he is a fairly strong supporter of the theory that global warming is man made. 

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As carbon market grows, law firms cash in

Boston Business Journal – May 16, 2008

In my opinion, this is wrong in so many ways that I can barely count all of the problems! As my frequent readers know, I rant against carbon trading schemes all the time, so much so that my fingers are starting to be bruised. I have yet to see one that makes sense to me and this story typifies many of the problems. (If you want to stay up to speed on all of my thoughts on this subject, subscribe to the feed for this site).

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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.

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Global Warming May Reduce Carbon Sink Capacity In Northern Forests

ScienceDaily – January 3, 2008

The prediction of what will happen as carbon dioxide increases in our atmosphere is based on many complicated assumptions. One of those assumptions is that the northern forests will continue to capture (or sink) CO2 in the same manner as before. We now have evidence that increasing temperatures reduces this sinking process meaning the models may be flawed and CO2 will accumulate at a faster rate.

According to the study, the warmth of spring and autumn play a significant role in the amount of carbon that is released and captured. In the spring, the fast growth of the forests sinks a great deal of carbon, this is accelerated with the warmer climate. However, the warmer autumn means that the decomposition rates stay higher during a time when the greenery is not growing quickly and thus is a net source of carbon.

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How the Oceans Once Ended Global Warming

Discovery News – December 26, 2007

Understanding the workings of our climate is incredibly difficult due to the large number of influences and combinations. Therefore, it is important to gain clues on this behavior by analyzing the past. In this case, scientists have studied the amounts of barite on the ocean floor and hypothesized that marine life increased during high levels of carbon dioxide and sequestered that carbon down to the ocean floor.

While this study does not conclusively prove causation of the end of a global warming period, it does create new scenarios that factor in the increase of marine life during a time of higher carbon dioxide. Many people have hypothesized that marine life would diminish in a climate of greater carbon dioxide but this study tends to suggest otherwise.

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North America Absorbing Carbon Dioxide At Surprisingly High Rate, Team Reports

Science Daily – October 20, 1998

I have been hesitant to talk about this study that is nearly 10 years old now but I have searched high and low and I cannot find a single reference that refutes the study.  In this study that occured from 1988-1992, it was found that the CO2 levels in the air decreased as the natural westerly flow moved air from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.  The theory is that the CO2 concentration on the West coast would be X, the generated CO2 production by US citizens would be Y, and the CO2 concentration on the East coast would be some level above X but probably below X+Y since some sinking of carbon would occur.

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Green light for carbon burial

NewScientist.com news service – February 17, 2007

This article deals with the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) by sequestering it underground. It is a fairly brief article without a lot of details on how this could be done, its costs, nor are the side effects adequately explored.

On 10 February, an amendment to international law came into force that allows the greenhouse gas to be buried beneath the sea floor. At the same time, a new study counters one of the main fears over carbon burial – that the gas will simply leak out again, to boost future global warming.

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Recognizing Forests’ Role in Climate Change

Union of Concerned Scientists – February 16, 2006

This article does a very good job of describing the role that forests play in the carbon cycle. The article describes the US forests and their role and current standing as carbon sinks. It makes a fairly strong argument of using increased forestation to reduce the threat of fossil fuel burning. The article also points out that in many parts of the world there is an effort in place to reduce forest size so that the land may be used for other purposes.

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