ready, aim …

Atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen would like to save the world and darken your day. He proposes in this month’s journal Climatic Change that to screen ourselves from global warming, humans could use heavy artillery to lob huge explosive shells laden with sulphate particles high into the stratosphere.

A potent mix of pollutants would scatter the incoming sublight and bounce more sunbeams back into space. Bingo, you’d lower the rate of global warming and give the fossil-fuel industries more reason to push hydrocarbons. Sun Herald (Australia) 6 Aug 2006 – screencopy held by this website

the hanging gardens of Richmond

Christine Berry and Mike Morris were building a beautiful home in Richmond with a focus of getting as much sunlight into the house as possible. Just one problem.

“The site was blighted by a three-storey block of flats,” says Ms Berry.

How she and her architect husband solved the problem gives a visionary clue as to how the city of Melbourne will cope with climate change, the death of its trees and higher-density living.

They turned the rear wall of their courtyard into an eight-metre garden of native grasses and ferns. Sydney Morning Herald 30 Aug 2009 – image held by website

the appliances are taking over!

Your refrigerator could soon be helping to cool the planet as well as your food. A bar fridge built by the CSIRO has the ability to communicate with other refrigerators.

The applicances do not gossip about what kind of milk you have bought, but exchange data that could help balance energy usage acros the day and, ultimately, reduce the need for power stations, said a CSIRO research scientist, Geoff James.

Dr James said the same energy-levelling strategy could be applied to other home appliances that involve some discretion about when power is and is not used, such as water heaters and air-conditioners, the other big domestic power hogs.

Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2008 – screen copy held by this website

the idea that launched a thousand ships!

Another way to reflect more sunlight back into space is to increase reflectivity of the world’s marine clouds, which cover a quarter of the ocean’s surface.

John Latham and Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh have proposed wind-powered yachts that would spray seawater droplets into the air to produce more clouds.

Latham says that about a thousand of these vessels would be needed to make the plan effective, and that they should be deployed in the southern oceans, where most reflective marine stratocumulus clouds are.

But more testing is necessary to better understand the ecological and meteorological consequences. Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011

the incredible shrinking Christmas tree!

Mark Doggett, of Environment Victoria, says the key to a sustainable Christmas is to substitute “greener” alternatives into our celebrations.

And the best place to start might be with the greenest of all traditional symbols – the tree. The debate is about whether pine or plastic Christmas trees are better for the environment. According to Mr Doggett, the answer is neither.

“But there is no reason you can’t use a potted plant, which you can take outside after Christmas,” he says.

The Sunday age, 9 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

freedom questioned

An emotional public debate is currently raging in Germany on whether to do away with a “national icon” – driving as fast as you can on the country’s autobahn or motorways

…a growing number of Germans are now questioning this “freedom”, arguing that it makes no sense calling for measures to curb global warming in other countries while at home motorists can effortlessly continue spewing large amounts of C02 into the atmosphere at the speeds they are allowed to travel

…the head of Germany’s Federal Environmental Office, Andreas Troge, says a speed limit of 120 km/h on motorways “costs nothing and would immediately reduce C02 emissions by 2.5 million tonnes per year”.

The Age (Australia), 17 Nov 2007

saving the planet, one snip at a time!

scissorsSaving the planet one house at a time. Geoff Strong meets four families doing their bit.

While the world has argued in Bali about how to stem climate change, back home ordinary people are making adjustments to ordinary lives. Some have cut back on eletricity use with more efficient appliances and insulation.

But in response to questions from the Age about how householders are stemming water use and greenhouse gas production, one of the most forthright came from the mother of a family of six: “What we did to save the environment was – my husband had a vasectomy.”
The Age (Australia), 17 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

ClimateCam is watching you!

big_brother_eyeA huge electronic billboard in the city square telling residents exactly how much greenhouse gas they have produced in the past hour. Sounds a little futuristic? Not if you live in Newcastle.

ClimateCam, the world’s first greenhouse gas speedometer, displays electricity consumption information collected from the 15 substations that supply homes and businesses in the Newcastle local government area. The council now believes Newcastle has been established as an international testing ground for climate solutions.

“We realise that the climate change issue is just so big and we are so, in Australia, far behind the rest of the world that we need to move very, very quickly if we’re going to catch up and have access to the huge economic opportunity that we foresee is coming with the implementation of climate solutions,” city energy and resource manager of Newcastle City Council, Peter Dormand says.
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Oct 2007

sacrilege!

kangarooSkippy could soon be on the menu for the climate change-conscious if they take note of a report showing a switch from beef to kangaroo could help cut greenhouse gases.

A report by the director of the sustainability centre at the University of NSW, Mark Diesendorf, says a 30 per cent reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is achievable but would need both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and a change of diet.

“Beef consumption is chosen in this measure because it is responsible for the biggest share of livestock-related methane emissions,” the report says. “This measure could be reduced by shifting to kangaroo meat and/or lower-meat diets.”
The Age (Australia), 11 Oct 2007

Yes, but what does it sound like?

How our musos (musicians) are saving the planet.

“We recorded our first EP in an old converted Bedford fire engine truck run on vege oil. We drove down to the southern tip of Tassie and found a beautiful little bay surrounded by forest. During recording, the computers, mikes and amps were powered by solar panels and a wind generator on the roof of the truck. Those recordings went on to score us a record deal.”Sydney Morning Herald 30 Mar 2007 – screen copy held by this website

happiness is a long hot bubble bath

bubble_bathThe latest geoengineering scheme involves turning the world’s oceans into a giant bubble bath, with hundreds of millions of tiny bubbles pumped into the seas. This would increase the water’s reflectivity and bring down ocean temperatures, according to Harvard University physicist Russell Seitz.

As the creative physicist said to the assembled crowd at an international meeting on geoengineering research: “Since water covers most of the earth, don’t dim the sun…. Brighten the water.” CBS News, 30 Mar 2010

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

save the whales!

whaleSouthern Ocean sperm whales have emerged as an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,cars each year thanks to their faeces, a study has found. The cetaceans have been previously fingered as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) the most common grrenhouse gas. The study is lead authored by Trish Lavery of the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University at Adelaide.Daily Telegraph, 16 Jun 2010

to plant, or not to plant?

Plant trees to soak up carbon dioxide – why not? But it’s more complicated than it sounds. As a meeting of the American Geophysical Union heard in December, computer models show that trees can cool the planet through photosynthesis, but only in the tropics.

The problem is that forests are dark and absorb sunlight, thereby raising the planet’s temperature. Light-coloured landscapes reflect sunlight and cool things down. In the United States and Europe, “the climate benefits of planting will be nearly zero”, according to American ecologist Govindasamy Bala. In the seasonally snow-covered regions at higher latitudes, “planting trees could be actually counter-productive”.

Other left field ideas include waiting for the next ice age, though best guesses put it at 40,000 years away.

The Sunday Age, 18 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

ban camels!

camel_in_carAn Australian government report has proposed killing many of the country’s estimated 1.2 million wild camels as a climate change solution.It is considering awarding carbon credits for culling the non-native camels, which are widely considered an ecological and an agricultural pest.

Apparently, a camel produces an estimated 100 pounds of methane a year, which is roughly equivalent to 1.1 tons of carbon dioxide. Methane is twenty times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Almost half of all global methane emissions come from belching livestock, mainly cows but also pigs, goats, sheep – and camels.
Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011

see also – action plan

air conditioners to the rescue!

air_cond
Our innovative approach allows for presumably random variation in the distribution of daily temperatures to affect birth rates up to 24 months into the future.

We find that additional days above 80 °F cause a large decline in birth rates approximately 8 to 10 months later. The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century.

…As an added cost, climate change will shift even more births to the summer months when third trimester exposure to dangerously high temperatures increases. Based on our analysis of historical changes in the temperature-fertility relationship, we conclude air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of climate change.
The National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 21681, Issued in October 2015

thanks to ddh

Let them all out?

There is no population more captive to the effects of global warming than the incarcerated. A new study from Daniel W. E. Holt of the Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law explains over 144 pages what the climate-change toll truly is on the two-million-plus bodies caged in our prison system.

“The correctional sector may be alone in facing the prospect of viable constitutional litigation if it does not effectively adapt to the changing climate,” reads the report. The legal and fatal consequences of failing to adapt to climate change and overheating prisons are yet more rationale for reducing the incarcerated population, reads the report.
Mother Jones: Environment, 2 Oct 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

stirring the pot

Recently, the scientific entrepreneur Nathan Myhrvold, whose company Intellectual Ventures has invested in several geoengineering ideas, said that we could cool the earth by stirring the seas. He has proposed deploying a million plastic tubes, each about a hundred metres long, to roil the water, which would help it trap more CO2.

“The ocean is this giant heat sink,’’ he told me. “But it is very cold. The bottom is nearly freezing. If you just stirred the ocean more, you could absorb the excess CO2 and keep the planet cold.”

The New Yorker, 14 May 2012

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

this isn’t exactly new

US Scientists are to conduct widespread trials of a new farming technique called adaptive multi-paddock grazing and which moves herds every 3 days. This helps to trap carbon dioxide from the air in the plant and in the soil. work by Dr Richard Teague at Texas A&M University that found that adaptive multi-paddock grazing could sequester an additional 30 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare over 10 years compared to conventional grazing.
Daily Mail (UK), 17 Feb 2015

simple!

According to research published today in the journal Science, global warming can be limited to 1.3 degrees above the pre-industrial levels by 2060 – less than the 2 degree rise that UN climate scientists warn is likely to trigger dangerous tipping points, The catch? We can’t build any new carbon dioxide-emitting power station or cars.
The Age (Australia), 10 Sep 2010

insect taxi service

Now a new study by Durham University shows human beings could help by transporting the insects to cooler climes in the south. The researchers caught the Marbled White and Small Skipper butterflies in North Yorkshire and transported them in soft cages to safe areas in County Durham and Northumberland.

Eight years later the research, published in Conservation Letters, showed both species thriving in their new home. Professor Brian Huntley from Durham University said other species at risk of climate change could also be moved. The Telegraph (UK), 18 Feb 2009

Britain’s finest minds put their noses to the grindstone

Britain’s finest scientific minds have turned their attention to a problem that they claim is threatening the future of the planet – farm animal flatulence.

Experts at the Rrowett Research Institute in Aberdeen say the average cow contributes as much to global warming as a family car that travels 12,ooo miles. The scientists are now trying to produce new foodstuffs that result in livestock producing less methane.The Telegraph (UK), 20 Mar 2008

paying people to eat

Lord Stern, the former government advisor on climate change, yesterday predicted that a mechanism would be established to “pay the poor to eat” as part of efforts to cope with global warming. Increases in prices of food staples sparked riots on three continents in recent weeks and have in part been blamed on the effects of global warming.

Lord Stern’s 2006 report on the economic impact of climate change provided an apocalyptic view of a warming planet. At an energy industry summit yesterday the former head of the government economic service said he would be even more pessimistic if he was writing his report today. He said: “I was too reticent.”
The Telegraph (UK), 17 Apr 2008

CO2 scrubber

A group of scientists are devising a ‘CO2 scrubber’ which they claim will capture one tonne of CO2 from the air every day, about the same per passenger as a flight from London to New York, reducing the warming effect of greenhouse gases produced each year.

The ‘scrubber’ devices – small enough to fit inside a shipping container – would need to be produced in their millions to soak up human carbon emissions, and the CO2 trapped would still need to be disposed of. The prototype will cost about £100,000 and take about two years to construct at a laboratory in Tucson, Arizona.
The Telegraph (UK), 1 Jun 2008

a holiday used to be just a holiday

The man who inspired a generation of backpackers to see the world has claimed that travelling is environmentally destructive. Mark Ellingham, the founder the Rough Guide series of books, is urging holidaymakers to cut down on foreign flights.

He wants to stop the trend for “binge flying” and is calling for green taxes on overseas plane trips. He added:”Balancing all the positives and negatives, I’m not convinced there is such a thing as a ‘responsible’ or ‘ethical’ holiday.”

The Telegraph (UK), 7 May 2007

wow, I’m worth 30,000 pounds!

A lower birth rate would help cut greenhouse gas emissions, a report released today claims. Each Briton uses nearly 750 tonnes of CO2 in a lifetime, equivalent to 620 return flights between London and New York, the Optimum Population Trust warns.

Based on a cost of 42.50 pounds per tonne of CO2, the report estimates that the price for the climate of each new person over their lifetime is roughly 30,000 pounds. The bill for the extra 10 million people projected for the UK by 2074 would reach more than 300 billion pounds.

The report, called A Population-Based Climate Strategy, says: ”The most effective personal climate change strategy is limiting the number of children one has. The most effective national and global climate change strategy is limiting the size of the population.”
The Telegraph (UK), 7 May 2007

tap turned off

Water meters could be imposed on thousands of families under emergency powers brought on by the current threat of drought and global warming, the Government said yesterday. Elliot Morley, the environment minister, said water companies in the driest areas could soon apply to install compulsory meters in homes in order to cut consumption.The Telegraph (UK), 4 Jul 2005

don’t leave home without it!

A limit could be imposed on the carbon each person pumps into the atmosphere under proposals being considered by the Government to combat global warming.

A credit card-style trading system would ensure that people pay for air travel, electricity, gas and petrol with carbon rations as well as cash, under the plans to be floated today by David Miliband, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a speech to the Audit Commission. The Independent, 19/7/06

an outsized carbon paw print

Enlightened animal lovers across the United States face a quandary: how to pamper beloved pets without adding to global warming or creating an outsized carbon paw print?

Answers for the ecologically-aware pet owner were on offer at the Going Green With Pets conference at Manhattan’s tony Metropolitan Dog Club, with pointers on everything from whipping up biodegradable cat litter to choosing the best organic shampoo for one’s Lhasa Apso.

The must-read primer for the environmentally aware pet owner is Eco-Dog, published in March and already in its second printing. The book is a how-to on making Fido a meal consisting of just rice and beans or how to convert a faded pair of blue jeans into a dog bed.The Age (Australia), 26 Jun 2008

slow boat to ….?

In 2007, Peter Flynn, the Poole Chair in Management for Engineers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, devised a US$50-billion contingency plan involving 8,000 barges that would manipulate the Atlantic conveyor, the currents of water which help ensure Northern Europe’s mild climate.

Flynn’s army of barges would maintain that mild climate in the face of global warming changing the currents and causing a deep freeze to fall over Northern Europe. The barges would float into position every fall, spraying water into the air to form ice and then pumping salt water over top and trapping it in the ice.

Come the spring, the barges would pour more water over the ice, melting it and creating a vast amount of cold, salt water that would sink, adding to and strengthening the deep current.
National Observer, 20 May 2015

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

hero of the global warming movement!

Meet David Keith. He’s a professor of physics and public policy at Harvard University. He’s a Canadian who won Canada’s national physics prize exam and who Time Magazine named one of their Heroes of the Environment in 2009. Keith sounds like — must be — a rational guy with credentials like that, right? But consider Keith’s plan to tackle climate change.

He wants to send two jets 20 kilometres up above the Earth’s surface to spray a fine layer of sulfuric acid, approximately one million tons of it, blanketing the global atmosphere.

According to an article on Smithsonian.com, which recently featured Keith, that layer of sulfuric acid would be enough to reflect back one per cent of the sun’s rays, deflecting radiation and lowering the global temperature.

The Smithsonian celebrated Keith in mid-May at its third annual The Future is Here Festival.
National Observer, 20 May 2015

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

pipe dreams?

Today James Lovelock, of Green College, Oxford University, outlines an emergency way to stimulate the Earth to cure itself with Chris Rapley, former head of the British Antarctic Survey who is now the director of the Science Museum, London.

They propose that vertical pipes some 10 metres across be placed in the ocean, such that wave motion would pump up cool water from 100-200 metres depth to the surface, moving nutrient-rich waters in the depths to mix with the relatively barren warm waters at the ocean surface.

This would fertilise algae in the surface waters and encourage them to bloom, absorbing carbon dioxide greenhouse gas while also releasing a chemical called dimethyl sulphide that is know to seed sunlight reflecting clouds.

One version of the scheme sees around 10,000 pipes in the Gulf of Mexico, they told The Daily Telegraph.The Telegraph (UK), 26 Sep 2007

why didn’t someone think of this before?

We don’t have to relinquish our cars, move to the woods, and get off the grid to conquer climate change. The real solution is simple and easy: eat plants.

Though the figures vary, World Bank scientists have attributed up to 51 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to the livestock industry.

The cows, pigs, chickens and other animals raised for food across the globe — and the industry of which they’re a part — contribute more to rising temperatures and oceans than all the planes, cars, trucks, boats and trains in the world. Huffington Post, 1 Dec 2014

“…for just a few billion dollars…”

The most prominent geoengineering proposal is to spray minute reflective particles into the atmosphere. These are designed to act as a “global shadecloth” by blocking a small percentage of sunlight from warming the Earth.

Scientists in the US and UK are developing this technology, and it looks feasible. For just a few billion dollars it may be possible to inject these particles into the sky in an attempt to cool the planet.
Newcastle Herald, 4 Dec 2013

hope springs eternal

Research: Cut Alcohol Consumption to Help Reduce Climate Change. “Simply put, if everyone cut down their alcohol consumption they could help reduce climate change – although that is on condition they do not drink Coca Cola instead or spend the money on going to the cinema for instance,” said Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network.
Environmental Leader, 15 Mar 2007

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

a shovel ready project

Under proposals from the Cquestrate project, they aim to reduce ocean acidity while increasingly absorbing CO2 by converting limestone into lime, thereby adding the lime to seawater. Cquestrate, proposed by Tim Kruger, a former management consultant.

While the idea is good in theory, Mr Kruger added that in order for it to properly work, the world would need to mine and process about 10 cubic kilometres of limestone each year to soak up all the emissions the world produces. The CO2 resulting from the lime production would also have to be captured and buried at source.
The Telegraph (UK), 6 Jul 2009

concrete proposal

The Royal Horticultural Society has launched a campaign to encourage home owners to think twice about paving over their front gardens. Replacing foliage with hard surfaces prevents rainwater soaking into the ground and increases the risk of flash flooding.

As global warming becomes more of a problem, gardens are necessary to absorb heat, paricularly in densely populated areas, the RHS said.
The Telegraph (UK), 16 Feb 2007

china cups lead the fight against climate change!

Church of England bishops should abandon their draughty historic palaces and gas-guzzling cars to counter global warming, one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists said yesterday.

Sir John Houghton, the former chief executive of the Met Office and the first chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that the Church was breaking the Ten Commandments if it failed to take a moral lead.

His call to church leaders came as the Christian development agency, Tearfund, published guidleines for churches on how to be more green. They included installing wind turbines and solar panels on homes, and using china rather than plastic cups for after-church coffee. The Telegraph (UK) 3 Feb 2007

happy workers

We started to think about . . . the things . . . we do economically which have alignment with sustainable outcomes. One is the environment and one is safety, Mr Hawker said. IAG employees started to print on both sides of paper, recycle paper, use the internet to read information rather than printing documents, and the number of documents in branches was slashed from 52 to 4.

In addition to helping the environment, Mr Hawker said employees were happier than ever.
Sydney Morning Herald, 27/9/03

great news….watch the football instead!

Research confirms that highly manicured lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up. Grass lawns soak up carbon dioxide, which is stored in the soil after the cut grass rots and so, like trees, they are considered good for the planet.

But Dr Chuanhui Gu of Appalachian State University in the US says that once the energy expended by mowing, fertiliser use and watering are taken into account, lawns actually produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up.
The Independent, 18 Jan 2015

for new category – action plan

how many people is too many people?

A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences looked at the link between policies that help women plan pregnancies and family size and global emissions (the study also looked at aging and urbanization trends).

The researchers predicted that lower population growth could provide benefits equivalent to between 16 and 29 percent of the emissions reduction needed to avoid a 2 degrees Celsius warming by 2050, the warning line set by international scientists.
The Atlantic, 1 Nov 2014

depends on who your friends, relatives and colleagues are

All those who fail to tackle the problems of pollution and climate change “will feel guilty on their deathbeds”, says a leading environmental campaigner. Mayer Hillman, formerly a fellow of the Policy Studies Institute, claims that there is now a broad consensus that travel by both road and air is pushing the planet towards “a situation which will become critical well before 2050”.

Describing climate change as an ethical issue and personal responsibility as a moral imperative, Hillman championed the imposition of an individual allowance for greenhouse-gas emissions, allowing those who are able to live with greater energy efficiency trading their surpluses. People without cars, for instance, might sell their allocation to people who wanted to travel more often.

Having given up flying on principle, he has been unable to visit friends, relatives and colleagues around the world, but says that the sacrifices are not as bad as they might seem.
The Telegraph (UK), 24 Jul 2004

flower miles warning

In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47% to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39% to 17,000 tons. Environmentalists warned that ‘flower miles’ could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes.

Andrew Sime, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said, “There are plenty of flowers that grow in Britain in the winter and don’t need to be hot-housed. “Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming.”
Daily Telegraph (UK), 10 Feb 2007

on yer bike, gov’ner!

“A new scientific finding in the journal Environmental Science & Technology shows that, counter to what most of us believe, driving a car causes more global warming pollution than flying the same distance in a plane.

The point that you probably wouldn’t take such long trips by car that you take by plane was not a part of the study and is an important matter to bring up as well.

Nonetheless, this study confirms again that driving is one of the leading ways humans cause global warming. Get out of your car and onto a bike or bus or subway or train today in order to help stop global warming.”
Clean Technica, 9 Aug 2010

you left something out – what about the cows?

“Many conscientious people are trying to help reduce global warming by driving more fuel-efficient cars and using energy-saving light bulbs. Although these measures help, science shows that going vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight global warming.

A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.

The most powerful step that we can take as individuals to avert global warming is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products.”
PETA website

now that’s “Sky Blue Thinking”!

Professor Flannery says climate change is happening so quickly that mankind may need to pump sulphur into the atmosphere to survive. The gas sulphur could be inserted into the earth’s stratosphere to keep out the sun’s rays and slow global warming, a process called global dimming.

“It would change the colour of the sky,” Professor Flannery said. “It’s the last resort that we have, it’s the last barrier to a climate collapse.” The gas sulphur could be inserted into the earth’s stratosphere to keep out the sun’s rays and slow global warming, a process called global dimming.

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 2008

charcoal on ebay

As well as a global dimming plan, Professor Flannery said carbon should be taken out of the air and converted into charcoal, then ploughed into farmers’ fields. Wealthy people should pay poor farmers in tropical zones to plant forests – possibly through a direct purchase scheme such as the eBay website.

And all conventional coal-fired power stations – which did not have “clean coal” technology – should be closed by 2030.
Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 2008