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

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

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

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

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