Archive for June, 2007

Estimated Rate of Global Warming is Tripled in Recent Study

Posted in sustainability on June 5, 2007 by theseep

On June 3, The Independent revealed the results of a study published on May 22 in the National Academy of Sciences that has reassessed the rate of CO2 emissions and global warming. It shows that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is three times higher than the numbers used to generate the frightening forecasts by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the 1990’s. The growth of CO2 emissions has risen from 1.1% per year for 1990-1999 to >3% per year for 2000-2004. 73% of these global emissions is now from developing countries such as China and India, even though they only account for 23% of cumulative global emissions since the mid 18th century. The full PDF file can be read here.
This study is a cooperation of many respected institutions including Stanford’s Department of Global Ecology, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany, The British Antarctic Survey, The University of East Anglia in the U.K., The Laboratorie des Sciences du Climate et del’Environnement in France, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Australia’s Global Carbon Project out of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and was edited by a Harvard Researcher! The authors have declared no conflict of interest, meaning that the information presented is as objective as possible and they have no connections with special interest groups either for or against the climate change argument.

The implications of this are horrifying. If we have tripled our CO2 emissions in the past 10 years, despite the majority of 1st world nations (with the exception of Australia and the U.S.) participating in the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gases, we are heading for disaster much faster than previously anticipated. There are more and more reports of findings indicating accelerating global warming and loss of polar ice, and this report supports those observations from a greenhouse gas perspective. Are China and India to blame? Partially. But so are we. Can you really blame the Chinese people for each wanting to have their own refrigerator and a car? They are simply trying to improve their lives and follow our Western culture’s great example of excess and waste.
Our consumption here in the U.S. of cheap, mass produced goods made overseas has directly lead to jumpstarting the Chinese economy. That places the blame partially on us. Combined with the fact that we have some of the most advanced science, the best technology and the most money to begin an aggressive fight against climate change yet we have remained inert and impotent, allowing special interest groups and oil companies to dictate our energy policies and only continuing to contribute to the problem. Europe is trying to answer the call to combat climate change. We, the most powerful, richest, and supposedly most advanced society the world has ever seen, are doing next to nothing. We are part of the problem, we have catalyzed and are supporting changes in other countries that are the future of the problem, and we have the power to slow and maybe even stop the problem. That is, if we choose to stand up, grow up, and face our global climate crisis.

Write your representatives and congressmen, demand a change in energy infrastructure as well as our trade policies. If we continue to buy toxic, mass produced, plasticized junk from overseas, we will continue to support the rapid and irresponsible development of countries like China and India. If we demand and buy responsibly made local goods, we put money, jobs, and power back into our own hands.

via Treehugger and The Independent

Gravitational Vortex Micro-Hydro Generator is Fish Friendly

Posted in green energy, sustainability on June 5, 2007 by theseep

An Australian engineer by the name of Franz Zotlöterer inadvertently discovered an efficient way to harness water power in his quest to aerate and improve water quality. It seems that by diverting a bit of a stream into a circular basin, with as little as 0.7 meters of drop, you can produce power with up to 80% efficiency. The prototype is larger and somewhat less efficient, but it does demonstrate that it works with relatively low turbine speeds which will aerate the water well and is safe for fish swimming upstream. This seems to be an excellent alternative to standard micro-hydro generators which generally require larger drops to be efficient (the patent is already in the mail).

via Treehugger

Bush Administration Delays Climate Change Talks by Planning New Ones

Posted in politics on June 1, 2007 by theseep

On Thursday George Bush called for a series of meetings on climate change and global emissions to begin this fall involving 15 of the greatest greenhouse gas emitting countries. Bush wants to set up long-term goals for greenhouse gas emissions by the end of next year then allow each country to individually determine how they will reach these goals.
Wow, that sounds like an amazing offer Mr. President, you must be really, really concerned about the environment to go to all that trouble to be so generous as to propose a series of meetings on the subject. What an innovator.
Here’s the problem – THE MEETINGS HAVE ALREADY BEEN HAPPENING! The U.S. administration has refused to take seriously the U.N. Panel on Climate Change meetings that have already taken place and this announcement comes just a week before the G-8 summit, a major topic of which will be climate change. All this proposal does is allow Bush to have a media hype that he is concerned and has a plan about the environment when in reality he now has an excuse to dismiss the proposals for emissions reductions already authored by all of the other world superpowers. Our administration is simply trying to delay any commitment to action. We are one of two major nations not to have ratified the Kyoto protocols in 1997 and we continue to snub our noses at the remainder of the civilized world in regard to climate change.
This stance is shortsighted, greedy, bullish, childish, and irresponsible. Write your senators and congresspeople urging our country to join the rest of the civilized world in the fight against climate change!
via CNN