NASA has a pretty good website describing climate change. This graphic shows the rise of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere over 650,000 years. There are natural variations and cycles, which has caused climate to change over time. Those peaks and dips correspond with hot, normal, and cool periods over thousands of years, for example. But never before has there been an event like the one we are causing today. This spike in CO2 and other emissions has never happened in earth’s history.

Longtime followers know that - based on the evidence (i.e., first line, page 4) - it’s nearly impossible to stop or reverse this rise. So, I suppose, NASA’s page is a real-time recording of impending doom.


9 countries making the world’s environmental nightmare a reality

As long as climate change remains a low priority for world leaders, it will continue to affect the lives of millions of people through weather disasters and human devastation across the globe, particularly the most vulnerable developing countries, many of whom who aren’t even responsible for these staggering carbon emissions.

We took a closer look at the world’s top polluting countries and emitters of CO2, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the “promises” they have kept and broken to deal with an issue that continues to affect people the world over.

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Stunning false-color picture of the Cat’s Eye nebula shows haunting symmetries in its central region. Emissions from nitrogen atoms are represented by red color, and emissions from oxygen atoms are represented by green and blue colors.

A research pilot plant in Newcastle will trial world-first technology that turns carbon emissions into bricks and pavers for the construction industry.

The mineral carbonation technology copies and accelerates the earth’s own way of sinking carbon.

The University of Newcastle, chemical giant Orica and carbon innovation company GreenMag Group have spent six years researching how to permanently and safely dispose of carbon dioxide.

Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) will spend $9 million over the next four years establishing the pilot plant at the University of Newcastle.

MCi chief executive Marcus St John Dawe says the solid product could be turned into various things including building materials.

“We could be making millions of tonnes of bricks and pavers which really could be green products for the future,” he said.

He says the project is about permanently transforming carbon dioxide, not just storing it in the ground.

Orica chief executive Ian Smith says the technology will enable every power station in the world to capture carbon dioxide emissions and turn them into rock.

He says the company is already capturing some of its COemissions at its Kooragang Island plant.

“So this would enable, not just us as a company, but all the coal fired power stations around the world to be retrofitted so they can capture their CO2 off-take.

"It’s an alternative solution.

"If you look at just storing it underground that only works in certain geological formations.

"This can work wherever those power stations are.”  [x]

Americans Breathing Easier With Fewer Particulates In The Air

by Michael Keller

We may not have noticed it, but Americans are breathing a little easier thanks to a great story for the country’s air quality.

A Rice University study concludes that states are successfully reducing a harmful air pollutant called fine particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) in diameter, which can stay suspended in the atmosphere for weeks and has been linked to chronic and fatal diseases. 

In fact, the study found that state efforts have been so successful that most urban areas had already lowered PM2.5 to more stringent levels instituted in 2012 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The improvements are good enough to translate into Americans living slightly longer lives. 

“The trend across the country is that air quality is improving,” says Daniel Cohan, an atmospheric researcher and associate professor of environmental engineering. “Power plants are getting better at controlling emissions. There are more industrial controls to pollution. Cars are getting cleaner.”

Keep reading



C.J. Huff and Vicki Arroyo on weather disasters

It’s hard for most of us to understand diasaster and resiliency quite the way C.J. Huff (PopTech 2012) does. He is the superintendent of Joplin Schools. He was also on the job on May 22, 2011, when the infamous tornado ripped through his home town. At PopTech 2012 Huffrecently discussed the compelling resiliency in Joplin that followed the apocolyptic disaster. Some of those lessons seem particularly relevant in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. “It is about tapping into the time, talent and treasure of our community,” he said while describing Joplin’s model for rapid, healthy recovery.

Huff was joined on stage by Vicki Arroyo (PopTech 2012), the executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center of Georgetown University Law Center. Arroyo  studies how cities can better design and maintain infrastructure to withstand weather-related catastrophes, another pertinent topic following Sandy.

And in a recent interview with PopTech, Arroyo highlighted a major question lingering in Sandy’s wake. Why are there so many more weather-related disasters these days? “Can we please talk about what is happening?” Arroyo asked.

Arroyo told PopTech that she hopes Sandy will finally catalyze honest talk about the real problem. “More scientists are feeling comfortable that we are seeing more super storms that are very consistent with climate change. It is just happening sooner than we expected.”

That trend seems to make irrelevant the bickering about whether a single storm is attributable to global warming.  “When you heat something up, you’ve got more energy,” she said about increasing ocean temperatures. “I think we really have a wake up call here,” Arroyo said about Sandy. “We are living in a different world. We have got to get serious about reducing our emissions.”

Read more…

Photo: NASA

[B]oth parties see [global warming] as some kind of a bargaining chip, regardless of the ongoing damage being done to the environment. If either party really cared about jobs like they claim to, they would do something about the safety of those workers when they’re in the [coal] mines. Instead, they look the other way, as the coal industry flouts regulations and endangers its workers.

…If the politicians were honest, they would call this what it is: protecting the coal industry’s profits at the expense of workers and the planet… But as five and a half long years of nothing has proven, the Democrats won’t follow through on their promises to protect the environment – far from it. Environmental activists will have to keep building on the momentum that has been gathering for real action to stop climate change – the chief reason why Obama is finally proposing anything at all – and demand more than a garden hose against a planetary wildfire.