Talking Topics is a list of issues that come up on the web or in books, the latest of which we will discuss at our meeting on the date given.
Just as diesel was promoted as an improvement over petrol for CO2 emissions that then turned out to hav negative health impacts, so too with wood burning stoves where the idea that wood is a renewable resource suggested that net CO2 emissions could be zero. The stoves are producing worse health effects in cities that motor transport and may not even be helping with Climate Change.
“A2F is a potentially game-changing technology, which if successfully scaled up will allow us to harness cheap, intermittent renewable electricity to drive synthesis of liquid fuels that are compatible with modern infrastructure and engines,” says Geoff Holmes of CE. “This offers an alternative to biofuels and a complement to electric vehicles in the effort to displace fossil fuels from transportation.”
The point to note is that some people are working on technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and seeing it as value added economic activity. There is hope.
‘Numbers numb, stories sell’
Our very own Oxford based Climate Outreach has provided the needed handbook on this: Communications Handbook for IPCC scientists
For minimal readers here is the essence of the advice:
- Be a confident communicator
- Talk about the real world, not abstract ideas
- Connect with what matters to your audience
- Tell a human story
- Lead with what you know
- Use the most effective visual communication
While the hole over Antarctica has been closing, the protective ozone is thinning at the lower latitudes, where the sunlight is stronger and billions of people live.
The message for us on Climate Change is that once we have messed up it can take a long time to clean up the mess and some good news on improvement in one area should not cover up bad news in other areas.
Here is a climate change problem with cryptocurrency BitCoin.
BitCoin uses proof of work to make it trustworthy, not human work but machine work that uses a lot of electricity. Criminals are not spending their own money on the electricity but the money of millions of computer users whose computers have been infected by a computer virus that makes the computer do work for the remote criminals.
They win all, you lose!
A new NASA study is one final nail in the coffin of the myth that natural gas is a climate solution, or a “bridge” from the dirtiest fossil fuels to low-carbon fuels like solar and wind.
NASA found that most of the huge rise in global methane emissions in the past decade is in fact from the fossil fuel industry–and that this rise is “substantially larger” than previously thought. And that means natural gas is, as many earlier studies have found, not a climate solution.
Given the reducing costs of solar and wind electricity generation, there is no excuse to start fracking for gas. There should be no new developments, and existing fracking should be decommissioned as soon as possible.
More than a quarter of the planet’s surface could become significantly drier if global temperatures rise 2C above pre-industrial levels, scientists predict.
This suggests that we have to move to non-CO2 emitting energy sources as soon as possible, and not waste time on any further developments of fossil fuel extraction.
Jeremy Mathis: The Arctic has traditionally been the refrigerator to the planet, but the door of the refrigerator has been left open.
Jeremy Mathis, head of NOAA’s Arctic research program: 2017 continued to show us we are on this deepening trend where the Arctic is a very different place than it was even a decade ago.
Changes that would in the past have happened over thousands of years now happen over decades. We need solutions to be implemented.
Sand shortage? Those deserts have the wrong kind of sand! Climate change is our biggest problem, but there are lots of others.
Sand seems like a limitless resource, but mounting evidence suggests this is far from the case.
“In the past year there have been hundreds of people murdered because of conflicts between sand mafias,” says Torres.
We are unlikely to completely run out of sand, but quite aside from the diminishing stocks the devastating impacts of sand mining mean this is no longer something that can continue unchecked.
Hopefully, this is the tipping point in changing our ways for the better. This from a financial investment firm.
A widely-used yearly benchmarking study — the Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) from the financial firm Lazard Ltd. — reached this stunning conclusion: In many regions “the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear.”
Even fracking now has limited time, only because we have still not developed enough storage capacity to smooth out renewable energy fluctuations. That will change rapidly.