Alaska is Having Its Hottest Year Since Records Began - "After a spring that was a full ten degrees hotter than normal, the northern state is on track for the most sweltering year on record." (via) [more inside]
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped. [more inside]
The prospects of keeping climate change below that (2-degree goal) are fading away. Scientists track carbon pollution both by monitoring what comes out of factories and what winds up in the atmosphere. Both are rising at rates faster than worst-case scenarios that climate scientists used in their most recent international projections.
Alain Goeppert, G. K. Surya Prakash, chemistry Nobel Laureate George A. Olah and colleagues have co-authored a paper (doi: 10.1021/ja2100005) in the Journal of the American Chemical Society describing a novel, cheap material that scrubs CO2 from ambient air, even at the very low concentrations of the atmosphere. The material is easily manufactured, and carbon captured is readily removed from the polymer, allowing recycling of the polymer and sequestration of the carbon. The researchers, co-authors of Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy regard this as more than simply a technique for decreasing the carbon emissions of industrial processes and fossil-fuel burning machines, but as possibly an energy-carrier, by using the "catalytic hydrogenation of CO2 with H2 where the hydrogen has been obtained from water electrolysis (wiki). Articles: ScienceDaily, SciAm.
With the climate bill dead and blame portioned, Ezra Klein asks what happens when congress fails? He concludes that "regulations to reduce carbon emissions are alive and well. The Environmental Protection Agency can attack carbon as a pollutant, and the Obama administration's announcement that efforts to hamstring the EPA will be vetoed suggests that they mean to do exactly that." [more inside]
Sucking CO2 out of the air has long been a holy grail for solving global warming; Richard Branson has promised $25m to anyone who succeeds. Of course it's already been done, but the amount of energy required doesn't make it net carbon positive. Now a team in Arizona, led by Klaus Lacknet under the company of Global Research Technologies, says it has made a significant breakthrough that massively reduces the amount of energy required - the "project has reached the stage where it is quite clear we can do it." The planned prototype, which will be finished in two years, will cost $200,000 USD, be smaller than a shipping container and be capable of eliminating around 1 ton of CO2. Even if it works many hurdles remain but it portends a cooler future for air-capture technology.
Live, From Outer Space: rural fires [1, 2], The Haze in China [1 ,2, 3] and its movement, aerosols, and the brothers carbon monoxide [a photochemical smog agent] and carbon dioxide.