By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. - A historic deal has been struck in Paris to reduce carbon emissions and reduce global warming, with a ceiling of 2 degrees centigrade and a goal of 1.5C. 2015 has been the hottest year on record.
In the past few years, science has lurched closer to envisioning habitable Mars, though at the moment estimates for creating breathable oxygen range from hundreds to 100,000 years in the future, the soil is currently toxic to astronauts, and travel is so unwieldy that scientists have proposed "printing" humans on Mars. Meanwhile, I wondered why not make Earth's increasingly inhospitable deserts greener.[more inside]
Building a stove is simple. Building a good stove is hard. Building a good, cheap stove can drive an engineer crazy
Ultra-prolonged activation of CO2-sensing neurons disorients mosquitoes. It’s hard to hide from a hungry mosquito: the insects home in on their human targets by detecting body heat, carbon dioxide, and odors. Repellents containing DEET ward off mosquitoes and other bugs, but until recently (pdf) no one knew why. Some research indicated that mosquitoes smell and avoid the insect repellent DEET. (pdf) Armed with the knowledge that carbon dioxide (CO2) present in exhaled air is the most important sensory cue for female blood-feeding mosquitoes.... [more inside]
Joseph Tomaras reflects on the Mauna Loa data and concludes that the main tasks of the moment are neither political nor economic, but ethical or moral. [more inside]
Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
Three startup companies led by prominent scientists are working on new technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These scientists have launched start-up companies and attracted well-to-do investors — most notably Bill Gates — along with venture capital and, most recently, the attention of Wall Street. [more inside]
Carbon dioxide emissions increased by the largest amount on record in 2010, exceeding the worst case scenario outlined by the IPCC four years ago.
One of the most dangerous places on Earth, Lake Nyos in northwestern Cameroon sits atop a volcanic source. Early evening Aug. 21, 1986, a cloud of deadly CO2 erupted from the lake surface, killing an estimated 1,700 people and 3,000 cattle.. Now people are trying to tame it (Via NucleophilicAttack via Metachat)
sandbag.org.uk is a not-for-profit website that allows members to buy up surplus "permits to pollute" that form the currency of the European Union's emissions trading scheme (or EU ETSs). Members can then "retire" them so that they cannot continue to be traded between the industrial polluters - cement, steel and car manufacturers etc - forced by EU regulation to operate within the system. "I suppose it's a bit like burning money in front of someone so they can't spend it on something bad," says the founder, Bryony Worthington, to the Guardian. [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.
New maps show US fossil fuel emissions aren't where we thought they were. The Vulcan Project collects more accurate data at a higher resolution than previous studies. Explanatory video. via [more inside]
The University of Columbias Earth Institute has successfully demonstrated carbon dioxide air capturing. As to what could be done with the carbon dioxide after, the IPCC has some ideas (pdf). Unfortunately they don't state how much energy these machines consume or how expensive (toxic, etc.) their prodction is going to be.
Climate change a 'questionable truth'. Margaret Wente looks beyond the hysteria surrounding the climate change debate. Hysteria her own newspaper has been contributing to.
CO2 'highest for 650,000 years' Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years. (Found via Treehugger) Sounds like it's time to buy that lovely oceanfront property in Kansas.