October, 2016

October 31, 2016


Getty Peter Cade

Getty Peter Cade

7 Ways to Power Your Home With Renewable Energy

By Avery Thompson

Unless you’re filthy rich, you’re probably always on the lookout for ways to save a couple bucks. One of the best ways to cut your monthly bills is by investing in renewable energy. Not from the power plant, but stuff you can scare up yourself.

Using renewable energy to power your home can reduce or completely eliminate your utility bills, and the tax incentives for installing renewables can make them even more cost effective. Here are seven different ways to power your home with renewable energy.

(Full Story)

October 30, 2016




The World Just Made A Major Shift Toward Renewable Energy

by Nick Visser

The world installed more new renewable energy last year than coal, as countries attempt to shift away from fossil fuels and take advantage of massive cost reductions in wind and solar technology.

More than half of all energy generation capacity added in 2015 came from renewable sources, as the world installed more than half a million solar panels a day and two wind turbines every hour, the International Energy Agency announced Tuesday.

(Full Story)

October 29, 2016


The Dutch just made a vacuum to suck pollution from the air

by Nathaniel Mott

Breathing polluted air can lead to heart disease, cancer, and other health issues that can take years off someone’s life. As the world lurches towards using energy sources that don’t release these harmful particles into the atmosphere, Dutch scientists revealed on Tuesday that they built a stopgap solution to the problem: A giant outdoor vacuum that filters pollution out of the air around it. This is the device that might help us live long enough to see clean energy take over the world.

(Full Story)

October 28, 2016


Charles Hyland/Provided

Charles Hyland/Provided

New model suggests scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere

by Blaine Friedlander

New Cornell research suggests an economically viable model to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to thwart runaway, point-of-no-return global warming.

The researchers propose using a “bioenergy-biochar system” that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in an environmental pinch, until other removal methods become economically feasible and in regions where other methods are impractical. Their work appeared in the Oct. 21 edition of Nature Communications.

(Full Story)

October 27, 2016


Why investor pressure is growing on oil and gas firms to tackle methane emissions

by Michael Holder

Methane, despite having a far more powerful global warming effect, often plays second fiddle to carbon dioxide when policymakers and businesses are focusing on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Certainly, CO2 makes up a larger proportion of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but methane traps heat 40 times more effectively as carbon dioxide and is thought to be responsible for around a quarter of global warming happening today.

(Full Story)

October 26, 2016


How crop waste can give it back to soil and keep the air clean too

The Times of India

NEW DELHI: US-based Brian Von Herzen and his team at Climate Foundation India believe that agricultural waste can be processed into not just something useful for farmers but also enrich the soil by putting back carbon into it.

Paddy straw and wheat residues are usually burned by farmers in Punjab and Haryana in the absence of affordable alternatives to dispose them of. Every year, in November and February , burning of agricultural residue in these states causes severe air pollution in Delhi.

(Full Story)

October 25, 2016


(Credit: Howard Aru)

(Credit: Howard Aru)

Freshwater aquaculture project targets climate change impacts

By Jonas Cullwick

A Freshwater Aquaculture Trials and Governance Project for Vanuatu was officially launched Monday by the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biodiversity, Matai Seremiah, at a ceremony at The Melanesian hotel in Port Vila aimed at combating the impacts of climate change.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Minister Seremiah, emphasized that the Republic of Vanuatu was particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and the country was ranked the most vulnerable country in the world to both geological and climate risks.

“The impacts of climate change affect our people, our prosperity and security. To combat the impacts of climate change on us we need to be active on many fronts,” he reminded attendance.

“We must continually seek to understand what climate change is doing to us and how we can adapt to the challenges that it presents us. We must learn more, enhance our skills and advance the way we are doing things,” he added.

(Full Story)

October 24, 2016


(Mark Mulville/The Buffalo News)

(Mark Mulville/The Buffalo News)

New refrigerant from Buffalo cools cars without heating the globe

by T.J. Pignataro

The air conditioner in your car will be changing in the next several years, no longer relying on the coolant that keeps you comfortable in summer.

Scientists believe that is good, because the coolant in most cars today threatens the environment when it gets into the air. In its place will be a new coolant, which is expected to reduce global warming.

In fact, at a global environmental conference last weekend in Kigali, Rwanda, more than 170 nations agreed to phase out refrigerants known as hydrofluorocarbons that contribute to climate change. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the deal “a monumental step forward.”

A new, environmentally friendlier coolant coming to millions of new cars in years ahead will have Buffalo roots.

(Full Story)

October 23, 2016


Exposed: The Climate Fallacy of 2100

By Robert Wilder, Daniel M. Kammen

If we do not plan, now, to limit carbon emissions beyond this century, we will foolishly raise the oceans dramatically for thousands of years.

It’s shocking for me (Robert) to accept that my home could be wiped out by greatly rising seas. That’s because I live on a hill north of San Diego, 45 feet above sea level and more than a mile inland from the coast. Equally shocking to me (Dan) is that the current coastline of my beloved Mendocino County, California, could largely disappear, a place where I spend weekends with my daughters exploring rivers that run inland, deep into wine country. These inundations won’t happen this century, but that is little solace. At the rate the world is going, land so dear to our hearts could slip under the sea and stay there for thousands of years.

(Full Story)

October 22, 2016


New copper catalyst could close the carbon cycle, making ethanol from atmospheric CO2

by Jessica Hall

In a quest to find a way to convert carbon dioxide into something useful, researchers from Oak Ridge National Labs in TN stumbled across an inexpensive, room-temperature catalyst for turning CO2 into ethanol. The new catalyst is made of copper nanoparticles, electroplated onto a substrate of vapor-deposited, nitrogen-doped graphene nanospikes, all atop a slice of n-type silicon semiconductor.

“We discovered somewhat by accident that this material worked,” said lead author Adam Rondinone. “We were trying to study the first step of a proposed reaction when we realized that the catalyst was doing the entire reaction on its own.”

(Full Story)

October 21, 2016


 Photograph: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Photograph: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

The gap between ambition and action in tackling global warming

by Sabine Fuss and Jan Minx

Sabine Fuss and Jan Minx: The world’s governments have agreed to ambitious climate goals. But if we are to hit our new targets, scientists and innovators need to move quickly to close the gap between hope and reality.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has been a big surprise to many. All countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, keeping the world “well below” 2°C or even at 1.5°C of warming. By including the 1.5°C target, the Agreement has become more ambitious than many observers had expected. And the party is still not over: against the odds, countries required less than a year for the Agreement to enter into force. This seems a triumph for climate diplomacy.

(Full Story)

October 20, 2016


Stop waiting for a big breakthrough on climate change. This is what we’ll get instead.

by Brad Plumer

Global warming can sometimes feel like this big, hopelessly intractable problem that no one’s doing much about. But the first two weeks of October have seen a genuinely impressive barrage of climate action around the world.

Consider what’s gone down so far:

(Full Story)

October 19, 2016




Nearly Cooked: What 400 Parts Per Million Of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Really Means

by Dr. Cara Augustenborg

“In the centuries to come, history books will likely look back on September 2016 as a major milestone for the world’s climate.”

Kahn was referring to news that in a month when we would expect to observe the lowest concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere over the year, the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 concentration remained over 400 parts per million (ppm).
To many, 400 ppm is just a number and this news appears insignificant, but to those who follow climate science 400 ppm is an ominous milestone. That number has risen exponentially since the Industrial Revolution, before which our atmosphere contained just 275 ppm of CO2.

(Full Story)

October 18, 2016


Breaking Ground on a Bold New Vision to Address Climate Change: Restoring North America’s Amazon

by P.J. Marshall

On November 4, the historic Paris Agreement for global action on climate change will enter into force, catalyzing collective action by governments, civil society organizations, and businesses to collaborate on building a 2°C future.

“Now we must move from words to deeds and put Paris into action,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We need all hands on deck—every part of society must be mobilized to reduce emissions and help communities adapt to inevitable climate impacts.”

(Full Story)

October 17, 2016


The world just took one of the biggest steps yet to fight global warming

by Brad Plumer

Climate change will never get solved in a single flourish. If the world’s nations are ever going to stop the planet from warming unbearably, they’ll have do so step by step, pushing down emissions across a dizzying variety of sectors and sources.

On Saturday, the world quietly took one of those steps — and it was a crucial one. In fact, this was one of the single biggest measures ever taken to address global warming.

(Full Story)

October 16, 2016


Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The UAE’s Clean Energy Sector: Opportunities Aplenty For Entrepreneurs

by Neil Petch

It has been one of the biggest stories of our age.

Our polluting technologies have been a key factor behind climate change, pumping excessive carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as we burn fossil fuels like oil and gas to get the necessary energy for our daily living needs. Meanwhile, our very reliance on these fossil fuels has meant they have become harder and more expensive to source. So we know we need energy to keep the lights on and we also know oil, gas and coal are finite resources that are causing a great deal of damage.

It’s for these reasons that the UAE has led the way in becoming an early adopter and leading country for promoting renewable energy sources.

(Full Story)

October 15, 2016


Clean Power Just Turned Back the Clock on Global Warming Gases

by Joe Ryan

It looks as if all those wind and solar farms in the U.S. are making a dent in greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

During the first six months of the year, carbon dioxide emissions from America’s energy industry dropped to the lowest point since 1991, according to a statement Wednesday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

(Full Story)

October 14, 2016


An Overview of the current Biochar and Activated Carbon Markets

By Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE — Lee Enterprise Consulting, Inc.

Biochar is an emerging market; growing rapidly, still in its infancy, but with gigaton market potential when we, as in humanity, start addressing the climate crisis. Activated carbons are a mature market of about one million tons annual production, which is growing slowly. They are basically like fraternal twins; they have a lot in common, they share the same world, and they are different.

First, let’s explain the basic difference between THREE materials: activated carbon, charcoal and biochar. Activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal and several other ‘active/activated source-material’ names, all come down to the implication of the modifier ìactivatedî. When used in conjunction with adsorbents, ‘activated’ refers to a small set of processing techniques that increase the internal microporosity of the original carbon-rich source material. All ‘activation’ processes remove individual carbon atoms and create individual nooks and crannies in the carbon-rich material, which are the adsorption sites. The key to activated carbon is that it is optimized for specific adsorption application (water, vapor, certain adsorbates, etc.) and the adsorption capacity is packed into as dense a material as possible to minimize the volume of adsorbent necessary. In the end, activated carbon is an adsorbent ñ intended to remove something, typically organic compounds, from either vapor or liquid streams.

(Full Story)

October 13, 2016


© WaterSeer

© WaterSeer

Wind-powered device can produce 11 gallons per day of clean drinking water from the air

by Derek Markham

WaterSeer is a low-tech, low-cost atmospheric water condenser that could help create water self-sufficiency in communities around the world.

A new device developed by VICI-Labs, in collaboration with UC Berkeley and the National Peace Corps Association, aims to provide a sustainable source of clean safe water for the millions without a reliable water supply. In the developed world, where most homes and businesses have ready access to clean water at the turn of a tap, we don’t really have to worry about most waterborne diseases, or dehydration, or the ability to wash our selves, our clothes, or our eating utensils, but those worries are still very real for the millions around the world without a reliable clean water source. The WaterSeer could help to alleviate some of those water poverty issues.

(Full Story)

October 12, 2016


Photo by Neha Mathew.

Photo by Neha Mathew.

India Joins the Paris Agreement: Another Big Step for the World, One Giant Leap for India

by Neha Mathew

Earlier this week, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change finally met the requirements for entry into force, marking a historic global moment and demonstrating unprecedented cooperation between the world’s biggest carbon emitters — including China, the U.S., the EU, and India. This news has ensured that the Paris Agreement will enter into force well ahead of schedule, and it is because of leadership from countries like India that we have witnessed the biggest step forward yet in strengthening the global commitment to climate action.

And for India — the world’s fourth largest carbon emitter — this announcement is a strong affirmation of its commitment to its sustainable development and carbon emission reduction goals.

(Full Story)

October 11, 2016


Photo by Derrick Wang

Photo by Derrick Wang

This Smog-Eating Tower Is Cleaning Beijing’s Dirty Air

by Charlie Schmidlin

Last week brought the public opening of the Smog Free Tower in Beijing, a 7-meter high structure that’s being billed as the largest outdoor air purifier in the world—it collects 75% of pm2.5 and pm10 airborne smog particles, cleans 30,000 cubic meters per hour using ion technology and green electricity, and creates a radius of clean air around the Tower in which to gather.

The mind behind it is Dutch artist and architect Daan Roosegaarde, who first struck upon the idea in 2013 when visiting Beijing and noticed the intense pollution that blanketed the city. Instead of passing through and letting the environmental problem worsen, he decided to use his collaborative resources at Netherlands-based design firm Studio Roosegaarde to tackle a creative solution.

(Full Story)

October 10, 2016


A desert farm is growing tomatoes on seawater and solar power

by Ephrat Livni

Agriculturalists dream of making deserts bloom. Now the dream is coming true using sun, seawater, and little else.

On 20 hectares in the South Australian desert, Sundrop Farms—officially launched on Oct. 6—uses a field of 23,000 mirrors to produce energy for electricity and water conversion. Seawater is the sole irrigation source, piped in from the Spencer Gulf five kilometers away. The water is thermally desalinated, nutrients are added to nourish plants, and the greenhouse growing begins. But the farm is not entirely energy independent yet, relying on the grid for up to 15% of its power supply, particularly in winter when the sun is weak.

(Full Story)

October 9, 2016

[Photo: Flickr user davebloggs007]

[Photo: Flickr user davebloggs007]

Whoops, We Haven’t Been Counting A Huge Source Of Carbon Emissions: Dams

by Adele Peters

When Costa Rica brags about running on 100% renewable electricity for months at a time, it’s because the country relies on hydropower for a big chunk of its grid. But dams are not quite the clean energy source they seem to be. In a new study, researchers calculated that the dams around the world—used for hydropower, flood control, water supply, and other human needs—emit more greenhouse gases than the entire country of Canada.

As the world tries to figure out how to drastically cut emissions, it turns out we haven’t been counting dams as a major source of those emissions. Every year, the world’s million reservoirs emit roughly a gigaton of greenhouse gases; that’s 1.3% of global emissions, or about the same percentage emitted by coal mining.

(Full Story)

October 8, 2016


Scientists May Have Underestimated Global Sea Level Rise

by Mike Brown

The rise in global sea levels has been one of the most tangible results of climate change, and it might be worse than we thought. A study published September 19 in Geophysical Research Letters explained that because the areas measured had lower than average rises, historical data may have leaned more conservative in its findings.

“It’s not that there’s something wrong with the instruments or the data,” said Dr. Philip Thompson, associate director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center, in an interview with Phys.org published Monday. Thompson’s team worked with researchers at Old Dominion University and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “For a variety of reasons, sea level does not change at the same pace everywhere at the same time. As it turns out, our best historical sea level records tend to be located where past sea level rise was most likely less than the true global average.”

(Full Story)

October 7, 2016


US Consulate General Chiang Mai Goes BioChar After Conference with Warm Heart

by City Life

The US Consulate General Chiang Mai has declared that it will go fully BioChar after a conference today with Michael Shafer from Warm Heart introducing the facts and theory behind the burning technique, followed by a demonstration to officials and a training program for the gardeners at the consulate.

Exactly two months after the new US Consul General in Chiang Mai took her position, Jennifer Harhigh told Citylife that if the training goes well, she hopes to see the US Consulate fully BioChar by the end of the month.

(Full Story)

October 6, 2016


Potatoes and biochar are not friends


Studies have shown that adding biochar to soil can improve soil fertility, increase nutrient utilisation in plants, improve soil water-holding capacity, increase crop yield and reduce emission of greenhouse gases.

However, if you are a potato farmer, your joy may be short-lived. Biochar and potatoes do not go very well together – at least not if you are aiming at saving water, according to results from Aarhus University.

(Full Story)

October 5, 2016


Donald Trump Says Global Warming Is a Chinese Hoax. China Disagrees.

Ben Adler

Two years after President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that their countries would work together to combat climate change, Republicans and conservatives in the United States continue to cite China’s rising carbon emissions as a reason not to bother cutting our own.

Earlier this month, Donald Trump’s economic adviser Stephen Moore claimed that limiting our carbon pollution is pointless because of China’s supposedly growing coal dependency. “Every time we shut down a coal plant in the US, China builds 10,” Moore told E&E News. “So how does that reduce global warming?”

(Full Story)

October 4, 2016


Scientists: Stop celebrating climate change progress. The work’s not nearly done

by Tribune news service

A team of top scientists is telling world leaders to stop congratulating themselves on the Paris agreement to fight climate change because if more isn’t done, global temperatures will likely hit dangerous warming levels in about 35 years.

Six scientists who were leaders in past international climate conferences joined with the Universal Ecological Fund in Argentina to release a brief report Thursday, saying that if even more cuts in heat-trapping gases aren’t agreed upon soon, the world will warm by another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit by around 2050.

That 1.8 degree mark is key because in 2009 world leaders agreed that they wanted to avoid warming of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. Temperatures have already risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, so that 2 degree goal is really about preventing a rise of another degree going forward.

(Full Story)

October 3, 2016


Climate Change And The Astrobiology Of The Anthropocene

by Adam Frank

You can’t solve a problem until you understand it. When it comes to climate change, on a fundamental level we don’t really understand the problem.

For some time now, I’ve been writing about the need to broaden our thinking about climate. That includes our role in changing it — and the profound challenges those changes pose to our rightly cherished “project” of civilization.

Today, I want to sharpen the point.

But first, as always, let’s be clear: We have not gotten the science wrong. The Earth’s climate is changing because of human activity. That part has been well-established for awhile now, in spite of the never ending — and always depressing — faux “climate debate” we get in politics.

(Full Story)

October 2, 2016


The U.S. is getting closer to Hillary Clinton’s vision of a ‘clean energy superpower’

By Chelsea Harvey

During Monday’s presidential campaign debate, Hillary Clinton predicted, “Some country is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.”

The implication was clear: That country could be us. And a new federal report suggests that we’ve recently been making strides in getting there.

The new report, released Wednesday by the Department of Energy, is the latest in an of annual series analyzing the progress of clean energy in the U.S. — specifically the growth in wind turbines, solar technology, electric vehicles and LEDs, and the reduction in their costs. And this year’s update is a rosy one: Costs are down, installations are up and emerging technologies like smart buildings and grid-connected batteries are moving up on the horizon.

(Full Story)

October 1, 2016

New Wind Turbines Could Power Japan for 50 Years After a Single Typhoon

by George Dvorsky


Conceptual image of a typhoon turbine array. (Image: Challenergy)

Conceptual image of a typhoon turbine array. (Image: Challenergy)

Typhoons are generally associated with mass destruction, but a Japanese engineer has developed a wind turbine that can harness the tremendous power of these storms and turn it into useful energy. If he’s right, a single typhoon could power Japan for 50 years.

(Full Story)