Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dire Warning From China's First Climate Change Report

Agence France Presse, posted on Commondreams

Temperatures in China will rise significantly in coming decades and water shortages will worsen, state media has reported, citing the government's first national assessment of global climate change.

"Greenhouse gases released due to human activity are leading to ever more serious problems in terms of climate change," the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement.

"Global climate change has an impact on the nation's ability to develop further," said the ministry, one of 12 government departments that prepared the report.

In just over a decade, global warming will start to be felt in the world's most populous country, and it will get warmer yet over the next two or three generations.

Compared with 2000, the average temperatures will increase by between 1.3 and 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2020, the China News Service reported, citing the assessment.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

By 2040, Greenhouse Gases Could Lead to an Open Arctic Sea in Summers


New studies project that the Arctic Ocean could be mostly open water in summer by 2040 — several decades earlier than previously expected — partly as a result of global warming caused by emissions of greenhouse gases.

The projections come from computer simulations of climate and ice and from direct measurements showing that the amount of ice coverage has been declining for 30 years.

The latest modeling study, being published on Tuesday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, was led by Marika Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Cost of an Overheated Planet

Steve Lohr, NY Times

The iconic culprit in global warming is the coal-fired power plant. It burns the dirtiest, most carbon-laden of fuels, and its smokestacks belch millions of tons of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas.

James E. Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy and chairman of a leading utility trade group, at an electrical substation in Charlotte, N.C.
So it is something of a surprise that James E. Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy, a coal-burning utility in the Midwest and the Southeast, has emerged as an unexpected advocate of federal regulation that would for the first time impose a cost for emitting carbon dioxide. But he has his reasons.

“Climate change is real, and we clearly believe we are on a route to mandatory controls on carbon dioxide,” Mr. Rogers said. “And we need to start now because the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive this is going to be.”


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Moonbase Planned While Earth is in Peril

According to NBC news today, NASA is in the planning stages of building a moonbase. The moonbase is a step towards a mission to Mars. Though it appears that a base to the moon may be possible, the news broadcast indicated that there is no master plan or funding for a future Mars mission.

I for one have never been fond of the NASA program. I have also never bought the marketing ploy that the billions spent on space exploration have brought us wonderful inventions that have greatly improved our lives. I would like to know which of the religions practiced in this country espouse the worship in material goods over the helping of the poor and disadvantaged? I seek knowledge, understanding and enlightenment concerning the ethics that drive us to spend vast public funds on "space exploration" at the expense of our most vulnerable. Is this a shining example of a representative democracy?

James E Hansen, the eminent NASA scientist has clearly stated that if we do not DRASTICALLY reduce our carbon emissions in the next 10 years, there will be cycle in place in which nothing we do will matter. We have a very small window to correct this problem since more than a year has passed since his statement. We need an Apollo mission to save earth and we need it now. It is imperative that those scientists at NASA redirect their sights towards where their feet are and begin to tackle the enormous task of developing an infrastructure that has 0 carbon emissions. Otherwise, the outrageous waste of time and resources on space flight resembles nothing more than the symphony playing on the deck of the Titanic.

Mike O'Brien

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Taming King Coal

NY Times

China will surpass the United States as the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide by 2009, a decade ahead of previous predictions. A big reason is the explosion in the number of automobiles, but the main reason is China's ravenous appetite for coal, the dirtiest of all the fuels used to produce electricity. Already, China uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. Every week to 10 days, another coal- fired power plant opens somewhere in China.

What's frightening about this for those worried about the long-term consequences of warming is that nearly all of these plants are being built along traditional lines, burning pulverized coal to make electricity. And what's sad about it is that there's a much cleaner coal-burning technology available. Known as IGCC - for integrated gasification combined cycle - this process coverts coal into a gas before it is burned.

These plants produce fewer of the pollutants that cause smog and acid rain than conventional power plants do. More important, from a global warming perspective, they also have the potential to capture and sequester greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide before they enter the atmosphere.


Crude Impact

CRUDE IMPACT is a powerful and timely story that explores the interconnection between human domination of the planet and the discovery and use of oil.

This new documentary film exposes our deep-rooted dependency on the availability of fossil fuel energy and examines the future implications of peak oil - the point in time when the amount of petroleum worldwide begins a steady, inexorable decline.

Journeying from the west African delta to the heart of the Amazon rainforest, from Washington to Shanghai, from early man to the unknown future, CRUDE IMPACT chronicles the collision of our insatiable appetite for oil with the rights and livelihoods of indigenous cultures, other species and the planet itself. A thought-provoking story of discovery, sorrow, outrage, humor and ultimately, hope.